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Gulf & Main Magazine

Alliance for the Arts Focuses Grant Money Toward a New Public Art Project Along McGregor Boulevard

Mar 03, 2018 02:45PM ● By Kevin
The National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $25 million in grants as part of the NEA’s first major funding announcement for fiscal year 2018, according to a recent press release. Included in this announcement is an Art Works grant of $50,000 to the Alliance for the Arts for a public art project as part of the redevelopment of 2.2 acres along McGregor Boulevard.

The project is slated to begin later this year.

“We’re excited to begin the transformation of our campus along the McGregor Corridor to create a pedestrian-friendly, artistic space for our community to gather. It has been pleasure dreaming up this collaborative place-making project with an artist-driven team committed to artistic excellence, environmental sensitivity, and a commitment to grow community through the arts,” said Lydia Black, executive director of the Alliance for the Arts.

The Alliance for the Arts is a nonprofit community arts and cultural center located in the heart of Fort Myers. The Alliance has been charged with the mission to transform lives and improve community through the arts for more than 40 years.

The Art Works category is the NEA’s largest funding category and supports projects that focus on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and/or the strengthening of communities through the arts.

“It is energizing to see the impact that the arts are making throughout the United States," Chu said in the release. "These NEA-supported projects, such as this one to the Alliance for the Arts, are good examples of how the arts build stronger and more vibrant communities, improve well-being, prepare our children to succeed, and increase the quality of our lives. At the National Endowment for the Arts, we believe that all people should have access to the joy, opportunities and connections the arts bring.”

The Alliance for the Arts has engaged Michael Singer Studio in Vermont to lead a collaborative design team to come up with a new design for the western edge of its 10-acre campus. This, the release states, is a part of a multi-phase campus expansion.

"This phase of the project seeks to enhance the urban landscape through naturalization and expansion of an existing retention pond, regenerating the land and establishing a beautiful thriving pocket of Florida flora," the release continues.

The focal point of the project is the Caloosahatchee Water Wall. Michael Singer Studio designed the concept, pictured above. There will also be a new sidewalk and lighting installed by the Florida Department of Transportation in addition to new connector sidewalks, which will welcome guests arriving by foot or bicycle into the city of Fort Myers and the Alliance campus.

“It is a true honor to have received the National Endowment of the Arts recommendation to help make this project a reality,” Black said.

Additional funding for this project has been made possible through a matching grant by the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, and by the Price Foundation, L.A.T. Foundation, and through the generosity of individual donors.

The Alliance campus and galleries are open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, located at 10091 McGregor Boulevard just south of Colonial Boulevard in Fort Myers.

For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, visit
For more information about the Alliance, visit, find them on Facebook, Instagram (@AlliancefortheArts) or Twitter (@ArtInLee), or call 239-939-2787.