Mt. Airy USA (MAUSA) was recently named one of 105 finalists for a creative placemaking grant from ArtPlace, a consortium of 13 foundations and six banks which funds arts and culture initiatives that help to transform communities. MAUSA submitted an application for its proposed revitalization of Lovett Park on Germantown Avenue.
The project is part of a community-driven master plan to transform the park into a destination green space. Proposed designs for the park include a performance area with a stage, a plaza with café seating, an area for nature play, a dedicated reading garden, a story ring and a redesign of the library’s entrance area.
“We’re really thrilled about it.” said Anuj Gupta, MAUSA’s executive director.
Finalists were chosen from a pool of 1,225 applicants from across the United States. MAUSA is one of seven Philadelphia organizations competing for funding.
MAUSA submitted its initial inquiry for the grant in partnership with local mosaic artist, Karen Singer and the Mt. Airy Art Garage (MAAG). It was Singer, who is a member of MAAG, who first brought the grant to MAUSA’s attention, noted Elizabeth Moselle, MAUSA’s Director of Commercial Corridor Revitalization & the Business Association of Mt. Airy. The organization partnered with MAAG to bring “an artful element” to Lovett Park, she said.
If ultimately selected, Moselle said MAAG will take on a curatorial role in the project by putting together a call-for-artists and panel to help develop and decide what creative and whimsical ideas could be implemented in the park’s story ring. MAAG will also head up an outreach project to design a graphic image which could become the park’s logo.
Singer will design and install a custom mosaic to strengthen the park’s visual identity.
Though the size of the award is not yet known, Gupta said “this is no small grant by any means.” Should MAUSA win funding, it will use the award to complete the proposed performance area and for the park’s first year of cultural programming, which may include a concert series, theatre and dance productions.
If MAUSA succeeds in the next selection round, it would “elevate our ability to do distinctive community-based art work in the space and take a transformative project and make it that much better,” Gupta remarked.
An ArtPlace representative visited Lovett Park last week as part of the selection process. The next step for MAUSA will be to submit a final proposal at the end of February. Grant recipients will be announced in May.