Centrum Receives NEA Award For New Residency Initiative

Centrum is proud to announce the creation of the Northwest Heritage Series, a two-year artist-in-residence program presented by Centrum in partnership with Fort Worden PDA to support the exploration of place through arts and culture.  The Northwest Heritage Series will welcome six juried artists – or makers – to develop new work in visual art, music, writing, crafts, history, or ecology, with motifs aligning the arts with nature, Native American history, resilience, or history.

In support of the initiative, the National Endowment for the Arts has awarded Centrum a $50,000 “Our Town” grant to be used in partnership with the Fort Worden Public Development Authority.

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.  “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 Centrum in Port Townsend, NEA funding invests in local communities, helping people celebrate the arts wherever they are.”

This project is designed to provide a framework for future programming at Fort Worden’s “Makers Square,” an area of nine underutilized buildings currently being renovated to serve as arts, tenant and education spaces and slated for completion by 2020.

Six artists-in-residence, selected by a to-be-assembled jury beginning next winter, will engage the public (all ages) through lectures, performances, exhibits, and workshops in 2019 and 2020.  Program Manager, Martha Worthley, will oversee all elements of the project.  Residencies will vary from 1 to 4 weeks, with accommodations and facilities provided at the Fort Worden campus.  In addition to dedicated time for their work, each resident artist/maker will present a free public lecture, demonstration, or performance.  Half the resident artists/makers will also offer fee-based workshops that engage the local community and attract participants from the greater Puget Sound region.

“It is a great honor to be selected by the NEA for this award,” said Martha Worthley, Centrum’s program manager for residencies.  “Centrum has been building upon a rich legacy of artists-in-residence which dates back to the 1970s and includes not only visual artists, but writers, choreographers, composers, researchers and more.  This grant will allow us to shine a spotlight on some of the adventurous and creative men and women connected with the Northwest who integrate the qualities of our region with their work.  I can hardly wait to see who will be apply and be chosen!”

At the conclusion of the project, at least three resident artists/makers will be selected to participate in a Placemaking Council to help guide the development of new arts programming at Makers Square.  This project helps fulfill the City of Port Townsend’s mandate to transform the Park into an economic driver for Jefferson County.  The Northwest Heritage Series will help animate underutilized spaces, rejuvenate the campus, increase public access, expand diversity of peoples and ideas, and grow arts and culture-based tourism regionally.

The lasting outcome will be evident as Makers Square is shaped, informed and advised by the Placemaking Council, reflecting on their experience in this project and representing a regional network of artists from many disciplines.

The public may look for guidelines for residency applications next fall on the Centrum website.

A complete list of funded organizations for this category at the NEA is available at https://www.arts.gov/news/archives.

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