ArtsMemphis Community Engagement Fellowship Receives Esteemed National Award

Friday, June 17, 2016

Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education in America, today announces that ArtsMemphis Community Engagement Fellowship of Memphis, Tennessee, has been awarded the esteemed Robert E. Gard Award. The award recognizes and celebrates exemplary work at the intersection of the arts and community life. Linda Steele, Chief Community Engagement Officer with ArtsMemphis, accepted the award on behalf ArtsMemphis Community Engagement Fellowship.
The ArtsMemphis Community Engagement Fellows include artists, arts managers, neighborhood leaders, and residents, creating projects that use the arts as a vehicle for social change and empowerment in specific, disenfranchised Memphis neighborhoods. Fellows learn to listen to the needs of residents and collaborate on artistic projects that spring from and uplift the neighborhoods where they are based. 
Classes, fieldwork, and site visits in Memphis and around the country are the core of the roughly six-month program. Fellows explore such relevant concepts as creative placemaking, reimagining neighborhoods, community impact, sustainable fundraising, and cross-sector partnerships. Fellows also produce arts-based project proposals, along with their colleagues and program faculty, designed to create lasting community development and build cultural equity.
“ArtsMemphis integrated the arts into their communities in a meaningful way, through innovative projects and transformative practices,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “Through this work, they have positively impacted the lives of residents and strengthen their communities as a whole, and their commitment is deserving of this recognition.”  
Americans for the Arts members voted through the spring and the winning project has been announced at the 2016 Annual Convention in Boston, Massachusetts. 
The seven other runners up include:  
  • Art @ Work: Sandtown

Baltimore, MD

  • Asian American Cultures Festival: The Kingdom of Kambuja

Boston, MA

  • Duwamish Revealed
Seattle, WA
  • Mindful: Exploring Mental Health Through Art
Pittsburgh, PA
  • Playgrounds for Useful Knowledge
Philadelphia, PA
  • Round 43: Small Business/Big Change Economic Perspectives from Artists & Artreprenuers
Houston, TX
  • Universal Arts of Chapel Haven, Inc.
North Haven, CT 
The Robert E. Gard award is named in honor of one of the founding fathers of the local arts movement and a champion of the arts role in the creation and maintenance of healthy, vibrant, and equitable communities.  
Americans for the Arts is the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education in America. With offices in Washington, D.C. and New York City, it has a record of more than 50 years of service. Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. Additional information is available at