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Jason Rapp

SCAC receives 2020 NEA funding

$864k grant supports agency's work


As a part of its regular grantmaking, the National Endowment for the Arts announces over $84 million for 1,144 new awards to organizations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and each of the five U.S. territories.

Grants will be awarded in 13 artistic disciplines, arts research, and partnership agreements with all U.S. state and regional arts agencies. They are separate from the NEA's grants related to CARES Act funding. In support of its work in arts education, artist development, and community arts development, the South Carolina Arts Commission, as a state arts agency, is receiving $864,000. In total, $1,006,500 is coming to South Carolina in this round. Other groups receiving funds are the College of Charleston, Columbia Film Society (2 awards), and The Watering Hole Poetry Org. Applications for these recommended grants were submitted to the Arts Endowment last summer and reflected the wide range of performances, exhibitions, and activities that the agency has traditionally funded. At the end of March 2020, the listed projects were approved, followed by two months of extensive technical assistance in which agency staff worked one-on-one with hundreds of organizations to adjust their projects to meet the new reality created by the pandemic. Changes include postponing activities and taking activities virtual as the examples below illustrate. As a result of this plus additional work related to the CARES Act, project descriptions are not being included in the grant lists accompanying this announcement. The most current information for all projects will be available on the agency’s grant search tool. “These awards demonstrate the continued creativity and excellence of arts projects across America and the nimbleness of our nation’s arts organizations in the face of a national crisis that shuttered their doors for months” said Mary Anne Carter, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. “By funding arts projects in every U.S. state, territory, and the District of Columbia, the National Endowment for the Arts again celebrates the opportunity to make the arts available to every corner of the country and to see how the arts can heal and unite us.” Grants this round support a range of activities, including:
  • Arhoolie Foundation in El Cerrito, California is recommended for a $25,000 award to support enhancements of the organization’s website which will serve as a publicly available virtual museum honoring America’s diverse musical roots.
  • Miami Dade College will use their $25,000 grant to support Generation Genius, a literacy and learning initiative designed to engage youth of all ages in learning through reading and writing. Miami Book Fair will conduct fall 2020 activities virtually and are investing in significant new technology infrastructure to build online programming.
  • Art Mobile of Montana in Dillon is recommended for a $20,000 award to support a traveling exhibition and visual arts education program featuring original works by Montana artists. The program will provide resources for teachers in schools throughout the state with a focus on rural locations, including Native American reservations.
  • Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts in Vienna, Virginia will use their $65,000 award to support professional training programs for singers and opera performances. The summer residency will include career development seminars, voice lesson, language coaching, and more. Young artists will perform for virtual audiences in summer 2020.
  • Sunflower Music Festival in Topeka, Kansas is recommended for a $20,000 award to support their festival celebrating the centennial of the passage of the 19th Amendment. Rather than moving to a virtual platform, the festival is postponed until summer 2021.
  • Alliance for Media Arts + Culture in Spokane, WA is recommended for a $30,000 award to support the development of a suite of online professional resources as part of Arts2Work, an apprenticeship and workforce development program for media artists.
  • Transart & Cultural Services in New Paltz, New York is recommended for a $50,000 Our Town award to support the Kingston Pinkster Festival, a virtual festival celebrating African-American history, arts, and culture in the Hudson Valley region. The festival will engage residents by integrating arts and culture into strategies for addressing challenging local issues.
  • Polk County Iowa in Des Moines is recommended for a $125,000 Our Town award to support Shoreline Signals, a series of public art installations along the Central Iowa Water Trails System at the confluence of the Raccoon and Des Moines Rivers. The initiative will engage residents of Des Moines in flood resiliency as well as water safety and access issues.
Grants in four funding categories are recommended this round, including Art Works, Our Town, Research Grants in the Arts, and State and Regional Partnerships. All current grants and project details can be viewed through the Arts Endowment’s recent grant search.

Art Works II: 1015 awards totaling $25,334,900

Art Works grants support artistically excellent projects that celebrate our creativity and cultural heritage, invite mutual respect for differing beliefs and values, and enrich humanity. For fiscal year 2020, the Arts Endowment encouraged applications that honor the Women’s Suffrage Centennial. Matching grants generally range from $10,000 to $100,000.

Our Town: 51 awards totaling $3,643,000

Our Town is the National Endowment for the Arts’ creative placemaking grants program. This year marks the tenth year of support for Our Town projects that integrate arts, culture, and design activities into efforts that strengthen communities by advancing local economic, physical, and/or social outcomes. Matching grants range from $25,000 to $150,000. The National Endowment for the Arts advances creative placemaking efforts through publications and resource development in addition to funding. Visit the Arts Endowment’s Creative Placemaking Resources page for details.

