National Endowment for the Arts awards grant to UGA

National Endowment for the Arts awards grant to UGA for “Your Town: The Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design”

Athens, Ga. – The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded the University of Georgia Center for Community Design and Preservation funding for a workshop to address issues relating to Hispanic participation in the planning process and rural community design.

The NEA funds four workshops nationally a year through a competitive application process. Since 1991, workshops have been produced in all regions of the country with the intention of bringing together community leaders, who are not design professionals, to learn the importance of design in building a future for their communities. The two-day workshops expose participants to experts in planning, landscape architecture, architecture and historic preservation issues and challenge them to work in small groups to solve a series of design problems.

“Your Town: The Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design” will be hosted by President Jimmy Carter and first lady Rosalynn Carter in Plains in the fall and will focus on Hispanic engagement in the city and regional planning process. The president will be the keynote speaker and other speakers and lecturers will include experts in community planning and historic preservation, graphic design, Latin American and U.S. legal structures, Hispanic cultural resources, economic development, landscape architecture and ecological planning. Emphasis will be placed on conducting the workshop in Spanish.

The CCDP believes the growing Hispanic community must be involved to resolve many of the issues small, rural towns are facing. Such issues include the loss of town centers, a shift from a small farm agricultural economic base, lack of zoning and environmental regulations, affordable housing and sprawl and big box growth that threatens the historic character and charm of southern small towns.

Hispanic communities are often underrepresented or isolated from the community planning process. This workshop will focus on educating Hispanic community leaders and service providers about the importance of community planning and design. The workshop will give these leaders tools to educate their communities about local design, planning and environmental issues and empower them to be a voice for smart and sensitive community development. The workshop will create an informational network, which Hispanic communities can use as a resource for design and planning related ideas and discussions and as an educational tool for their communities.

The CCDP will work closely with the Fanning Institute, the School of Environmental Design, the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, the Center for Latino Achievement and Success in Education and other University of Georgia organizations.

For additional information on this year’s Your Town workshop on Hispanic involvement in rural community design contact Pratt Cassity, pcassity@uga.edu or see the National Endowment for the Arts Your Town website at http://www.nea.gov/partner/design/cird.html or the CCDP’s website on past Your Town projects at http://www.sed.uga.edu/pso/programs/yourtown.htm.