Mayor Nutter Announces Winners of The New Urban Mechanics Challenge Grants Competition

Provides $20,000 in funding for creative, design-based projects to improve the civic space.


Philadelphia, September 18, 2013 –  Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced four local organizations as the recipients of the New Urban Mechanics Challenge Grants, totaling $20,000 for art and design-based projects or programs that address civic challenges or improve a public space in the City.  Grant awardees will also receive project input and support from the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics.


“The New Urban Mechanics Challenge Grants Competition was a great exercise in civic engagement, allowing the creative willpower of our citizens, businesses and organizations to work in concert with the resources and knowledge of City departments,” said Mayor Nutter.  “Philadelphia has a strong design community and civically-engaged population.  We are excited to support these creative projects that will positively impact our great City.”


The grant awardees are:


  • Public Workshop will receive a $6,000 grant to support a new signage initiative in City Hall to facilitate individuals navigating City Hall quickly and efficiently.  This initiative is called “Choose Your Own City Hall Adventure.”


  • University City District will receive a $3,900 grant to create “Tree Seats”, a functional art project that will provide seating in naturally shaded areas across University City.


  • The North 5th Street Revitalization Project will receive a $5,100 grant to support the Gateways to Olney, Where Local is Global project, a collaborative partnership working to transform bus stops at key intersections along the North 5th Street commercial corridor into small-scale visitor centers.


  • The Friends of Maplewood Mall will receive a $5,000 grant to support the Re-Imagining of Maplewood Mall project which plans to provide physical improvements to the Maplewood Mall, including arts-related programming.


The Challenge Grants Competition received more than 30 submissions.  The winners were chosen by a selection panel is made up of representatives from the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics, the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.


“We are thrilled to help run and support the Challenge Grants Competition. The initiative allows artists, designers and creative problem solvers to shape the public space through beautiful and functional works of art,” said Jeff Friedman, Co-Director, Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics.


Deputy Cultural Officer Moira Baylson added, “It’s important for cities and civic leaders to recognize and encourage the inclusion of art and design in addressing neighborhood challenges. We are excited to be a partner on the Challenge Grants and can’t wait to see the projects and the neighborhoods come to life.”


The Challenge Grants Competition is a partnered effort between the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics and the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy.  Grant funding is provided by Knight Foundation and is managed by CEOs for Cities.


“Opportunities like the Challenge Grants Competition strengthen community attachment by engaging our best entrepreneurs to take part in shaping the future of Philadelphia,” said Donna Frisby-Greenwood, Knight Foundation Program Director in Philadelphia.  “We congratulate the winners on their efforts to build a more informed community and foster our city’s culture of innovation.”


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Posted in Mayor's Press Releases, Press Release, Topics, Urban Development
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