Communities near the South Central Extension/Downtown Hub light rail construction project will soon enjoy arts and culture projects that reflect and celebrate the local area and beautify our transit spaces. Across 2023, the South Central Art Grant program will partner with a dozen-plus local organizations to provide $75,000 in grants supporting projects, ranging from outdoor musical performances to murals to youth arts education.
“We aim to celebrate and create platforms for all women to share their art through organizing educational, cultural and arts events and providing other arts-related social opportunities in South Phoenix,” said The Black Girl Brown Girl Collective Inc. (BGBGC), one of the 2023 awardees. “We are thankful for this funding which will allow us to continue to offer programming that puts women at the forefront of art and is also accessible to everyone in the community. We're excited to get started!”
The selected projects incorporate a variety of events and creative works, such as outdoor performances, festivals, art and children’s educational programs. A few of the funded projects include:
- KNOWLEDGEFEST– a festival with an emphasis on arts and culture highlighting storytelling, jazz, poetry and arts
- Mural by artist Reggie Casillas to be created at Calvin’s Market
- A Mexican culture and heritage festival featuring ballet folklorico
- A woman-led concert to be held at the Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center
Grant Review Panels comprised of local residents who live and work in the downtown and South Phoenix communities, considered the applications and made recommendations to fund the projects.
“The residents of the Grant Park and Lowell School community are grateful to the Valley Metro South Central Extension Project for the approval for the funding of an Arts and Cultural project grant,” according to Earl and Mary Rose Wilcox, Grant Park Barrio Youth Project Directors and 2023 grant awardee. “The grant will allow the children of our community to share in the excitement of preparations for light rail. The grant will provide for a community arts project collaboration and partnership between a known local artist and students from Lowell Elementary school. The Valley Metro South Central Extension Project, when completed, will provide a tremendous economic impact and will increase the quality of life for the residents of South Phoenix for future generations of South Phoenix.”
According to artist Isaac Caruso, "Spaces of Opportunity not only provides food and placemaking to the people of South Phoenix, it provides an identity. Artwork at our garden tell a story about people who interact with it, and this funding will help us create murals that further convey their legacy."
Public art is an integral part of the Valley Metro Rail system. In addition to this program, the South Central Extension/Downtown Hub will incorporate the work of 18 artists—13 of whom are Arizona locals—across the line’s five miles and eight stations.
A full list of grant recipients is available upon request.