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South Arts announces inaugural Southern Cultural Treasures cohort

The initiative funds 17 BIPOC arts organizations across the Southeastern region with $6 million

South Arts is pleased to announce the Southern Cultural Treasures: a $6,000,000, four-year initiative supporting Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) -led and -serving arts and cultural organizations throughout the Southeast.

[caption id="attachment_45781" align="alignright" width="301"]Select works of pottery by the Catawba Nation displayed on billowy fabric Pottery from the Catawba Nation.[/caption] This initial cohort is made up of 17 organizations that represent BIPOC arts and community-driven stewardship throughout the nine-state region that includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. “South Arts is honored to recognize and support these 17 organizations as Southern Cultural Treasures,” said South Arts’ President and CEO Susie Surkamer. “These groups push the boundaries of creative expression, anchor their local communities, and advance the arts in our nine state region. Our hope is that this initiative, with the help of these organizations, will foster a more equitable art community throughout the Southeastern region.” South Arts first announced the Southern Cultural Treasures program in the fall of 2021. It complements the Ford Foundation’s America’s Cultural Treasures initiative, which aims to acknowledge and honor the diversity of artistic expression and excellence in America and provide critical funding to organizations that have made a significant impact on America’s cultural landscape. "We are thrilled to partner with South Arts and honor these seventeen cultural institutions and their contributions to the regional landscape," said Lane Harwell, program officer for creativity and free expression at the Ford Foundation. "We hope this investment will inspire more funders and patrons to support the diversity of arts organizations and expressions in the American South." Organizations throughout the nine-state region were given the opportunity to submit a letter of intent in late 2021. After review, those most closely aligned with the program goals were invited to complete a full application that went through a pair of national reviews before undergoing an interview process with South Arts’ leadership. These 17 exceptional nonprofits were chosen for their vital impact on their communities and helping to both define and preserve the uniqueness of the arts ecosystem in the region. Among the 17 Southern Cultural Treasures are two South Carolina-based organizations: the Catawba Indian Nation in Rock Hill and Colour of Music, Inc. of Mount Pleasant. The remaining 15 groups are:
  • Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, Inc. of Birmingham
  • Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator of Miami
  • Teatro Avante of Miami
  • Art2Action Inc. of Tampa
  • Deep Center, Inc. of Savannah
  • Otis Redding Foundation of Macon
  • True Colors Theatre Company of Atlanta
  • Ballethnic Dance Company Inc. of East Point, Georgia
  • Asia Institute, Inc. of Louisville, Kentucky
  • Junebug Productions, Inc. of New Orleans
  • Efforts of Grace, Inc. of New Orleans
  • Mississippi Center for Cultural Production in Utica
  • B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center of Indianola, Mississippi
  • JazzArts Charlotte
  • Collage Dance Collective of Memphis
The 17 Southern Cultural Treasures were chosen after completing a vigorous application and interview process. “These organizations make up a dynamic representation not only of their region and their communities, but also the burgeoning desire to grow and serve the cultural landscape of the South,” said Joy Young, Ph.D., South Arts’ vice president of programs. “Our duty at South Arts is to continue advocating for this kind of instrumental support, and we are confident that this cohort of Southern Cultural Treasures will help inspire these pursuits on a national scale.” The program is expected to run through March 2025 and provide each organization with up to $300,000 of general operating grants distributed over three years, an additional project grant of up to $7,500, customized consultant services, networking, cohort building, and knowledge sharing. Southern Cultural Treasures is designed to be a measure of sustainable support. By providing BIPOC-led and -serving organizations with tools and framework to establish their own agency and institutional narratives, the initiative encourages growth throughout the South—not only in the context of the arts, but also in the impact of surrounding communities as well. “The Southern Cultural Treasures program is a testament to the creative excellence and resilience of artists and creative practitioners across the South,” said South Arts Board Chair Neil Barclay. “Through this initiative, the 17 selected organizations are not only representing their local artists and communities but also the cultural pulse of their nine states.” South Arts’ Southern Cultural Treasures is supported by the Ford Foundation, with additional support from the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, the Infusion Fund, a partnership between the City of Charlotte, Foundation For The Carolinas and generous donors to support the arts and cultural sector, and the Zeist Foundation. Please contact South Arts if you would like more information about opportunities to match this investment in select communities.
South Arts advances Southern vitality through the arts. The nonprofit regional arts organization was founded in 1975 to build on the South’s unique heritage and enhance the public value of the arts. South Arts’ work responds to the arts environment and cultural trends with a regional perspective. South Arts offers an annual portfolio of activities designed to support the success of artists and arts providers in the South, address the needs of Southern communities through impactful arts-based programs, and celebrate the excellence, innovation, value and power of the arts of the South. For more information, visit www.southarts.org.  

