$75,000 in NEA Arts Works Grants Provide Funding for What’s Out There and the Pioneers of American Landscape Design Video Oral History Project
Washington, DC (April 16, 2014) – The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) today announced it has been awarded two National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Art Works grants totaling $75,000. The grants provide $35,000 to fund research and development for What’s Out There, a free, authoritative, profusely illustrated, searchable online database of the nation’s designed landscapes; and $40,000 for the completion of interviews and related activities for the Pioneer of American Landscape Design Video Oral History Project, which documents, collects, and preserves first-hand information from pioneering landscape architects.
“We are honored the NEA has chosen to award What’s Out There and the Pioneers Video Oral History Projectcritically needed funding,” said Charles A. Birnbaum, TCLF’s founder and president. "TCLF will now be able to chronicle Texas’ designed landscape legacy, continue work on several oral histories and optimize the entire oral history series for smartphones and similar handheld devices.”
Funding for What’s Out There (WOT)
WOT currently features more than 1,500 site descriptions with 750 landscape architect and designer profiles, all illustrated by more than 10,000 images. The program not only raises awareness about the diversity of designed landscapes in our midst, it also provides a critical context for historians, inspires design professionals through its extensive image archive, and enhances local and regional heritage tourism efforts. WOT includes a concise glossary of 27 landscape types (e.g. park) and 49 sub-types (e.g. large municipal park) and 14 styles (e.g. Prairie style), which create a framework for the site descriptions and designer profiles. Each WOT entry includes a 200-word description of the site’s design history, six to eight photos, categorization into the appropriate landscape type, style, and designer, an interactive map (providing context with other nearby sites), and a Web link for additional information. WOT has also been optimized for iPhones and similar handheld devices and includes What’s Nearby, a GPS-enabled function that locates all sites in the database within a 25-mile radius of any given location.
In the past few years, state-specific efforts have added considerably to the database. TCLF’s partnership with the Maine Historical Society and funded with a previous NEA grant produced more than 150 WOT entries, and another NEA grant is currently funding a similar effort in Virginia. TCLF is now planning to focus on Texas’s landscape legacy and has already secured the participation of students and faculty from the State’s four university landscape architecture programs - at University of Texas at Austin and Arlington, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech - and partner organizations with complementary missions to identify, research and photograph sites, and collaboratively vet and post them to WOT to share with the public.
Funding for The Pioneers of American Landscape Design Video Oral History Series
The Pioneer of American Landscape Design Video Oral History Project, launched in 2003, is the leading collection of video-recorded oral histories documenting the lives and careers of significant and influential landscape architects, in their own words. Each oral history features first person interviews with the subjects in their homes and/or studios and offices, interviews with colleagues and/or family (as appropriate), archival material, as well as location shoots at significant built works.
A portion of this grant will be used to conduct an oral history with Philadelphia landscape architect Harriet Pattison. Over the course of her half-century career, Pattison collaborated with some of the most notable architects of the 20th century, including Robert Venturi and Louis I. Kahn (her son, Nathaniel Kahn, created the documentary “My Architect” about Louis Kahn). Grant funds will also be used to complete oral histories from existing footage for landscape architects Robert Royston and Ruth Shellhorn. These two designers, based in Northern and Southern California, respectively, were responsible for some of the state’s best-known public spaces. The remainder of the grant will be used to optimize the series for iPhones, iPads and similar handheld devices, from which TCLF has received the greatest increase in traffic to its Web site.
About the National Endowment for the Arts Art Works grants
Art Works grants support the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and enhancement of the livability of communities through the arts. The NEA received 1,515 eligible applications under the Art Works category, requesting more than $76 million in funding. Of those applications, 886 are recommended for grants for a total of $25.8 million.
For a complete listing of projects recommended for Art Works grant support, please visit the NEA Web site athttp://arts.gov.
About The Cultural Landscape Foundation
The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) is a 16-year-old 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation that provides people with the ability to see, understand and value landscape architecture and its practitioners, in the way many people have learned to do with buildings and their designers. Through its Web site, lectures, outreach and publishing, TCLF broadens the support and understanding for cultural landscapes nationwide to help safeguard our priceless heritage for future generations. TCLF makes a special effort to heighten the awareness of those who impact cultural landscapes, assist groups and organizations working to increase the appreciation and recognition of cultural landscapes, and develop educational tools for young people to better connect them to their cultural landscape environs.