Piedmont Housing Alliance to Receive $100,000 Our Town Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

Award will support public art project at Kindlewood in downtown Charlottesville

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (May 15, 2024) — Piedmont Housing Alliance has been approved for a $100,000 Our Town award from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The grant will support planning for a resident-driven, permanent public art installation in the Kindlewood neighborhood of downtown Charlottesville.

Sunshine Mathon, executive director of Piedmont Housing Alliance, said, “Working with artists, Kindlewood residents, community stakeholders, and the city of Charlottesville, Piedmont Housing will facilitate the collaborative creation of an installation that will reflect the fraught history, rich culture, and thriving future of this neighborhood. We hope this effort will serve as a catalyst for other parts of Charlottesville to reckon with the past through place-based storytelling.”

Kindlewood is a neighborhood emerging from the transformation of Friendship Court, a 45-year-old Section 8 community in the heart of Charlottesville serving 150 families. Since the four-phased, zero-displacement redevelopment of the community began in 2017, an elected Advisory Committee of residents – all of whom are paid for their time – has guided every decision, from selecting architects to co-designing the site layout to drafting plans for the public park where this art installation will reside.

Ezhar Zahid, a youth resident, Board member, and member of the Advisory Committee, said, “Our vision is for this public art project to be an acknowledgment of the history and people who have lived here. We also hope that it will further enhance the sense of community that we are working so hard to nurture here at Kindlewood.”

The award for Kindlewood 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.

“Projects like the public art installation at Kindlewood 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 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.”

For more information on the projects included in the Arts Endowment grant announcement, visit the NEA’s full press release.

Architectural rendering of park to be built in Phases 2 and 3 of Kindlewood.

About Piedmont Housing Alliance
Piedmont Housing Alliance is an affordable housing nonprofit working in the city of Charlottesville and Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa and Nelson counties. The mission of Piedmont Housing is to create housing opportunities and build community through education, lending and development. Piedmont Housing is a HUD-certified housing counseling agency, state-certified Community Housing Development Organization and US Treasury-certified Community Development Financial Institution.

Wes Myhre