The Deuces Live, a Florida-certified Main Street, has been awarded a prestigious Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The grant will help fund cultural programming and aesthetic upgrades to the historic Deuces neighborhood of 22nd St. in South St. Petersburg. The Deuces Live was one of only 51 recipients of the Our Town grant during the current cycle and will receive $25,000 in funding from the NEA.

The application process represented a successful collaboration between Deuces Live, Catalyst For Good, CapEx Advisory group and the City of St. Petersburg, which has pledged to match the award.“We are so glad to have partnered with The Deuces Live and to contribute matching funds for the National Endowment for the Arts: Our Town project,” said St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman. “The Deuces corridor is a vibrant, historic area of our city, and I am proud of its continued growth and vitality.”CapEx partner Cailin McGough also praised the project. “A lot of communities wait for investment to happen, but Deuces Live is out in front, laying out a vision for a revitalized 22nd St. corridor,” McGough said. “Cap-Ex is happy to have played a supporting role in this application for funding.”Our Town grants fund projects that integrate arts, culture and design activities into efforts that strengthen communities by advancing local economic, physical and/or social outcomes.

The award will provide financial support for Arts Explosion On The Deuces Live, a multi-dimensional artistic and cultural infusion of regularly scheduled concerts, dance performances and theatrical productions that will highlight the cultural heritage of the historic African American corridor on 22nd St. The corridor, nicknamed “The Deuces” after its double 2s, was once home to a thriving African American business and cultural community. The I-275 expansion of I-75 into Pinellas County in the early 1970s effectively cut the district off from the rest of downtown, leaving lasting scars in the neighborhood and on local businesses.

The Deuces Live was created to revive and revitalize the area, and the NEA grant will represent the next step in the rebuilding process. The nonprofit has already been involved in drafting a multi-year vision for the corridor, and has coordinated with local artists to create murals around the neighborhood, including under the I-275 overpass.“What the grant means to me is an opportunity to bring back the history and heritage of The Deuces,” said The Deuces Live Board President Antwaun Walls, a lifelong neighborhood resident. “Once upon a time there was music, food, joy, laughter and entertainment. Now is the time to bring things back to the way they used to be. We’re this close.”

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