Lilly Endowment Awards $49M in Arts Grants

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Newfields is one of the grant recipients. (photo courtesy of Newfields) Newfields is one of the grant recipients. (photo courtesy of Newfields)

Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. has approved nearly $49 million in grants through its Strengthening Indianapolis Through Arts and Cultural Innovation initiative. The funding will support 17 projects, including $3.8 million for Downtown Indy Inc. to improve lighting, sound and staging for Monument Circle events. Communications Director Judy Cebula says proposals involving unexpected collaborations and efforts for underserved populations led the endowment to nearly double the total amount of money it was initially planning to grant.

The amounts of the individual grants range from $49,000 to $9.2 million. Lilly Endowment launched the arts initiative in January with the intention of awarding a total of $25 million. The organization says 226 ideas were submitted for potential funding and the number of creative and promising proposals led to the decision to up the grant total.

"We were impressed not just by the number of proposals we received but also by the applicants’ collaborative spirit, imagination and energetic desire to make Indianapolis a more vibrant and engaging community," said Rob Smith, vice president of community development for the Endowment. "We believe that the projects funded through this initiative will significantly enhance the quality of life for residents and create compelling new experiences for visitors."

Some of the projects that will receive funding include:

  • Downtown Indy Inc. - Awarded $3,866,240 for it's "Shining a Light on Indianapolis" project, which aims to "activate the Soldiers & Sailors Monument by installing enhanced lighting and projection capabilities, a state-of-the-art sound system and flexible staging."
  • Eagle Creek Park Foundation - Awarded $2.6 million to create the Eagle Creek West Side Trail, a new, seven-mile series of pedestrian trails that activates 1,000 of currently inaccessible wooded parkland, including the park's first two ADA trails.
  • Indianapolis Parks Foundation - Awarded $9.2 million for the Taggart Memorial Mainstage Amphitheatre project.
  • Newfields - Awarded $8 million for new festival infrastructure and programming, which aims to expand Newfields' capacity to host large, public festivals to appeal to broad audiences.

The projects receiving funding from the endowment will begin to take shape next year. You can view the full list of grant recipients below and learn more about the projects by clicking here.

Cebula outlines some of the standout projects that received funding.
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