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NEA Awards Louisville Grant to Start Artists-in-Corporate-Residence Program

Louisville’s contemporary art chamber of commerce is starting an artist-in-corporate-residence program.  The National Endowment for the Arts awarded IDEAS 40203 a $50,000 Our Town Grant to place artists on project teams inside Louisville-based businesses. The grant will help provide seed money to fund the residency program, which will place seven artists on six-week commitments over the course of a year. The program will also seek financial contributions from the businesses benefiting from the program.IDEAS 40203 is a contemporary art chamber of commerce serving the Louisville area. The group is partnering with Smoketown community groups on a Creative Innovation Zone for the neighborhood, which recently won a large grant as well."We operate in the worlds between arts and entrepreneurship," says co-founder Joshua Miller. The first artist in residence will work with XLerateHealth, a healthcare industry business accelerator, and its affiliate project Thrive365, a mobile platform focused on diabetes health. No other corporate partners have been announced yet.IDEAS 40203 will work with Residency Unlimited, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit, to conduct a nation-wide call for artists. Co-founder Theo Edmonds says local artists are welcome to apply, but a specific commitment to Louisville-based artists is not part of the project. "We’re looking for the best artists for the job. At its core, this is a commitment to Louisville’s business community," says Edmonds. The artists will be placed on project teams to solve problems in the food and beverage, advanced manufacturing, healthcare, and tourism industries -- product or systems designs that have stalled, for example.“What we’re doing in this particular project is bring a creative mind and creative intellect to the table to put with operations and finance, etcetera, to help propel the business forward toward a business or operational goal,” says Edmonds.Artists will receive a stipend and housing, as well as studio space and materials donated by GE FirstBuild, during their stay in Louisville. This is the fourth year the NEA has awarded Our Town grants. This year's program funds 66 initiatives in 38 states for a total of $5.073 million in funding.