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Citizens' Institute on Rural Design™ Announces 2016-2017 Awards

Mar 28, 2016
Jan 7, 2018

The Citizens' Institute on Rural DesignTM (CIRD) is pleased to announce the selection of six organizations to host rural design workshops for the 2016-2017 program year. The workshops will bring together local leaders, non-profits, community organizations, and citizens with a team of rural planning and creative placemaking professionals to craft actionable solutions to their communities’ development and design challenges. CIRD is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with PPS, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Orton Family Foundation.

‍Main Street, Thomasville, GA | Photo courtesy of Georgia Department of Economic Development

Recommended by a rural review panel, the six host communities are: Thomasville, GA; Salmon, ID; Isle de Jean Charles, LA; Red Lodge, MT; Hogansburg, NY and Port Townsend, WA. CIRD awardees receive a $10,000 stipend to support the workshop and follow-up planning sessions. Each also receives in-kind design expertise and technical assistance valued at $35,000, and additional support through webinars, conference calls, and web-based resources on

The Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design represents important tenets of the NEA’s work,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “By providing resources to assist rural communities in crafting design and arts-based solutions to their development challenges, the NEA and its partners will help make a difference in the quality of life for these rural places.”

“We were extremely impressed by the volume and high quality of the applications we received. The selected communities demonstrate rich potential for leveraging partnerships to take action on a wide range of rural design issues,” said Cynthia Nikitin, CIRD Program Director and PPS Senior Vice President.

‍Gathering of youth with Chief Albert of the Jean Charles Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Native American tribe | Photo credit: Shirley Laska

This year’s rural design workshops will support a variety of community projects, including: park revitalization and storm water management (GA), enhancing a recreational trail with wayfinding amenities (ID), designing a Native American tribal center (LA), repurposing an old school building into a performance and art space (MT), developing a tourism strategy along the main road of a Mohawk reservation (NY), and redesigning an intersection to improve safety and mobility for pedestrians, cyclists, and transit riders (WA).

“Each of the projects selected for CIRD workshops has the potential to lay the foundation for positive transformation. Collectively they demonstrate how planning for the future by focusing on assets and opportunities strengthens the social, cultural, and economic vibrancy of communities.”  - David Leckey, Executive Director of the Orton Family Foundation

In addition to the workshops that will be scheduled fall 2016 through spring 2017, the Orton Family Foundation will be offering free on-line capacity building events that are open to the public. These quarterly webinars will be geared towards leaders working on issues related to rural design or planning, and will help participants develop the skills they need to succeed, as well as provide inspiration to help them get started.

For information and registration, click here.

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