IFP/New York andFilm/Video Arts (F/VA) have received a $100,000 grant to conduct a feasibilitystudy for a media arts centre in Lower Manhattan.

The award ispart of a federal $1m emergency aid package set up to help rebuild New Yorkafter 9/11.

The announcementwas made today (Apr 1) by Empire State Development's (ESD) chairmanCharles A Gargano, who said the arts played an important role in urbanregeneration. ESD is New York state's business support agency.

'Bybringing cultural organisations and artists to a downtown media arts centre,Lower Manhattan will begin its transformation into a 24/7 destination,'Gargano said in a statement.

'This areawill not only emerge as it once was, but it will grow and strengthen througharts and culture. With the aid of New York's vibrant, $5bn film industry,Lower Manhattan will expand its resources and expand its opportunities.'

The feasibilitystudy will explore ways of developing a focal point for the independent filmcommunity in Lower Manhattan.

Staff at IFP andF/VA will now set about finding a suitable location and setting up funding forconstruction and maintenance costs.

The centre,which will house editing, film and video screening suites, classrooms, specialevents, conferences, and meetings, will be anchored by IFP/New York and F/VA,both of which are well-established, not-for-profit organizations.

'Combined,IFP and FVA have over 50 years of relationships with independent filmmakers andthe film industry,' Michelle Byrd, executive director of IFP/New York,said in a statement.

'As IFPapproaches its 25th anniversary, we are excited by the potential of the centreto serve as the physical manifestation of a home for independent artists andtheir audiences.'

'This isan exciting opportunity to create a place where film-makers at all stages oftheir career can come together to learn, create, view and discuss their work,'said Eileen Newman, executive director for F/VA.

IFP/New Yorkprovides resources, information and networking for independent film-makers,industry professionals and independent film enthusiasts.

F/VA supports emerging and established film, video anddigital media producers of diverse backgrounds through courses, sponsorship andaffordable film-making services.

Pat SwinneyKaufman, deputy commissioner and director at New York Governor George Pataki'sOffice of Motion Picture and Television Development said: 'New York'svibrant independent film community represents a unique convergence of cultureand commerce.

'Thisproject represents an exciting opportunity to bring that energy and vitalityinto the redevelopment of Lower Manhattan. It also further demonstrates Governor Pataki's commitment to the futureof this industry in New York, the recognised independent Film Capital of theworld.'