NEW YORK, Dec. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Rockefeller Foundation president Judith Rodin announced today the first award recipients of the Foundation's $2.6 million New York City Cultural Innovation Fund. The Fund celebrates innovation and the creative sector through grants for trailblazing initiatives that strengthen the City's cultural fabric. "The sixteen organizations selected to receive grants from our New York City Cultural Innovation Fund embody the excitement, diversity and dynamism of the City's creative wellspring," said Dr. Rodin. "We're delighted that these creative pioneers -- through their performances, festivals, community events and other visionary projects -- will energize the cultural vitality of the city that has been the Rockefeller Foundation's home for nearly 100 years." Individual grants -- between $50,000 and $250,000 -- over a two-year period are being awarded. New recipients of the Fund will be awarded annually. A major impetus behind the Rockefeller Foundation's creation of the New York City Cultural Innovation Fund was a 2005 report, prepared by the Center for an Urban Future, entitled "Creative New York," which presented troubling evidence that new economic pressures may result in New York City losing its traditional creative and competitive edge as a global cultural leader. Funded in part by the Rockefeller Foundation, the report documented the crucial economic contributions made by people working in the City's many creative industries -- including performing and visual arts, publishing, film and video, music, broadcasting, architecture, design, and advertising -- and how the vitality of these sectors, which has been a defining part of the City's historic appeal, is at risk. "New York is recognized throughout the world as a major center of cultural activity and creative ingenuity," said Darren Walker, vice president for Foundation Initiatives at the Rockefeller Foundation. "The New York City Cultural Innovation Fund will help ensure the future robustness and diversity of the City's cultural sector by providing crucial support for bold and innovative ventures that enrich the City's cultural life." Three prominent leaders from the fields of innovation and the arts served as advisors to the Cultural Innovation Fund, which strove to choose projects that demonstrated a high potential for innovation, creative engagement and cultural vitality.
-- Lowery Stokes Sims, Visiting Professor at Queens College and Hunter College and former President of the Studio Museum in Harlem -- David Thorpe, Senior Partner and Global Director of Innovation, Ogilvy Worldwide -- Andrew Zolli, Founder, Z + Partners, a consulting firm specializing in analyzing cultural, technological and global trends, and curator of the annual Pop!Tech Conference The inaugural recipients of the NYC Cultural Innovation Fund for 2007 are: -- The Architectural League of New York ... to launch Urban Omnibus: a Broadband Channel for Architecture, Infrastructure and Environment in New York City, to bring together the most innovative ideas about the future of the urban landscape in New York City -- Bang on a Can ... for the Bang on a Can Marching Project, to take contemporary music out of the concert hall and into the streets through the creation of mobile marching music ensembles -- The Bill T. Jones / Arnie Zane Dance Company (Foundation for Dance Promotion) ... for Breaking Ground with Bill T. Jones -- A Community Dialogue Series with Bill T. Jones, a cultural and civic forum to discuss contemporary issues with the Harlem community -- The Bronx Museum of the Arts ... for Phase II Capital Master Plan and Design, for an expansion of the museum including the development of a moderate income residential tower using principles of green building design -- Brooklyn Academy of Music with The Asia Society ... for Illuminating Islam, a ten-day arts festival highlighting the range and scope of global Muslim culture -- Carnegie Hall ... for a festival that will showcase African-American music, to be curated by Jessye Norman, and a festival about the human voice, to be curated by Bobby McFerrin -- The Civilians ... for Development and Brooklyn Neighborhoods, a two- year theater lab exploring the Atlantic Yards Project -- Cunningham Dance Foundation ... for Mondays with Merce, a new program of live studio internet webcasts to provide public access to Merce Cunningham's creative process -- The Field (Performance Zone) ... for Economic Revitalization for Performing Artists, a two-year entrepreneurial development lab for artists -- Friends of the High Line with Creative Time and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation ... to create a new, large-scale public art commissioning program for the High Line's Chelsea Market Tunnel -- Harlem Stage (Aaron Davis Hall) ... for Waterworks, to expand creative residencies and commissions for artists of color at The Gatehouse, a new performing arts space in Harlem -- Museum of Chinese in America ... for The Chinese American Experience, a comprehensive historical interactive exhibition to mark the debut of its new museum in Chinatown -- Museum of the Moving Image ... for Massively Multiplayer: the Art of Online Virtual Worlds, to bring virtual space into the physical realm in a new technologically-advanced exhibition gallery -- New York City Center ... for the presentation of its new resident ballet company, Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company, led by choreographer Christopher Wheeldon -- Rhizome Communications at the New Museum ... for Rhizome Events, to give voice to artists working at the leading edge of technology -- World Science Festival (Science Festival Foundation) ... for Science and the Arts -- New Works Series, to produce and present original works that reflect the role of science in modern life The sixteen recipients were selected from a pool of more than 600 organizations that submitted proposals earlier this year through the Rockefeller Foundation's website. Projects selected by the New York City Cultural Innovation Fund fall into one or more of the following categories:
-- Programming and premieres of new artistic work that demonstrate innovation and can activate new directions in the artistic breadth and depth of institutions in the visual, performing and media arts -- Creative engagement with the issues shaping New York City's future cultural and civic agenda -- Partnerships that bring cultural and community-based institutions together with universities and the private sector -- Interventions designed to confront longstanding bottlenecks and limitations on the expansion of cultural vitality with fresh approaches and solutions. To qualify, organizations must be based in one of the five boroughs of New York City. The New York City Cultural Innovation Fund builds upon the Rockefeller Foundation's tradition of support for the arts. Currently, the Foundation supports artists in a variety of fields through its investments in a number of national arts organizations, including Renew Media, United States Artists and Creative Capital. Historically, the Foundation provided major support for the establishment of several of New York City's landmark cultural institutions, including Lincoln Center, the Museum of Modern Art and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. The Rockefeller Foundation was established in 1913 by John D. Rockefeller, Sr., to "promote the well-being" of humanity by addressing the root causes of serious problems. The Foundation supports work around the world to expand opportunities for poor or vulnerable people and to help ensure that globalization's benefits are more widely shared. With assets of more than $3.7 billion, it is one of the few institutions to conduct such work both within the United States and internationally. For more information about the Rockefeller Foundation, or to learn more about applying for the upcoming 2008 New York City Cultural Innovation Fund, please visit www.rockfound.org.
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