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National Endowment for the Arts grants awarded to Kentucky organizations

Eight grants for $200,000

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 7, 2016) — Eight Kentucky arts organizations will share $200,000 in funding from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in its first round of grant funding for fiscal year 2016. The Kentucky grants were part of 1,126 grants awarded nationwide totaling more than $27.7 million.

nea“As NEA Chairman Jane Chu saw when she visited Central and Eastern Kentucky this past April, there are phenomenal things going on in the arts in the commonwealth,” said Lori Meadows, arts council executive director. “We are grateful to the NEA for seeing the worth of so many groups in Kentucky, and for backing that up with increasing amounts of grant funding over the last few years.”

Organizations receiving NEA grant money:

Danville’s Community Arts Center, $10,000: The Challenge America category offers $10,000 matching grants to support projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics or disability. NEA staff provide significant technical assistance to these applicants to mentor them in project development and the grant application process. The Community Arts Center’s project is Art Under Pressure, a coordinated series of printmaking events for teens in rural, central Kentucky. These events will be facilitated by guest artists and will culminate in a public steamroller printmaking event. The finished prints will be hung as a public art installation in the community.

Berea College, $50,000: A core group of partners led by Berea College will develop a plan to ensure all students acquire arts knowledge and skills in the rural southeastern Kentucky Appalachian Promise Zone. Building on the cultural asset mapping in Appalachia supported by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Promise Zone, Berea College and its partners will expand this mapping to include more in-depth information about arts and education assets. School and community representatives will develop a comprehensive approach with a shared vision to improving arts education, which will include the voices of students, teachers, administrators and artists. Together, they will develop a strategic plan that will include procedures for program implementation, operation and accountability, professional development, curriculum development, artist residencies and initial plans for a kick-off event. Partners include the Kentucky Arts Council, Kentucky Highlands Investment Corp., Appalshop and Hindman Settlement School.

Central Music Academy, Lexington, $10,000: As a support mechanism for the Music on the Northside Initiative, this project provides free, weekly music lessons as well as steel drum band and bluegrass group classes for students on the north side of Lexington. Students will have the opportunity to take private individual lessons in wind, string, percussion or vocal music, studying different styles of music including classical, jazz, folk, pop and world music. The group classes include a bluegrass ensemble and a steel band ensemble designed to meet Kentucky state education standards, which specifically designate Appalachian music and music of the West African diaspora as preferred world music areas of study. Students in the steelband class will study Caribbean culture and the history of the steel pan, as well as learning to play corresponding musical styles like calypso, soca and reggae.

Actors Theatre Of Louisville, $50,000: Grant funding will support the Humana Festival of New American Plays, a showcase of new theatrical work featuring American playwrights. The company will produce several full-length plays, multiple 10-minute plays, and a commissioned work to be performed by its Acting Apprentice Company. Outreach activities will include panels and community forums. The event is expected to attract national theater industry professionals from the U.S. and abroad.

Louisville Orchestra, $10,000: Grant funding will support guest artist fees for the Festival of American Music. Created, curated and conducted by music director Teddy Abrams, the festival will feature the orchestra with a variety of guest artists from across the country and encompass a variety of musical genres such as jazz, contemporary popular music, and local music of the Kentuckiana region.

Sarabande Books, Louisville, $35,000: Sarabande plans to publish short fiction collections by authors Amy Gustine, Matthew Null and Randa Jarrar, as well as essay collections by authors Elena Passarello and Shawn Wen. Books will be promoted through readings, panel discussions, and print and online advertisements.

Stage One: The Louisville Children’s Theatre, $25,000: Grant funding will support the world premiere of an adaptation of “Harold and the Purple Crayon,” the classic children’s book by Crockett Johnson. The production will be a multimedia, interdisciplinary experience incorporating music, dance, technology and visual arts. In partnership with the Speed Art Museum, the theater will provide tablet computers to children to draw along with the play’s main character in real time during the performance. Kentucky-based singer and cellist Ben Sollee will perform an original score to match animation and movement.

Appalshop (on behalf of WMMT-FM), Whitesburg, $10,000: Grant funding will support traditional music in coalfield communities, a project of WMMT-FM. Concerts, radio broadcasts of traditional music, and free-of-charge or low-cost music instruction will strengthen the musical traditions of the Appalachian region. The concerts and broadcasts will help recruit students for the classes, where master musicians will offer instruction. Instruments will be provided for those who are unable to afford them. Culminating performances will give students opportunities to demonstrate what they have learned.