Joelle Dietrick was awarded a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment of the Arts to support her project Systems + Circumstance. The NEA works to strengthen creativity in communities through opportunities for arts participation. This grant was awarded to only 163 non-profit organizations nationwide. In the Challenge America category, this grant supports projects that reach underserved populations.
The funds from this grant supported a collaboration with the PACE Center for Girls, a local, accredited, non-profit school for at-risk girls. PACE provides girls with education, counseling, training, and advocacy for a better future and achievable potential. For more information about this organization, please visit their website at http://www.pacecenter.org/.
Video on the project by Chris Cameron: https://vimeo.com/138787752
This project sought to revitalize Tallahassee’s oldest water cistern often covered in graffiti tags. The visuals for the mural about housing were generated through a series of computer art workshops with all 60 students at PACE. Recognizing that 15–30 percent of PACE girls are home insecure and 96 percent are eligible for the Federal food lunch program, the subject of the mural focuses on our country’s shifting assumptions about housing in America. Before the workshops, they discussed their ideas about home and collected related imagery. During the workshops, they used these photographs in Inkscape, a free, open source image-editing program, to simplify their imagery into flat shapes that could be easily combined with other students’ work to make one large image for the mural.
The permanent mural was painted from March 8th to March 13th at the intersection of Gaines and Gadsden while the Florida Legislature was in session. Since the mural is located a few blocks from the State Capital, many people walk by the mural on the way to the city’s newly renovated Cascade Park.
This project could not have been possible without the funding from National Endowment for the Arts Challenge America Fast-Track Grant, the City of Tallahassee, paint donations from Sherwin-Williams, the Council on Culture & Arts, assistance from Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program participant Drexston Redway, and administration of the grant by Florida State University.
Many thanks also to Channel 13 Tallahassee Matters for their thorough documentation of the process and final artwork in their video at http://youtu.be/GkHhjQGwp7U
For a complete listing of projects recommended for Challenge America support, please visit the NEA website at arts.gov. Follow the conversation about this and other NEA-funded projects on Twitter at #neaFall2014