Last April, Southwest launched its Heart of the Community Program to support Placemaking, the activation of outdoor, public spaces in an effort to enhance and strengthen communities. Throughout the year, we’ve selected five projects to receive the Heart of the Community grant to enrich communities we serve around the nation. Today, we announced the University of Chicago’s Art + Public Life Initiative and its Office of Civic Engagement as the sixth project to receive a Heart of the Community grant. Southwest is in the business of connecting people to what’s important in their lives, and we realize these connections often centered on their communities. We believe public spaces have the power to transform communities and we’re excited to support the efforts to revitalize this space in Chicago, a city we’ve been serving for nearly 30 years, and our number one airport in terms of departures. The Chicago Heart of the Community grant will help transform a vacant lot in the Washington Park neighborhood into a community gathering place. Southwest will collaborate with Project with Public Spaces and the local community to reimagine and recreate the new area. Community members have participated in every step of the process so far, from planning to programming, with local artists submitting their design proposals. The project will be completed in 2015 to provide Chicago’s South Side a new community area. We look forward to continuing our support of the communities we serve through initiatives like Placemaking. To learn more about the Heart of the Community Program and Project for Public Spaces, visit http://www.pps.org/heart-of-the-community/.