Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Howard Finster's Paradise Gardens gets $445,000 grant

Posted By on Tue, Jun 12, 2012 at 5:32 PM

The Worlds Folk Art Chapel at Paradise Gardens
  • Joeff Davis
  • The World's Folk Art Chapel at Paradise Gardens

After a decade of deterioration, the late Howard Finster's Paradise Gardens reopened in May thanks to a revitalization effort spearheaded by Chattooga County that involved a $125,000 investment and the purchase of the property. Today, Paradise Gardens announced it is the recipient of a $445,000 grant from ArtPlace, a beast of a gifting organization comprised of 11 major national and regional foundations, six of the nation's largest banks, and eight federal agencies, including the National Endowment for the Arts. ArtPlace awarded eight total grants to rural arts projects "to accelerate creative placemaking across the U.S.," according to the press release.

This spring when CL interviewed Jordan Poole, a Chattooga County native and the newly appointed executive director of the Paradise Gardens Foundation for a feature on the revitalization effort, he stressed the importance of Paradise Gardens as an economic engine for the financially struggling community:

"Downtown used to be so much busier. We need to change our market of economy and get back to the mom-and-pop aspect that we lost. We need to promote something that could get small businesses going, something we already have, and brand ourselves with that."

$445,000 should go a long way to help make that happen.

View a slideshow of the revamped Paradise Gardens here.

More information about ArtPlace's participating organizations after the jump.

From the Chattooga County press release:

To date, ArtPlace has raised almost $50 million to work alongside federal and local governments to transform communities through strategic investments in the arts. ...

Participating foundations include Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Ford Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, The McKnight Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, Rasmuson Foundation, The Robina Foundation, The William Penn Foundation, and an anonymous donor. In addition to the NEA, federal partners are the departments of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Education and Transportation, along with leadership from the White House Office of Management and Budget and the Domestic Policy Council. ArtPlace is also supported by a $12 million loan fund capitalized by six major financial institutions and managed by the Nonprofit Finance Fund. Participating institutions are Bank of America, Citi, Deutsche Bank, Chase, MetLife and Morgan Stanley.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been updated to reflect the complete list of donors.

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