Cherokee Village has been selected for a competitive National Endowment of the Arts matching grant. The $100,000 award will be used to launch the first phase of community master planning to benefit community and economic development during the next 18 months.
The project participants will research the community’s history including how the natural landscape influenced the development of arts, culture and community design. Areas of research will include Native American culture, Ozark Folk and pioneer heritage, camping and scouting traditions, and mid-century design as it relates to the historical influence and development of Cherokee Village.
With the support of the University of Arkansas Community Design Center and the Arkansas Folk and Traditional Arts Program, the project will map heritage sites and recreational assets in an effort to expand their impact and influence on future design. Project activities will include development of the state’s first heritage scholars program, inclusive design charettes led by artists in residence and cultural experts, and geographic information systems (GIS) mapping.
The project’s output will include development of a cultural asset map, an exhibition of findings and collation of data to complement development of the community’s first comprehensive master plan. The Our Town Grant announcement comes on the occasion of Cherokee Village’s 65th anniversary year.
While anniversary plans were canceled in June due to COVID-19 health concerns, Mayor Russell Stokes said “during these challenging times in our nation, we have so much to be thankful for, not least of which is that we live in such a beautiful place with an abundance of natural resources, recreational amenities and strong community values.”
Mayor Stokes added “this grant comes at an opportune time when small rural communities like Cherokee Village are becoming even more attractive to people who desire to relocate from urban to more rural areas.”
“The Our Town Grant will serve as the catalyst for our look back at the community’s rich history as well as our look forward to how we want to build on these legacies for the future,” said Jonathan Rhodes, Community Developer.
Key public-private partnerships in the project include Cherokee Village, Arts Center of North Arkansas, Cherokee Village Community Developer, Cherokee Village Historical Society, the Spring River Innovation Hub, University of Arkansas Folk and Traditional Arts, Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, Cherokee Village Suburban Improvement District, Old Kia Kima Historical Preservation Association, University of Arkansas Community Design Center and School of Architecture and the Arkansas Arts Council.
Grant activities will take place both virtually and in person over the next 18 months and are expected to start in August 2020. Our Town is the National Endowment for the Arts’ creative placemaking grants program.