Pines receives $50K NEA grant for arts facility

Pembroke Pines is moving forward with the new civic center arts facility and the plaza's design and program development thanks to a $50,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. It's one of only 66 Our Town grant recipients.

"Pembroke Pines' selection as an Our Town grant recipient is both an honor and an exciting opportunity," said Mayor Frank Ortis in a statement. "This honor distinguishes Pembroke Pines as one of the most creative cities in the country."

NEA Chairwoman Jane Chu said the grant gives cities opportunities to "enhance a sense of place for residents and visitors alike. The city of Pembroke Pines demonstrates the best in creative community development and whose work will have a valuable impact on its community."

Pines is partnering with Florida Atlantic University's School of Architecture and its Broward Community Design Collaborative/MetroLAB, involving at least 10 graduate students.

The students, working under FAU associate professor and MetroLAB director Francis Lyn, will submit design recommendations for the 1-acre plaza to accommodate interactive installations, performance art and cultural gatherings, pedestrian access to the civic center from surrounding communities, and for the boardwalk surrounding the lake and connecting the City Center hotel with the civic center.

Jill Slaughter, the city's curator of special projects, helped write the grant proposal.

"It's such an active time," she said. "The city is long-term and visionary and very supportive. Mayor Ortis is dedicated to making the arts available to everyone."

The project also includes a multi-disciplinary arts demonstration project, called CivicArts Creative Placemaking, which will work with an advisory committee to create art projects and performances.

The new arts facility and plaza will offer free programming. Slaughter described the area as one of connectivity, where a family needing services at City Hall can stumble upon the art gallery or a workshop.

"The great thing about the plaza is the arts will be right at your doorstep," she said. "We want to encourage pedestrian activity. We're building this to foster communication and exchange."

Fallan Patterson can be reached at

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