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Amid the evolving economic impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) remains steadfast in supporting communities across the region by accessing and distributing relief funds as they become available. LEAP, with support from the PNC Foundation, announced a continued investment in public art and support for artist-entrepreneurs, by awarding $30,000 for public art through LEAP’s Public Art for Communities (PAFC) grant program Tuesday, April 28, 2020.

During this challenging time for our communities and particularly small businesses, LEAP recognizes many artists are small-business owners struggling to remain viable. Though the PAFC grants are awarded to community entities, they fundamentally provide support for artist- entrepreneurs.

“It’s inspiring, even in this time of uncertainty and chaos, to see communities and businesses across the region continue to step up and partner with LEAP, to partner with each other, to elevate the sophisticated cultural appeal of our region, so we can remain competitive as we heal economically from this crisis and as LEAP works to attract business and talent from around the world,” said Bob Trezise, president and CEO of LEAP.

Trezise also notes the important role placemaking programs, such as LEAP’s PAFC, play in advancing a shared vision to enhance the region’s aesthetic appeal for a broad spectrum of businesses and talent, as well as the need to continue investing in public art during the current economic disruption. “We have seen record numbers of investment from outside of the region over the past years, predominantly foreign investment, with even more anticipated in 2020 and beyond. This investment in our region demonstrates that we are indisputably and passionately committed to progress,” Trezise added.

LEAP’s 2020 PAFC grants will expand the Lansing region’s growing collection of public art by welcoming three new pieces. The PAFC 2020 grant awardees include the city of Williamston, the city of Lansing and Delhi Township, which will each receive $10,000 to advance permanent public art projects.

“PNC’s ongoing support of LEAP’s public art grant program reflects our Main Street values and commitment to the communities where we conduct business,” said Timothy Salisbury, PNC regional president for Mid-Michigan. “This program is an example of what can be accomplished through strong public-private partnerships. It’s particularly important to support local business people as our communities face the many challenges presented by the pandemic.”

Since 2012, the PAFC grant program has invested $260,000 in growing a collection of strategically placed, permanent, public art throughout the tri-county region (Clinton, Eaton and Ingham counties). The program has funded more than 30 individual pieces furnished by artist- entrepreneurs showcasing a diversity of mediums from murals, to alley walks, to creative bike racks, sculpture and more, which have been intentionally located to enhance community image and elevate critical areas in need of further economic development.

In 2015, LEAP began working with the PNC Foundation, a strong advocate of the PAFC grant program and regional placemaking. The PNC Foundation’s annual $10,000 contribution has helped expand the program and number of pieces funded each year.

Each awarded community has prioritized a location based on their own placemaking strategies, taking both pedestrian and vehicular traffic patterns in to consideration, as well as the business case for attracting talent to their communities.

About LEAP

The Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) is a coalition of area leaders partnering to build a stronger community for all–working every day to grow, retain and attract business to the Lansing, Michigan, region.

About the PNC Foundation

The PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group (www.pnc.com), actively supports organizations that provide services for the benefit of communities in which it has a significant presence. The foundation focuses its philanthropic mission on early childhood education and community and economic development, which includes the arts and culture. Through Grow Up Great, its signature cause that began in 2004, PNC has created a bilingual $500 million, multi-year initiative to help prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life.