Last week, Artspace announced that it had recieved $1 million to advance the P.S. 109 project from a public-private partnership of funders, the National Endowment for the Arts and financial institutions. This project, of which Melissa has been a strong supporter since her first term, aims to renovate the currently closed school located on East 99th street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues and convert it to
90 units of affordable live/work space for artists and their families. The renovated building will also offer over 10,000 square feet of community space, where performances, presentations and other activities will take place. The housing units will be priced between 40-60 percent of the area’s median income, and at least 50 percent are reserved for current community residents. El Barrio’s Operation Fightback is the community partner on this project to ensure that local residents get the maximum benefit.
Several leaders and organizations have already expressed excitement about El Barrio’s Artspace. Mayor Bloomberg said that these programs would stimulate job growth and help to revitalize the community. Rocco Landesman, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, praised Artplaces approach and its recognition that the arts are vital drivers of community development. Melissa, who has committed over $2 million in discretionary capital funds to this project, had this to say:
I have been an ardent supporter of Artspace’s PS109 project since day one. The incredibly generous grant from ArtPlace validates how significant and cutting edge this project is. . .[and it will help] solidify El Barrio/East Harlem’s place as a vibrant cultural community that welcomes and celebrates the contributions of local artists. I want to thank each of the foundations, agencies and organizations that comprise ArtPlace for making such a substantial investment in this exciting and innovative project. This is an exciting day for El Barrio/East Harlem!
El Barrio’s Artspace has an projected cost of $52.6 million. Thus, the contributions from private funders, including the Ford Foundation, ArtPlace, Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Warhol Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, the Rockefeller Foundation, and Deutsche Bank, have been invaluable. The vast majority of the funds, however, will come from low-Income Housing Tax Credits, Historic Preservation Tax Credits, and other city, state and federal sources. Construction is scheduled to start in December 2011 and be completed in December 2013.