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The City of Madison has been approved for a $50,000 Our Town grant to support Greater Madison Music City’s (GMMC) efforts to create an equitable music economy in the region. This is one of 63 grants nationwide that the NEA has approved to support projects integrating arts, culture, and design activities into efforts that strengthen communities. By advancing local economic, physical, and/or social outcomes these projects are laying the groundwork for sustainable systems change.

“As the country and the arts sector begin to work towards a post-pandemic world, the National Endowment for the Arts is proud to announce this Our Town funding. These awards will support cross-sector partnerships such as the one lead by the Madison Arts Commission that demonstrate the power of the arts to help communities create a better future for themselves.” said NEA Acting Chairman Ann Eilers.

“Madison is working to tackle issues of systemic racism in the music industry, to attract more music tourism, and to build on our strengths as a music city,” said Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, “Being awarded NEA funding during this critical time for musicians and others in the music industry will help us achieve more equitable economic recovery in the arts.”

Urban Planner Angela Puerta, who is representing the City on the Greater Madison Music Team, reported progress on the group’s efforts. ”We have already formed various music sub-committees to reinforce community empowerment from people that we have not heard from before. We need a diverse group of individuals to make decisions and help us design a comprehensive framework to guide actions and implement the changes we need to be an inclusive music City.”

GMMC Chair Karen Reece added, “This grant will allow us to complete a systematic review of policies and practices that perpetuate inequities in our music ecosystem that has never been done before. Community members will remain engaged in every step of the process, interpret results, and drive decision making.”

The Greater Madison Area Music planning efforts focus broadly on music and entertainment. The project aims to map cultural assets, measure economic impact of our music sector, and identify barriers to equal access in existing city policies. This major collective impact process integrates inclusive community stakeholder engagement and policy analysis with consulting firm, Sound Diplomacy, to build on the recommendations of the 2019 report from the City of Madison Task Force on Equity in Music and Entertainment in alignment with the City's 2018 Comprehensive Plan. The plan will serve to overcome barriers to racial equity as well as guide our COVID19 economic recovery efforts for the music sector including identifying music tourism recovery strategies.

For more information on the projects included in the Arts Endowment grant announcement, visit
For more information about the Greater Madison Music City Project, visit: