Nickel Plate receives $10,000 grant: Organization says funding will fuel arts programs for underserved residents

CIN COM 0131 nickel plate grant
Nickel Plate Arts Director Aili McGill accepts the grant check from Mark LaBarr, Duke Energy Indiana government and community relations manager for Hamilton County. (Submitted photo)

By Sadie Hunter

Nickel Plate Arts, an arts organization that serves communities along the Nickel Plate Rail Line in Hamilton and Tipton Counties, has received a $10,000 grant from the Duke Energy Foundation to support community-building efforts in Hamilton County’s Jackson Township.

The organization said the funding will help invest in the creative economies of communities currently battling population decline. The grant will fund several significant initiatives in Atlanta, Arcadia and Cicero, including the development of strategic plans to strengthen arts and culture in each community. Specific projects include a makerspace and collaborative arts workspace in Atlanta, a series of community-centered arts events in Cicero and an operating plan for the Arcadia Arts & Heritage Depot.

“It’s easy for our attention to be diverted to Noblesville and Fishers because those communities are larger and more robust,” Nickel Plate Arts Director Aili McGill stated in a press release. “But we think that our greatest impact in 2017 will be in Jackson Township, through the unification and strengthening of the projects outlined in our grant application.”

Grassroots efforts will include public art events, classes for children and adults and professional resources for creative entrepreneurs.

“We are excited to be able to help fuel the arts-related efforts that have just started bubbling up in Atlanta and Cicero and are very happy to be able to help Arcadia’s Arts and Heritage depot find new vitality for the future,” McGill stated. “We are so grateful for the Duke Foundation’s willingness to invest in the creative economy and envision an inspiring future for the Nickel Plate Arts region.”

“Community vitality involves more than just jobs, businesses and economic development,” said Mark LaBarr, Duke Energy Indiana government and community relations manager for Hamilton County. “The arts enhance and promote a quality of life that transcends economics. We’re pleased to support artistic endeavors already underway in Atlanta, Arcadia and Cicero.”