ArtWorks News

ArtWorks to Receive $100,000 Our Town Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

CINCINNATI — ArtWorks has been approved for a $100,000 Our Town award from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to support a public art project for the CROWN multi-use trail network. This is one of 68 grants nationwide, totaling $5 million, that the NEA has approved in the Our Town category. These creative placemaking grants support projects that integrate arts, culture, and design activities into local efforts to strengthen and authentically engage communities, center equity, advance artful lives, and lay the groundwork for long-term systems change.

ArtWorks, in partnership with Tri-State Trails and local community groups, will install two murals and a sculptural installation along Cincinnati’s multi-use trail network, the CROWN, in Avondale. Tri-State Trails has spearheaded the development of the CROWN since 2015, aiming to connect regional trails and enhance access to active transportation and recreation. Recognizing the importance of representation and inclusivity, this collaboration seeks to create public art reflecting and celebrating the Avondale community’s diversity. Through this project, ArtWorks and Tri-State Trails aim to foster a sense of belonging and safety for all residents along the CROWN trail. ArtWorks will use this project to create 24 youth jobs paid at a living wage. The grant period runs from July 2024 through June 2026.

“Projects like ArtWorks exemplify the creativity and care with which communities are telling their stories, creating connection, and responding to challenges and opportunities in their communities—all through the arts,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD. “So many aspects of our communities such as cultural vitality, health and wellbeing, infrastructure, and the economy are advanced and improved through investments in art and design, and the National Endowment for the Arts is committed to ensuring people across the country benefit.”

“We are thrilled that the NEA is investing in creative placemaking projects in Cincinnati,” said Colleen Houston, ArtWorks CEO & Artistic Director. “Collaborating with Tri-State Trails and local residents deepens our commitment to fostering connection and belonging through creating community-based public art. The CROWN trail offers our community a transformative infrastructure and by adding public art, we are able to inspire and activate more usage and civic pride, while showcasing the talent and diversity of our communities.”

“As the CROWN continues to expand into new neighborhoods, it is growing our culture around walking, cycling, and living an active lifestyle,” said Wade Johnston, Executive Director of Tri-State Trails. “Installing more public art along the CROWN will ensure each unique section of trail is a welcoming reflection of the community it traverses through. Tri-State Trails is excited to continue our partnership with ArtWorks to enhance the CROWN to a world-class standard, while also creating jobs for youth.”

For more information on the projects included in the Arts Endowment grant announcement, visit

The CROWN is a vision for Cincinnati’s first-ever urban trail loop – a 34-mile, multi-use paved trail that connects our city’s iconic landmarks and hidden gems. Once complete, The CROWN will connect more than 356,000 people in 54 communities to major destinations like parks, schools, and centers for employment, retail, recreation and entertainment. This walkable, bikeable loop will also be fully separated from roadway traffic, providing a safe and accessible option for all Cincinnatians to gather and be active outdoors.

About ArtWorks
Since 1996, ArtWorks has collaborated with community organizations and residents, businesses, governments, foundations, and nonprofits to create works of art that have helped to define Greater Cincinnati’s global reputation as an arts destination. Its mural program has made Cincinnati the #1 City for Street Art in USA Today’s 2024 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards. By employing and training over 3,500 professional artists and engaging 4,000 teens and young adults, ages 14-24, ArtWorks is actively investing in the creative economy. Through job creation that supports local talent and mentorship programs that pair professional artists with diverse teams of young people, their programs foster the development of 21st-century career-readiness skills. ArtWorks has created a vibrant citywide gallery with more than 14,000 public and private art projects over the last 28 years. Among these are more than 300 permanent outdoor murals that contribute to Cincinnati’s rich cultural tapestry, enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.

ArtWorks receives ongoing funding from the City of Cincinnati, the Ohio Arts Council and ArtsWave.

2460 Gilbert Avenue | Cincinnati, OH 45206

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