The National Endowment for the Arts is awarding the Charleston Parks Conservancy a $50,000 grant for a project that will add public art “activities” to the West Ashley Greenway and Bikeway.

The grant is part of the NEA’s Our Town program which supports the partnering of local artists, art organizations, and municipal government. Through the “creative placemaking program,” neighborhoods that need a little extra love are revitalized, highlighting their assets to the community.

While the particulars of the project have not yet been determined — the City of Charleston is working with the community to decide what the best art-related activities would be and where they would fit along the Greenway — other Our Town efforts have included the launch of a “wayfinding system” in Berea, KY, created so that visitors can easily locate the town’s centuries-old cultural sites; the construction of a theater in Glencoe, IL, a suburb of Chicago, that catalyzed downtown development; and the institution of an outdoors cultural events program to take place in an area of D.C. with low-income levels and high-crime rates.

“This is an exciting opportunity to be part of transforming a significant public space that connects so many neighborhoods in the City of Charleston,” says Charleston Parks Conservancy executive director Harry Lesesne. “Improving the West Ashley Greenway and Bikeway will be a great benefit to all of the city’s residents, and the addition of public art will make it an even more engaging space.”

The Greenway project is part of the Conservancy’s Art in the Parks initiative; the Conservancy partners with local and regional artists to add temporary, contemporary art installations to city parks. In April, Georgia artist Joseph Dreher received the first exhibition space from the Conservancy. Dreher will create a piece of art for a city park later this year.

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