Jason Rapp

Colour of Music Festival returns next weekend

Octet readies for NYC debut

The Colour of Music Festival will return to Mount Pleasant at I’On Village Chapel, Saturday, May 21, 2022, at 7:30 p.m. for a special performance showcasing leading Black classical artists.

German-born violinist Anyango Yarbo-Davenport will be featured as part of an evening of duos and quartets in I’On’s picturesque village community east of the Cooper. The evening will include a duo for violin and viola by John Halvorsen, Zoltán Kodály’s Duo for Violin and Cello Op. 7 and works by two black composers―Valerie Coleman’s Umoja for String Quartet and Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson’s String Quartet No. I “Calvary,"―to honor the many black communities surrounded by the Mount Pleasant and Awendaw communities. Since 2013, the Colour of Music Festival offers a musical kaleidoscope highlighting the impact and historical significance of Black classical composers and performers on American and world culture. The Colour of Music Festival began with performances at various venues throughout historic Charleston and has grown to debut at leading collegiate venues and performance halls across the U.S. This summer, it adds New York to its list of stops when the Colour of Music Festival Octet debuts at Carnegie Hall. “Dating back to 2014, the Colour of Music Festival was among several music entities that inaugurated the I’ON Village Concert Series. I am elated to produce what I hope will be many more events in partnership with the I’ON Trust whose mission is to bring the I’ON Village and surrounding communities together through music,” said Lee Pringle, Colour of Music Festival founder, artistic director, and community resident. I’On Chapel Mount Pleasant | Colour of Music Festival Quartet
  • Saturday, May 21, 2022, 7:30 p.m.
  • 352 North Shelmore Blvd, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
  • Tickets: $35 adult; $25 senior; $15 student (general admission seating)
    • Online: www.colourofmusic.org
    • by phone 888.512.9835 Monday-Saturday 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sunday 9 a.m.-8 p.m. ET
PLEASE NOTE COVID-19 PATRON ADVISORY: Mask are recommended. If not in the possession of one, patrons will be issued KN95 mask to be worn throughout the performance. The Colour of Music Festival gratefully acknowledges the support of the National Endowment for the Arts.

About the Colour of Music Festival

Based in Charleston, South Carolina and organized in 2013, the Colour of Music Festival, Inc. presents a diverse classical repertoire of baroque, classical and 20th century music at the highest of musical standards to diverse audiences throughout the Lowcountry, regionally, and nationally. The festival has also presented performances in Washington; Atlanta; Houston; Nashville; Richmond; Pittsburgh; Sacramento, California; and Tulsa, Oklahoma. www.colourofmusic.org
Main image by PIRO4D from Pixabay

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NEA announces $57 million in American Rescue Plan grants

567 arts organizations benefit, including five in S.C.

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) today announced it has recommended American Rescue Plan (ARP) awards totaling $57,750,000 to 567 arts organizations to help the arts and cultural sector recover from the pandemic.

