MODESTO — The Modesto Art Museum has been awarded a $101,600 grant for its efforts to improve the perception of the city, which often finds itself on national lists of the most miserable or least livable communities.
ArtPlace America announced the award last week for the museum's Building a Better Modesto program, which, according to a museum news release, uses public art, architecture, landscape and urban design to acknowledge Modesto's unique assets, change the perception of downtown and generate action to make it a more livable city.
"To get that kind of funding shows they really believe in what we are doing," museum board President Barrett Lipomi said Wednesday.
ArtPlace America is a collaboration of national and regional foundations, banks and federal agencies committed to putting art at the forefront of the strategies used to revitalize communities, according to its website.
ArtPlace awarded $15.2 million last week to 54 projects using the arts to transform communities across the nation.
The museum was one of 104 organizations chosen as grant finalists from more than 1,200 letters of inquiry sent to Chicago-based ArtPlace, whose partners include Bank of America, The Rockefeller Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The Modesto Art Museum was founded in 2005 and does not have its own building. Instead, it uses local venues, such as the Building Imagination Center and the McHenry Museum, for its exhibits. It also holds the Modesto International Architecture Festival, conducts walking tours, screens movies at the State Theatre and puts on other events.
The museum had about $37,000 in revenue in 2011, according to documents it filed with the IRS. Lipomi said the grant will enable the museum to fund programs for 1½ years. Those efforts will include:
Commissioning public art for downtown
Creating self-guided art and architecture tours of downtown that use photos and videos on mobile devices
Working with other community groups to brand and promote downtown as the city's desirable design district