Arts on Chicago receives Bush Foundation Community Innovation Grant

Arts on Chicago receives Bush Foundation Community Innovation Grant


Press Contact:
Kelsye Gould, Pillsbury House + Theatre

Arts on Chicago receives Bush Foundation Community Innovation Grant

August 14, 2014 (Minneapolis/St. Paul) – Arts on Chicago has been awarded a Bush Foundation Community Innovation Grant to train neighborhood artists and residents to use art as a strategy for increasing civic engagement, economic advancement, and understanding of issues around housing, land use and commercial development.

This Community Innovation Grant allows Arts on Chicago to continue its creative placemaking work in the South Minneapolis neighborhoods of Central, Powderhorn, Bancroft, and Bryant, while providing additional opportunities to increase expertise on using art and creativity as a strategy for increasing community engagement among underrepresented populations. At the conclusion of this 2-year grant, Arts on Chicago will draft a Creative Community Development Plan aligned with the City of Minneapolis’ 38th and Chicago Small Area Plan and positioned to take community development priorities to the next level.

“Arts on Chicago identifies existing assets and builds on these by working directly with residents and businesses to use creative practice as part of comprehensive community development,” says Becky Timm, Executive Director of Powderhorn Park Neighborhood Association—the Arts on Chicago partner organization that applied for this grant.  “With arts embedded in authentic, community-engaged planning, Arts on Chicago inserts our community’s voice in the process to encourage positive development in the neighborhoods while anchoring local assets and ensuring that people who want to stay in the community have that option.”

Established in 2013, the Community Innovation Grant program is designed to inspire and support communities to use problem-solving processes that lead to more effective, equitable, and sustainable solutions. Projects receiving Community Innovation Grants can be at any stage in the problem-solving process, which includes: identifying the need, increasing collective understanding of the issue, generating ideas, and testing and implementing solutions.

“Community Innovation Grant recipients are tackling community problems in a way we believe most likely to result in real breakthrough solutions. They are engaging the community, collaborating with other organizations, and making the most of existing assets; in short, all of the things it takes to create a true community innovation,” said Molly Matheson Gruen, Bush Foundation community innovation manager.

The Bush Foundation will award nearly $5 million to 34 organizations in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and the 23 Native nations that share the same geography, through its Community Innovation Grant program. The full list of Community Innovation Grant recipients can be found at

The Arts on Chicago initiative is an arts-based community development project in Minneapolis, MN, led by Pillsbury House + Theatre, Upstream Arts, the Powderhorn Park Neighborhood Association, The Third Place, and MCAD Professor Natasha Pestich with support from the Ward 8 Council Office of Elizabeth Glidden. Arts on Chicago implements arts projects to knit together existing creative assets in the Central, Powderhorn, Bancroft, Bryant communities along Chicago Avenue  from 32nd Street to 42nd Street, using the process to build a framework for the ongoing support of a vibrant arts and cultural district.

Arts on Chicago was created in 2012 through a grant from Artplace, a collaboration of twelve of the nation’s leading foundations, eight government agencies including the National Endowment for the Arts, and six financial institutions across the U.S. Additional funding for the project is provided in part by the Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota.