ART Station receives national grant

STONE MOUNTAIN -- The National Endowment for the Arts announced the 80 recipients of its 2012 Our Town Grant, which included ART Station of Stone Mountain. The studio will receive $50,000 to continue to operate, market and expand the city of Stone Mountain's Microenterprise Arts Incubator Program at the venue.

The mission of the Stone Mountain Arts Incubator is "to plan for, build, develop, foster and to nurture a creative economy in the city of Stone Mountain."ART Station's President and Artistic Director David Thomas believes the Incubator Program has brought substance to the city's downtown area.

"The program has changed the face of our downtown by renovating four downtown buildings and putting vibrant and colorful art studios and galleries in," he said. "At present we have one gallery cafe, six artist studios and four galleries. Plans are under way to open two more studio spaces in August.

"The program has also attracted other art galleries, restaurants and businesses to our village. Stone Mountain Village is an arts and cultural destination and we are extremely excited and fortunate to be able to partner with the National Endowment for the Arts to expand and market this project."

The NEA received 317 applications for Our Town that were assigned to one of three application review panels based on their project type: arts engagement, cultural planning and design, or non-metro and tribal communities.

"Cities and towns are transformed when you bring the arts -- both literally and figuratively -- into the center of them," NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman said. "From Teller, Alaska to Miami, Fla., communities are pursuing creative placemaking, making their neighborhoods more vibrant and robust by investing in the performing, visual and literary arts. I am proud to be partnering with these 80 communities and their respective arts, civic and elected leaders."