Places has been approved by the National Endowment for the Arts to receive a grant to support a new article series, “Rethinking the Interstates.” The grant is one of 1,251 awards, totaling nearly $28.8 million, that were announced by the NEA in its first round of arts grants for this year.
The new series will explore how the U.S. Interstate Highways — conceived in an era of cheap oil, suburban expansion, and urban displacement — might be newly understood and creatively adapted in an era defined by climate crisis, renewable energy, suburban sprawl, and the Movement for Black Lives. How might this extraordinary but everyday monument to federal technocratic expertise — the largest public works project in the nation’s history — be given greater political importance and cultural presence through civic deliberation grounded in local knowledge and democratic ideals? How might the Interstates be meaningfully reimagined, and not simply “updated” for automobile-centric consumerism in the 21st century?
“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support arts projects in communities nationwide,” said Maria Rosario Jackson, chair of the NEA. “Projects such as this one with Places Journal strengthen arts and cultural ecosystems, provide equitable opportunities for arts participation and practice, and contribute to the health of our communities and our economy.”
We are thrilled to embark on this project with the support of the NEA.