Sunday, February 25, 2024
ACT News and Reports

NLC Selects Providence as One of Nine Cities to Participate in National Arts and Wellness Initiative to Address COVID Recovery,  and to Improve Well-Being, and Social Cohesion

National League of Cities

The National League of Cities (NLC) Institute for Youth, Education, and Families (IYEF) has competitively selected Providence as one of nine cities to participate in a pilot peer learning cohort for its newly-launched initiative, Improving Community Health and Resilience through the Arts. The initiative will be carried out in partnership with One Nation / One Project (ONOP), a national arts social venture inspired by the work of the 1936 Federal Theatre Project.  ONOP is a venture of the Tides Center and is currently supported by the Apollo Theater Foundation, Anne Clarke Wolff and Ted Wolff, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Katie McGrath & J.J. Abrams Family Foundation, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

“In Providence, we greatly value and recognize the importance of both the arts and healthy communities, and the connection between the two,” said Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza. “Our residents asked us to deliver a portion of our ARPA-allocated funds to supporting artists and the arts, and participating in NLC’s groundbreaking initiative will surely contribute to the health and vibrancy of Providence as the Creative Capital.”

“The initiative is an opportunity for the arts to play a central role in bringing people together in their cities and communities to improve cohesion, physical and mental well-being and resilience”, said Clarence Anthony, NLC’s CEO and Executive Director. A key facet of the effort supports cities in leveraging American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) resources to improve community conditions related to impacts of COVID-19. The pilot cohort of nine cities will work to build partnerships between municipal leadership, Community Health Centers and safety net providers, local artists, and the communities hit hardest by the pandemic, with particular attention to working with and investing in Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities. Through planning ongoing local interventions and activities in the arts and health sectors, each city will work to develop an artistic project in response to the prompt “There’s no place like home” towards presentations in 2024.

“The arts play an integral part in the health of our communities,” said Dr. Robert Blaine III, Senior Executive and Director of the Institute for Youth, Education, and Families at NLC. “The National League of Cities is proud to work with these nine cities through the One Nation / One Project Arts & Health initiative to build innovative local partnerships and harness the arts to drive recovery efforts from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

With support from NLC, cross-sector teams involving mayors, city staff, arts councils, Community Health Centers, community-based organizations, and independent artists will work to build effective cross-sector relationships and carry out community-led projects. The participating partners will work to create economic opportunities and holistically improve community wellbeing through their arts investments. The NLC is excited to build out this area of work that will help cities, towns, and villages address public health and wellness by investing in the arts.

Cities will be supported through extensive context-specific technical, artistic, and organizational assistance and will engage in regular peer learning opportunities to achieve their desired outcomes.

For more information about the NLC project or the selected cities’ goals, contact

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