Research Grants in the Arts: 14 awards totaling $780,000

Research Grants in the Arts support research that investigates the value and/or impact of the arts, either as individual components of the U.S. arts ecology or as they interact with each other and/or with other domains of American life. Matching grants range from $10,000 to $100,000.

State and Regional Partnership Agreements: 64 awards totaling $54,296,000

Each year, the National Endowment for the Arts designates 40 percent of its grant-making budget to the state and regional arts organization through partnership agreements. Grants are awarded to the nation’s 56 state and territorial arts agencies and the six regional arts organizations. This funding enables these agencies and organizations to respond to priorities identified through public planning undertaken with their constituents, partners, and stakeholder as well as Arts Endowment objectives. It is from this category that the South Carolina Arts Commission's allocation came.
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. Visit arts.gov to learn more.

South Arts awards literary arts grants to three SC organizations

South ArtsSouth Arts, a Regional Arts Organization serving nine states in the Southeast, has announced $20,586 in grants to 14 literary arts presenting organizations throughout the region. These grants, made possible through funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, support organizations presenting out-of-state writers for public readings and educational activities. Three South Carolina organizations received funding:

  • The Poetry Society of South Carolina in Charleston received a $445 Literary Arts grant to present Dr. Bruce Weigl.
  • Peace Center Foundation of Greenville received a $1,963 Literary Arts grant to present Project Voice featuring Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye.
  • The Watering Hole Poetry Organization of York received a $2,044 Literary Arts grant to present E. Shockley, L. Wilson, B. Judd and  S. Strange.
“Thriving arts and culture are crucial to our region’s quality of life and competitiveness across multiple sectors,” explained South Arts executive director Susie Surkamer. “The events we help fund impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of residents, exposing audiences to diverse artists and artforms.” The grants cover the nine states in the South Arts region: including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Organizations applied in the spring, and were recently notified of their status; grants are matched at least dollar for dollar by the recipient organization. “Literature has always been such an important part of the South,” continued Surkamer. “South Arts is proud to be able to facilitate audiences being able to experience the spoken word. Our literary arts grants will introduce audiences to southern writers and poets such as Jamie Quatro, Clare Beams, and the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry recipient Natasha Trethewey.” A full list of South Arts’ grant recipients and programs is available at www.southarts.org. Organizations interested in applying for the next grant cycle are recommended to sign up for South Arts’ email list and continue to visit the website. About South Arts South Arts, a 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 address the role of the arts in impacting the issues important to our region, and to link the South with the nation and the world through the arts. For more information, visit www.southarts.org.

The Watering Hole: an online community dedicated to poets of color

Writing can be isolating. Creative writers can go months without having a conversation with another writer. Being a poet of color compounds this artistic scarcity. The Watering Hole, a budding grassroots poetry organization, is working to alleviate this isolation by using the Internet to connect poets of color -- whether emerging or established. Nearly 200 members have joined in just one year. The Watering Hole uses their Facebook group as a free online forum for poets to meet, form community, and engage with one another. The organization hosts online master classes so that poets who want to learn in a class format can do so without finding babysitters, buying airfare, or planning a hotel stay. Watering Hole retreat For those who enjoy face-to-face interaction, The Watering Hole will host its second annual winter retreat from Dec. 26 - 30, at Santee State Park in Santee, S.C. Last December, more than 33 minority poets from across the nation gathered in the park's cabins overlooking Lake Marion (pictured right). Written and spoken word artists and lyricists sat at the same table to delve into poetic craft with facilitators Tyehimba Jess, Remica L. Bingham-Risher, and Lita Hooper. Classes are held in living rooms to recreate the atmosphere of the down-home sit-downs that black arts writer Toni Cade Bambara hosted in her own living room. The Watering Hole is focused on offering affordable services that are accessible for any income level. Thousand dollar price tags too often exclude talented poets from similar opportunities. Instead, for only $198, poets can attend the retreat for five days and four nights and interact with NAACP Image Award winner and Kentucky Poet Laureate Frank X. Walker, two-time National Slam Champion Roger Bonair-Agard, and African Voices poetry editor Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie. The organization is also working toward federal nonprofit status, and by October 31, must raise $5,000 to apply for nonprofit status and to offset the cost for participants at the upcoming retreat. The community support from an IndieGogo campaign is what enables The Watering Hole to provide affordable, accessible poetry opportunities for poets at all income levels and alleviate some of the artistic isolation that writers experience. To learn more about The Watering Hole and how to apply for the retreat, visit twhpoetry.wordpress.com, email twhpoetry@gmail.com  or check out this retreat promotion video. To donate, check out the group's IndieGogo page: TWH Hosts Poetry Retreat and Goes Non-Profit. Via: The Watering Hole