The organizations may use this funding to save jobs, and to fund operations and facilities, health and safety supplies, and marketing and promotional efforts to encourage attendance and participation. The full list of recommended awards, sorted by city/state, is available from arts.gov. “Our nation’s arts sector has been among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Endowment for the Arts’ American Rescue Plan funding will help arts organizations rebuild and reopen,” said Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson, chair of the NEA. “The arts are crucial to helping America’s communities heal, unite, and inspire as well as essential to our nation’s economic recovery.” Grants are recommended to organizations in both rural and urban communities; in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Washington, DC; and represent all 15 of the NEA’s artistic disciplines. The NEA encouraged applications from a variety of organizations for this opportunity and provided numerous resources for navigating the application process. Among the recommended organizations, 27 percent are first-time NEA grantees and 78 percent are small or medium sized organizations with budgets of less than $2 million. [caption id="attachment_14408" align="alignright" width="250"]Catawba potter Keith Brown works on a project. Catawba potter Keith Brown works on a project in this file photo.[/caption] Grant award recommendations are for $50,000, $100,000, or $150,000 and do not require cost share/matching funds. In South Carolina, five organizations are recommended for the awards:
  1. Beaufort County Black Chamber of Commerce: $150,000
  2. Greenville Light Opera Works: $50,000
  3. Hampton County: $150,000
  4. Colour of Music, Inc.: $150,000
  5. Catawba Indian Nation: $150,000
The American Rescue Plan was signed into law in March 2021 and included $135 million for the National Endowment for the Arts for the arts sector. This is the third installment of ARP funding. In April 2021, the NEA announced $52 million (40 percent) in ARP funding would be allocated to 62 state, jurisdictional, and regional arts organizations for subgranting through their respective programs. In November 2021, the NEA announced $20.2 million to 66 local arts agencies for subgranting to local artists and art organizations. The National Endowment for the Arts received more than 7,500 eligible applications requesting $695 million. To review the applications, the agency employed more than 450 expert readers and panelists to review and score each application using the published review criteria. The NEA recognizes that the financial needs of the arts and culture field far outweigh the available funds that will be awarded through these programs and encourages eligible organizations to explore the agency’s other grant opportunities which can be found on arts.gov.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. To learn more, visit arts.gov or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Jason Rapp

$195,000 in NEA project support announced for S.C.

Six S.C. organizations benefit

Six organizations from South Carolina in Aiken, the Charleston area, and Spartanburg were announced among the recipients of $33 million in nationwide arts project funding from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) today.

A total of $195,000 is being spread among:
  • the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston ($85,000 for research grants in the arts)
  • Spoleto Festival USA, Charleston ($55,000 for presenting and multidisciplinary works)
  • Colour of Music, Inc.; Mount Pleasant ($20,000 for music projects)
  • Charleston Jazz, North Charleston ($15,000 for music projects)
  • the Aiken Symphony, Aiken ($10,000 for a Challenge America grant)
  • Hub City Writers Project, Spartanburg ($10,000 for literary projects)
The awards are part of the NEA's first round of recommended awards for fiscal year 2022, with 1,498 awards totaling nearly $33.2 million. Grants for Arts Projects funding spans 15 artistic disciplines and reaches communities in every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Recipients of the Challenge America grant program, NEA Literature Fellowships in creative writing and translation, and support for arts research projects are also included in this announcement. “These National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grants underscore the resilience of our nation’s artists and arts organizations, will support efforts to provide access to the arts, and rebuild the creative economy,” said NEA Acting Chair Ann Eilers. “The supported projects demonstrate how the arts are a source of strength and well-being for communities and individuals, and can open doors to conversations that address complex issues of our time.” The NEA is committed to equity, access, and fostering mutual respect for the diverse beliefs and values of all individuals and groups. Applications for funding demonstrated a commitment by the arts and culture sector to provide more equitable and accessible pathways for arts engagement.

