As the unofficial start of summer begins post-Memorial Day Weekend, the Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District (LPCCD) announces several groundbreaking developments in the non-profit’s history. Since 2002, LPCCD has been at the center of the re-emerging artist movement in Newark, NJ and the innovative cultural revitalization in Lincoln Park, a historic neighborhood in the city. Most notably, LPCCD was recently awarded two distinguished national grants; and its founder and executive director, Baye Adofo-Wilson was awarded the distinguished Loeb Fellowship from Harvard University.
National grantmakers, ArtPlace America and the Kresge Foundation, awarded two highly competitive grants for the non-profit’s most exciting project, The Façade. The Façade is so called because it is the front exterior of a landmark eight-story church built in 1853 (the South Park Calvary Presbyterian Church at 1033 Broad Street). LPCCD will transform the only remaining structure of that church, the façade, into an outdoor performance venue with an urban farm.
ArtPlace America and Kresge Foundation
On May 20, 2013, ArtPlace America (a grant-making collaboration of leading national and regional foundations, banks, and federal agencies) announced the award of a $240,000 grant to LPCCD for The Façade. LPCCD was chosen from over 1,200 applications as an exceptional example of creative community revitalization.
“ArtPlace America recognizes the central role arts and cultural activities can have in the revitalization of American cities,” said Rip Rapson, chair of ArtPlace America’s Presidents’ Council. “With this grant award ArtPlace America is directing individual project support to scores of creative, high-impact projects throughout the country.”
Adofo-Wilson told Newark’s Star-Ledger that “A lot of our projects are organized around emerging artists and are organic to the community. Maybe that’s why we won.” He added: “We’ve been functioning as a community-based arts and cultural organization for years. The recognition from ArtPlace America that our program and projects are important is significant, both locally and nationally.”
The Star-Ledger reported that the ArtPlace America grant makes LPCCD the first New Jersey organization to win one of the highly competitive grants and that it is one of 54 awards out of 1,224 applications announced for 2013-2014. In all, 54 organizations from across the country will share $15.2 million from the funder. Construction plans will be set this summer.
LPCCD was also awarded a multi-year grant from the Kresge Foundation for general operating and the completion of The Façade project. The three year grant totals $712,000. The Kresge Foundation, a premiere national arts funder, is a $3.1 billion private, national foundation headquartered in the metropolitan Detroit area, in the suburb community of Troy. Adofo-Wilson exclaims, “We have been looking for a funder like Kresge for years. Their commitment to people who are low-income wage earners, and subsequently to their communities, is the reason why we found our match with them. At the center of our mission at Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District is the transformation of a community of people who are low-income wage earners and who live, work, or worship in Lincoln Park.”
Equally impressive as the national grant awards is the announcement that the founder of LPCCD was recently awarded a Loeb Fellowship for the 2013-2014 academic year. Adofo-Wilson was awarded the highly competitive fellowship as one of nine to ten individuals from around the world who are given this opportunity. Loeb Fellows are people who are in the middle of exceptional careers in “built” or “natural environments” in the areas of architecture, urban design, urban planning, and development. The fellows spend a one-year residency at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University.
“I’m really excited about the Loeb Fellowship,” Adofo-Wilson said. “Since I graduated from law school in 1997, I have been working in Newark with my head down trying to complete projects. A year at Harvard, in that incredible environment, will allow me to reset, rethink, and recharge so I can be more effective throughout the remaining parts of my professional career.”