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Artspace One of 60 National Endowment for the Arts Our Town Projects Selected Nationwide

New Haven, Connecticut– National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Jane Chu announced 60 awards totaling $4.1 million supporting projects across the nation through the NEA’s Our Town program.  Artspace is one of the recommended organizations for a grant of $75,000 to Paying Homage: Project Soil + Site with Ceramic artist Roberto Lugo.

“The variety and quality of these Our Town projects speaks to the wealth of creativity and diversity in our country,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Through the work of organizations such as Artspace in New Haven, NEA funding invests in local communities, helping people celebrate the arts wherever they are.”

Helen Kauder, Executive Director of Artspace, commented: “Artspace is grateful to the Endowment for its generous support and proud to represent a community so invested in placemaking through the arts. We look  forward to partnering with a roster of organizations, including those behind the annual Rock to Rock Earth Day Ride, to develop place-based, neighborhood-driven ceramic murals and tile works, supporting potter Roberto Lugo and other socially engaged artists and youth apprentices.

Paying Homage: Soil + Site is a place-making project conceived by Roberto Lugo, who calls himself a ghetto potter and who makes his own clay from urban soil. Lugo and a team of esteemed contemporary ceramics artists, along with recent alums from local BFA/MFA Ceramics programs will embed with neighborhood teams to co-create tile murals paying homage to local heroes, community elders and cultural icons. The ceramic works will activate the 8-mile trail linking East and West Rock and will serve as a space for cultural activities, from spoken word to theater to music also inspired by these individuals. The project encompasses a Summer Work Apprenticeship for teens in the New Haven Public School District (Applications currently being accepted here through May 25), and a September 8th community convening to deepen connections between contemporary craft, local soil & site, and youth empowerment. Partners include Common Ground Ecology Charter School, the Global Institute for Arts & Leadership, Creative Arts Workshop, Yale University Art Gallery, and a coalition of food, farm, and environmental nonprofits behind the annual Rock-2-Rock Bike Tour.

For a complete list of projects recommended for Our Town grant support, please visit the NEA web site at

Applications for the Summer Apprenticeship program are being accepted through May 25. Learn more.