Mercer in the running for national ArtPlace Grant

Mercer University is currently one of the national finalists for the 2013 ArtPlace Grant.
If obtained, Mercer plans to use the funds gained from the grant to renovate the Tattnall Square Presbyterian Church.
According to Lake Lambert, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, “We made the first cut and so now we are in the process of working on our application for the final consideration for the grant.”
Lambert gave some details into what Mercer plans to do with the Tattnall Square Presbyterian Church, saying that Mercer plans to renovate it into an arts center, which would also serve as a new home for Mercer Theater.
Lambert also said that the arts center would be open for a variety of community uses when Mercer Theater is not using it, which according to him is a large part of the year.
“It would be available for open mic nights, poetry readings, film screenings and a variety of other arts uses in town,” Lambert said.
ArtPlace, the organization offering the grant, is composed of a number of different organizations that support the arts. These organizations include the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as the Knight Foundation, which has supported numerous projects involving Mercer and Macon in the past.
This is not the first time that Mercer has applied for the grant from ArtPlace. Mercer also applied for the 2012 grant, but did not receive it.
When asked what he thought Mercer’s chances of getting the grant this year were, Lambert said it was hard to tell.
“We think that our application is going to be a lot stronger this year because we have gotten a little further in thinking about the design of the facility and how to renovate the facility,” Lambert said.
He also mentioned, “We’ve been working more closely with community partners to think about the potential community uses for the space in addition to the Mercer Theater uses.”
There are more than 100 finalists applying for the ArtPlace Grant alongside Mercer. There were about 1,200 applications for the grant before ArtPlace selected is finalists.
The selection process for the finalists examines their potential to have a positive impact on their communities with their proposed projects.
The deadline to submit the final application is in February. After the last deadline, Mercer will know in early to mid-summer if ArtPlace has selected the university for the grant.