About the grants

Grants for Arts Projects Grants for Arts Projects (GAP) awards reach communities in all parts of the country, large and small, and with diverse cultural and economic backgrounds. There are 1,248 organizations recommended to receive cost share/matching grants ranging from $10,000 to $100,000 for a total of $28,840,000. These awards represent 15 artistic disciplines/fields: Artist Communities, Arts Education, Dance, Design, Folk & Traditional Arts, Literary Arts, Local Arts Agencies, Media Arts, Museums, Music, Musical Theater, Opera, Presenting & Multidisciplinary Works, Theater, and Visual Arts. Applications were received in February 2021 from 1,879 eligible organizations requesting more than $92 million in support. Take note: The next Grants for Arts Projects application deadlines are Thursday, February 10, 2022, and Thursday, July 7, 2022. Visit arts.gov for guidelines and application resources and register for a Grants for Arts Projects guidelines webinar on Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022, from 3-4 p.m. Challenge America Challenge America grants offer support primarily to small and mid-sized organizations for projects that extend the reach of the arts to populations that have limited access to the arts due to geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability. There are 168 organizations recommended in this funding category for a total of $1,680,000. Each grant is for $10,000 and requires a minimum $10,000 cost share/match. Take note: The next Challenge America application deadline is Thursday, April 21, 2022. Visit arts.gov for guidelines and application resources and register for a Challenge America guidelines webinar on Tuesday, March 1, 2022, from 3-4 p.m. Literature Fellowships The National Endowment for the Arts will award $1.2 million in FY 2021 Literature Fellowships to creative writers and translators:
  • This includes 35 Creative Writing Fellowships of $25,000 each. These FY 2022 fellowships are in prose and enable the recipients to set aside time for writing, research, travel, and general career development.
  • The NEA approved fellowships to 24 translators ranging from $10,000 to $20,000 to translate works from 16 languages and 18 countries into English.
Learn more about these fellowships. Take note: The next deadline for Creative Writing Fellowships is Thursday, March 10, 2022. In 2022, the NEA is accepting applications in poetry. Research Awards The National Endowment for the Arts offers two funding opportunities to support arts research projects:
  • Through Research Grants in the Arts, 18 organizations are recommended for a total of $815,000. This program funds research studies that analyze the value and/or impact of the arts.
  • Five NEA Research Labs are recommended for funding totaling $648,784. Transdisciplinary research partnerships grounded in the social and behavioral sciences will examine and report on the benefit of the arts in non-arts sectors.
Learn more about these recommended arts research awards. The next Research Awards application deadline is Tuesday, March 29, 2022. Guidelines and application resources will be posted soon at arts.govRegister for a Research guidelines webinar on February 9, 2022, at 2 p.m. All of the recommended grants in this announcement were evaluated through the agency’s panel review process. First, applications are submitted for consideration to the agency and staff review them for eligibility and completeness. A panel of experts with knowledge and experience in their respective field then review and score each application in accordance with the published review criteria. Recommendations are then made to the National Council on the Arts. The council makes recommendations to the chair, who makes the final decision on all grant awards. The NEA assembles diverse panels every year with regard to geography, race and ethnicity, and artistic points of view. Learn more about the grant review process or volunteer to be a panelist.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. To learn more, visit arts.gov or follow us on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and YouTube.

Jason Rapp

South Arts awards arts orgs $1.67 million in Resilience Funding

Three awarded in South Carolina


Investing in the long-term success and strength of arts and cultural infrastructure is core to the South Arts Resilience Fund.

With grants ranging from $30,000 to $100,000, 34 small- and mid-sized arts organizations across the region are receiving a total of $1.674 million to build their resilience through and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. This fund, managed by South Arts, is part of the United States Regional Arts Resilience Fund supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. “These organizations represent a cross-section of the creativity vital to our region,” said Susie Surkamer, CEO and president of South Arts. “Their work impacts artists and audiences across their respective states, the region, and the nation. These awards will allow them to reimagine their work in the face of the pandemic, and emerge stronger than before.” Some highlights of the funded organizations and projects include:
  • Junebug Productions of New Orleans will receive $30,000 to build new revenue streams through the creation of a Junebug Digital Platform as a digital extension of story-sharing as well as an expansion of their fundraising capacity.
  • Appalshop of Whitesburg, Kentucky will receive $100,000 to expand their capacity to provide online content and engage in racial equity planning to analyze their work and policies. Additional funds will convert their facility to renewable energy sources.
  • Collage Dance Collective of Memphis, Tennessee will receive $55,000 to support televised broadcasts of their season as well as a reimagination of their membership program to be more inclusive and robust while increasing revenue.
In June, nearly 500 arts organizations from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee were nominated for consideration by themselves and leaders in the field. Of those nominees, 95 were invited to complete a full application and proposal. The applications were then reviewed by panels of experts, who adjudicated each organization based on criteria including impact, vision, geographic scope, and service to the underserved. Three organizations in South Carolina were selected for awards:
  • Colour of Music Festival (Mount Pleasant) $35,900
  • Hub City Writers Project (Spartanburg) $30,000
  • Spoleto Festival USA (Charleston) $50,000
In contrast to funds dealing with the immediate needs of organizations during the pandemic, the South Arts Resilience Fund asked organizations to look further toward the future. “These are unprecedented times and we are glad to provide arts organizations the flexibility and resources to explore their work,” continued Surkamer. “The strategies for resilience look different for each organization, but the ultimate goal is almost always the same: create deeper, more meaningful connections with audiences while working towards long-term sustainability.” The South Arts Resilience Fund is part of South Arts’ comprehensive approach to supporting the arts throughout the pandemic. In April, South Arts distributed 450 grants of $1,000 directly to jazz artists nationwide. Throughout the summer, South Arts also awarded $725,000 in CARES Act funding to arts organizations supporting employment of their workers with an emphasis on rural, culturally specific, and statewide service organizations. Additionally, South Arts has adjusted their other programs to reflect new priorities over the course of the pandemic. A full list of South Arts Resilience Fund recipients as well as information about all other South Arts programs is available by visiting www.southarts.org.

