The Mission

Invite, create, and enrich community.

Arts and culture are a fundamental part of our community that helps us connect with one another and better understand history, people, and new ideas. It brings beauty and inspiration and encourages conversation. They are also an important economic driver that improves our quality of life, health, and wellbeing. Participation in cultural activities (as opposed to spectatorship) connects people to each other and to their community institutions, providing pathways to other forms of engagement. Arts and culture can create opportunities for political expression, community dialogue, shared cultural experiences, and civic work. When people become involved in the design, creation, and upkeep of places, they develop a vested interest in using and maintaining these spaces. When they have a true sense of “ownership” or connection to the places they frequent, the community becomes a better place to live, work, and visit. The residents’ feelings of respect and responsibility for the place bonds them to that place and to each other. No architect or town planner can design or build a place that does that. Including young people as meaningful contributors to the social and economic aspects of community building must not be overlooked and cannot be left to schools and parents alone.

Creative placemaking is when artists, arts organizations, and community development practitioners deliberately integrate arts and culture into community revitalization work – placing arts at the table with land-use, transportation, economic development, education, housing, infrastructure, and public safety strategies. Creative placemaking projects aim to transform communities into lively, beautiful, and resilient places – achieving these community goals through strategies that incorporate arts, culture, and/or design.

The Grant

This grant program funds innovative, arts-based ideas that inspire diverse groups of participants to be more active, involved, and civically-engaged by creating together. Projects must be designed to provide broad access to arts experiences, address community quality of life issues through the arts, or enhance the sustainability of cultural enterprises. Art must be central to the project, and the proposal must reflect an informed understanding of the particular art form(s) being used, as well as of the communities being served. The projects may use any art form—visual/conceptual art, photography, new media, video, dance, theater/performance art, music, creative writing, or other forms. Priority will be given to projects based in low-income neighborhoods, Title 1 public schools, and communities in need.

Grant timeline: *Proposed projects may take place between May 2019 to June 1, 2020

  • December 2018: Application becomes available
  • February 15, 2019, by 5 pm: Deadline. All application materials must be received by 5 pm. Digital submission is required. Send applications to Janelle Wienke at
  • April 2019: Applicants will be notified of their status

Grant information sessions:

Additional Assistance:

Please contact Anna Helgeson at for assistance with your grant proposal. Anna will hold office hours available by appointment on the following dates:

    • January 17, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
    • January 24, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
    • January 31, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
    • February 7, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
    • February 14, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Grant documents:

Guideline PDF

Application PDF

Application word doc

2019-20 Arts Build Community Grant Awards:

  • $1,000, BeLoved Asheville: An outside gallery that amplifies the culture and history of Latinx, indigenous, and African American people to be used as an educational hub for youth of color in Asheville.
  • $1,000, Martha Skinner: To facilitate a gathering and sharing between individuals on the autism spectrum resulting in a drawing created together.
  • $1,000, Nuestro Centro: A cultural arts program helps children and youth develop a strong sense of cultural identity through Mexican folkloric dance, music, literature and history.
  • $1,000, Shiloh Community Association: Create series of murals to add to a series being placed along the Legacy Art Trail, to honor important figures from the community’s history.
  • $1,000, Word on the Street/Voz de los Jovenes: Developing, printing, and distributing a zine to document artistic responses to thematic questions by the “squad members”.

2018-19 Arts Build Community Grant Awards:

  • $1,200, American Myth Center: Boxcar Theatre for shows that investigate the realities of our home, history, and community.
  • $1,200, Asheville Writers in the Schools and Community: 10-week residency working with educators, students, and their families to create personal and family narratives and poetry that draw on place, culture, and community.
  • $1,000, Hola Community Arts: Hola Asheville festival brings the sights, sounds, music, pageantry, colorful costumes, and talent of Latin America to downtown Asheville.
  • $1,000, Oakley Elementary: “The Leader in Me”, a collaborative mural project with local muralists and students to complete multiple murals in common areas of the school.
  • $600, Poetry Pathways: Public Art project located on the 13 Bones Bridge intended to celebrate poetry and make it accessible to the public.