The Tucson Pima Arts Council and Ajo's International Sonoran Desert Alliance were among 51 organizations nationwide that received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts' new grant category, dubbed Our Town.

Both organizations received $100,000 grants. The Tucson Pima Arts Council will use the funds for a mapping project in Tucson's warehouse district. The project will analyze the impact of arts on the economy, real estate and social impact of arts in the area.

The International Sonoran Desert Alliance will use its grant to create a master plan for Ajo's plaza and town center, planning the use of unused buildings and outdoor sites for public art projects.

The NEA's Our Town grants totaled $6.58 million and went to communities in 34 states. Grants went to local government and arts organizations that create planning, design and arts engagement projects that strengthen arts organizations while increasing the livability of communities. The grants ranged from $25,000 to $250,000.

Contact reporter Phil Villarreal at 573-4130 or