Two cities receive NEA arts grants

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Two Southern California cities are among 21 to score major grants from the National Endowment of the Arts.

The NEA says arts activity throughout the country creates jobs, increases civic participation, and improves the lives of children.

The organization will give the Arts Council for Long Beach $25,000 in seed money to create a portable, flexible festival stage-performance space. The Arts Council’s Craig Watson said the structure would travel around the city’s multi-ethnic neighborhoods at least once a month.

"The very organizations, or the very neighborhoods where there’s lots of cultural activity but not a showcase, not a place, not a format or venue of the appropriate quality with lighting or sound and staging," he said.

After a design competition, the structure could be ready a year from this fall.

The NEA gave L.A.’s Cultural Affairs department $100,000 to help turn an underused multi-story building on Broadway in downtown into artist apartments, a performance and exhibition space, and arts classrooms run by CalArts.