The National Endowment for the Arts will give the Rouse Company $50,000 to fund art projects during the next two years in selected Rouse shopping centers nationwide. It is the first time the federal arts agency has joined with a private corporation to jointly underwrite that corporation's art program.
The agency's money will go to the Rouse Company's "Art in the Marketplace" awards program. Begun in 1983, "Art in the Marketplace" awards help to underwrite art exhibitions, performances and art education programs in Rouse malls and shopping centers. To date, the program has spent $475,000 on 57 arts projects.
"One mission of the arts endowment is to help broaden the availability and appreciation of the arts throughout the country. This unique partnership with The Rouse Company, through their outstanding 'Art in the Marketplace' program, helps to bring American families that much closer to the cultural riches our nation's artists have created," said NEA chairman John Frohnmayer in a prepared statement yesterday.
"Putting art in malls is a very good idea. Creating government partnerships with corporations is a good idea, too. But it looks like a conflict of interest, or just self-interest, if the money is going to Rouse to disperse only at Rouse's own malls," said Charlotte Murphy, executive director of the National Association of Artists' Organizations in Washington, D.C.
The arrangement calls for Rouse to match NEA funds on a two-to-one basis. The NEA will provide $50,000 for ten arts projects which have been selected by the Rouse Company while Rouse, its subsidiaries and affiliates will give $100,000. Each project will also receive money from the host shopping center and local businesses.
Projects set for 1991 at Harborplace/The Gallery in Baltimore and at Harundale Mall in Glen Burnie will receive a total of $25,000 in grants.
"City Visions," the project planned at Harborplace in June, calls for 75 local artists to participate in a month-long exhibition in merchants' windows and in a weekend festival of the visual and performing arts. The Mayor's Committee on Arts and Culture, the Maryland Institute, College of Art and Maryland Art Place will help oversee the project. It will receive an award of $15,000 from NEA/Rouse and $10,000 in other money.
Harundale Mall's program, planned for September 1991, will receive an award of $10,000 for an annual Senior Arts Week celebrating art by the elderly. The grant will also help sponsor three artists in residence who will produce a mural for permanent display in the mall. The project, launched with the help of Anne Arundel Community College, will receive $5,000 in other funds.
The eight other recipients of "Art in the Marketplace" money are Eastfield Mall in Springfield, Mass.; Jacksonville Landing in Jacksonville, Fla.; Military Circle Center in Norfolk, Va.; Riverwalk in New Orleans, La.; St. Louis Union Station in St. Louis, Mo.; Staten Island Mall in Staten Island, N.Y.; Westlake Center in Seattle, Wash. and Willowbrook Mall in Wayne, N.J.
Shopping centers could apply for grants of $5,000, $10,000 or $15,000.
The grants were chosen from a field of 26 Rouse-affiliated applicants. The panel of judges was composed of Ellen Sollod, head of the Seattle Arts Commission, Pamela Worden, executive director of UrbanArts, a non-profit arts organization in Boston, and five Rouse Company officials.
The advisory council of the NEA approved the ten individual sub-grants at its November meeting.
Other projects include presenting performances and events for underprivileged children; a week-long jazz festival and a program to introduce mall-goers to Richard Wagner's Ring Cycle of operas.
"We are very pleased with the quality of this association and we look forward to helping the Endowment market its image," said Becky Hannum, director of "Art in the Marketplace" for the Rouse Company.