The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded $1.47 million to 164 arts organizations through its Challenge America: Community Arts Development program.
Some of the recipients, which are all from inner-city or rural neighborhoods with limited arts resources, will produce theatre activities. The grants, for $5,000 or $10,000, support the development of cultural districts, civic design projects, community cultural plans and new technology to promote the arts to a wider audience.
The recipients include:
— The Foothill Theatre Company, Nevada City, CA, $10,000 to further develop the Sierra Shakespeare Festival.
— Sierra Repertory Theatre, Sonora, CA., $5,000 to produce the premiere of The Christmas Foundling during the holiday season. — Camden Area Players, Inc., St. Marys, GA, $5,000 for renovation of a deteriorated warehouse to be used as a theatre and cultural center.
— Pillsbury House Theatre, Minneapolis, MN, $10,000 to support a partnership to use theatre to address critical issues facing the neighborhood.
— Black Mountain Swannanoa Arts Center, $10,000 to research, write and produce a folk history play, Way Back When: The Story of Black Mountain and the Swannanoa Valley.
The recipients were chosen from 284 applicants requesting over $2.545 million. Coincidentally, the "Challenge America" grants were announced just days after the announcement that the NEA's greatest political foe, North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms, would retire in 2002, at the end of his fifth term. An NEA spokesperson wouldn't comment on Helms except to say that the organization has been "very grateful" for its government support in the past few years.
— By Diane Snyder