About South Arts

South Arts advances Southern vitality through the arts. The nonprofit regional arts organization was founded in 1975 to build on the South’s unique heritage and enhance the public value of the arts. South Arts’ work responds to the arts environment and cultural trends with a regional perspective. South Arts offers an annual portfolio of activities designed to support the success of artists and arts providers in the South, address the needs of Southern communities through impactful arts-based programs, and celebrate the excellence, innovation, value and power of the arts of the South. For more information, visit www.southarts.org.

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The show must go on – Charleston’s Colour of Music Festival to open as scheduled

Note: The Colour of Music Festival receives a General Operating Support grant from the South Carolina Arts Commission. Adieu, Matthew. Charleston's five-day Colour of Music Festival will open as scheduled Oct. 19, despite Hurricane Matthew's visit and the aftermath. The 2016 festival runs through October 23 at various venues throughout historic Charleston. “This is the second year the festival has opened two weeks after a tropical storm or hurricane, and our organizers, the City of Charleston’s Office of the Mayor, Office of Cultural Affairs, Charleston Area Visitor and Convention Bureau and Gaillard Center management are notifying locals and visitors alike that Charleston is ready to welcome them – we are very appreciative of how everyone is helping us get the word out,” says Lee Pringle, festival founder and producer. Now in its fourth year, the Colour of Music Festival presents a musical kaleidoscope of black classical composers, performers, and artists from across the globe and offers symposiums, organ and piano recitals, vocal recitals, a chamber series, an evening Masterworks series and a gala. Acclaimed black chamber ensemble players and artists from Canada, France, Britain, Colombia, the Caribbean and other locations form the Masterwork Series’ Colour of Music Festival Orchestra. Internationally renowned conductor Marlon Daniel will again serve as festival music director with leading black maestros serving as guest conductors to lead the orchestra. The festival's motif, All Things French (Toutes Les Choses Françaises) is highlighted with the début of African-French composer Chevalier de Saint Georges’ only discovered opera, The Anonymous Lover, featuring Magali Léger, native of Saint Georges' birthplace, the Isle of Guadeloupe. Find the complete schedule and ticket information online. About the Colour of Music Festival Based in Charleston, South Carolina and organized in 2013, the Colour of Music Festival, Inc. presents a diverse classical repertoire of baroque, classical and 20th century music at the highest of musical standards to diverse audiences throughout the Lowcountry, regionally and nationally. www.colourofmusic.org

Colour of Music Festival celebrates black classical musicians

The Charleston Symphony Orchestra Spiritual Ensemble, in association with Buster-Elsie Productions, is pleased to announce the Colour of Music Festival, a five-day all-black classical musicians festival featuring black musicians, vocalists, and orchestra leaders performing piano, organ, and voice recitals, chamber ensembles and orchestra and a newly formed Colour of Music Chorale. More than 20 performances will showcase the breadth and influence of blacks on the classical music world past and present, including work by acclaimed composers such as William Grant Still (pictured above) and George Walker, who received the Pulitzer Prize for music in 1996. The festival runs Oct. 23-27 with events scheduled throughout the day and evening at a variety of Charleston venues including churches and theatres. Visit the Colour of Music website for a complete schedule and ticket information. Chevalier de Saint-GeorgeFew classical music enthusiasts are aware of the contributions of an African-French composer, Joseph Boulogne, also known as Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges (pictured left). Preceding Mozart by 11 years, Saint-Georges composed four operas and many mid-18th century works on par with or exceeding his contemporaries. His compositions are known around the world but garner little notice in the United States. For years, black classically trained voice professionals have made enormous strides beginning with Marian Anderson’s groundbreaking 1955 debut at the Metropolitan Opera. Leontyne Price, Jessye Norman, Kathleen Battle, Denyce Graves and many others have followed, showcasing the “colour” of voice. On the orchestral stage, however, the prevalence of black classically trained instrumentalists in America lags behind their vocal counterparts. Within the U.S. military, the corporate world, professional sports and politics, black Americans have moved beyond the boundaries that held back their ancestors. Yet today, only on rare occasions does a black conductor, concertmaster or principal classical musician grace the concert stage of a major American city or regional orchestra. Join in this celebration of the enormous contributions these talented musicians have offered the world! Via: Charleston Symphony Orchestra Spiritual Ensemble