Penn’s Social Impact of the Arts Project Receives Funds From NEA Philanthropies for Arts Geo-Database

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Media Contact:Jill DiSanto-Haines | | 215-898-4820September 16, 2011

PHILADELPHIA — The Social Impact of the Arts Project, a research project at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy & Practice in collaboration with The Reinvestment Fund and the City of Philadelphia, has received $250,000 in matching funds from ArtPlace, a consortium of national foundations, federal agencies and corporations. 

The funds from ArtPlace match the National Endowment for the Arts’ Our Town grants, which awarded $250,000 earlier this summer to Philadelphia’s The Reinvestment Fund to work with the Social Impact of the Arts Project and the City of Philadelphia to launch a Creative Assets Mapping Database, a Web tool that allows users to monitor growth in creative assets and determine their civic, economic and social impacts.

The Social Impact of the Arts Project works with the City’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy and Commerce departments on this multi-faceted plan, including the geodatabase, a Web-based data and mapping system of Philadelphia’s cultural assets based on the PolicyMap platform developed by The Reinvestment Fund.

When completed, the mapping system will help to facilitate investments in the cultural sector, allow citizens to learn about the cultural resources in their neighborhoods and support research on the connection between cultural engagement and economic development.

 “We are excited to continue our work with The Reinvestment Fund and the City,” said Mark J. Stern, Kenneth L.M. Pray Professor in the School of Social Policy and Practice and principal investigator of the Project.  “It’s great that the National Endowment for the Arts, so many national funders and federal agencies have come together through ArtPlace to support so many worthwhile projects nationwide.  It shows extraordinary leadership and vision.”

The geodatabase will inform planning, marketing, policy development and public and private arts investment strategies.

 “We are pleased to be a part of this project,” Richard J. Gelles, dean of the School, said.  “With these matching funds, the project will serve as a national model for bringing the tools of social policy to the cultural sector and expanding our understanding of the arts’ role in promoting neighborhood revitalization.”

Foundations participating in ArtPlace include Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Ford Foundation, the James Irvine Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundations, the Kresge Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Rasmuson Foundation, the Robina Foundation and an anonymous donor. 

In addition to the National Endowment for the Arts, federal partners for ArtPlace include the departments of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Education and Transportation, along withleadership from the White House Office of Management and Budget and the Domestic Policy Council.