For most of us at the Arts Council, our most frequently asked question is, “What is the Arts Council and what do you do?” The most concise answer is, “we nurture, advocate and celebrate the arts in the community and we support the community in celebrating the arts.”
That’s a pretty short answer for the work it takes to make that happen in all the different ways we accomplish that, so maybe some “for instances” would be in order. For Instance:
When you see our logo on the program of an arts or cultural organization, you can bet the Arts Council supports that group though grants. The Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County has awarded a total of $408,605 in grants to local artists and agencies for 2005-2006.
Operating Support Grants are awarded to local arts agencies whose programs are vital to the cultural life of the community and whose organizations have reached a size and maturity that assure their long-term viability. The purpose of Operating Support Grants is to strengthen and stabilize major arts institutions and help them to deliver high quality arts services to the citizens of Cumberland County. A total of $311,000 was awarded in Operating Support Grants for 2005-2006 to Cape Fear Regional Theatre, Cape Fear Studios, Fayetteville Museum of Art and Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra.
Project Support Grants are awarded to local non-profit agencies who produce programs of artistic merit and who demonstrate financial and administrative stability. The purpose of Project Grants is to recognize and support exemplary forms of artistic expression, both contemporary and traditional, in the visual arts, the performing arts, literature, media arts and the folk arts. The panel awarded a total of $61,105 in Project Support Grants to the following thirteen agencies:
Cumberland County Schools Very Special Arts Festival. This project is an ongoing effort throughout the school year to explore a number of art disciplines and develop one that showcases students’ talents at a public festival. It is open to the schools’ identified disabled population.
Cumberland County Education Foundation Character Education program. This grant assists in providing an Artist in Residence for seventh grade students participating in the Communities in Schools program at Max Abbott Middle School. The program will focus on teaching character education through art, culture and Greek mythology.
Terry Sanford Booster Club. Funding support to premiere a student-made film at the Cameo Art House Theatre and to build a state-of-the-art theatre arts library collection for use by all Terry Sanford High School students and staff.
Fayetteville State University Fine Arts Series received support for the 2005–2006 Lyceum Fine Art Series and the 9th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., celebration concert.
Friends of Music 2005–2006 Series in support of two public concerts during the year.
Cumberland County Schools Indian Education to explore American Indian culture through dance classes for 40 American Indian students who attend Cumberland County Schools.
FTCC Foundation. Support for two theater productions, Oklahoma and Harvey.
Gilbert Theater to support the 2005–2006 season.
Second Missionary Baptist Church. Funding support for a trip to Washington. The money provided access to the minority and economically disadvantaged children in the Old Wilmington Road area, particularly those of color, to the numerous cultural and artistic opportunities in and around America’s capital city.
Dogwood Festival. Support for their Paint the Town project. The money will be used to place three visual artists throughout the street fair, capturing the spirit of the festival. Their creations will be made available to the public through a bidding process.
Seniors Call to Action to provide a series of painting classes for underserved Hispanic and African American senior citizens and visually impaired seniors.
Dogwood Festival received support for a Call for Design & Kidstuff, continuing the festival’s annual logo design competition and children’s design contest used to promote the festival’s children’s area.
Cumberland Oratorio Singers received funding in series support for five concerts during the year 2005–2006.
Community Concert Series in series support for four concerts during the year 2005–2006.
North Carolina Symphony to provide free Education Concerts for fifth grade students in all public, private, military dependent and home schools in Cumberland County.
Fayetteville State University for a production of Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute during July 2006.
Volunteer community grants panelists representing Cumberland County’s diverse population award grants annually in the categories of Operating Support and Project support, as well as for Arts Education and the Regional Artists Program.
Regional Artist Project (RAP) Grants were awarded to fourteen artists from five counties. $16,500 in total RAP Grant funds for 2005-2006 represents a 28 percent increase from the previous year. Four out of the fourteen were fully funded.
The art forms that have been funded are Visual Arts, Video Production, Photography, Literary, Music and Theatre.
Shane Booth from Cumberland County received grant funds for his project which includes photographing cultural traditions using silver based gelatin film and prints.
Stephon Ferguson from Cumberland County received a grant for a project which includes recording and promoting a DVD featuring clips from his Martin Luther King speech.
Dorothy Finiello from Cumberland County was awarded a grant for a project of planning a complete art exhibit with a four-week showing of old and new works.
Donna Olivia Green from Cumberland County was fully funded for a project which includes obtaining copyrights to eleven of her plays.
Janette Hopper from Robeson County was awarded a grant for obtaining materials for new works of art as well as supplies to improve organization of her studio space.
Ken Jackson from Cumberland County was fully funded for a project including participation in a Doug Beasley photographic workshop in Sante Fe, New Mexico.
Jan Johnson and Pat Wright from Cumberland County were awarded a grant. Their project includes documenting the history of the Kistler-Hollstein house in Southeastern North Carolina.
Val Jones Baker from Robeson County was awarded a grant from the Regional Artist Project grant. Her project includes attending a five-day Storytelling Workshop and Conference.
Paul James Joseph from Lee County was awarded a grant. His project includes producing an independent video drama based on an original short story called, The Ultimate Case.
Nirmali Lima from Cumberland County was awarded a grant for a project including attending a portrait painter’s workshop.
Lenore Morales from Hoke County was awarded grant monies for a project including obtaining hardware and software to aid in the production of her CD of children’s music.
Rae Myrl Nicholson from Richmond County was awarded a grant. Her project includes obtaining a loom to further her weaving techniques.
Ramon Rodriguez from Cumberland County was fully funded for a project which includes obtaining a kiln and accessories to further his sculpting techniques.
Jerry Daniel Taylor from Cumberland County was fully funded. His project includes producing an independent film entitled Doorways.
The new major projects grant category is reserved for one-time, non-recurring projects with major community impact that leave a lasting legacy and encourage and promote tourism in the region. Only one project each year receives an award in this category.
The 2005–2006 award went to the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee in the amount of $20,000 to help fund the commissioning of an artist to design and construct a statue in the image of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
We’ve not yet covered the Arts Council’s Artists in Schools Grants Program, but we’ll get to it in future issues.
As I write this I am grateful for the artful things we have in our community and in the entire region served by the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County. The organizations and individuals who receive funding are able to continue to bring us the arts, something that helps to make the Arts Council a shining star in these parts.
But our brightest stars are our members. Membership in The Arts Council helps make these wonderful grant programs available in our community. To learn more, visit The Arts Council at www.TheArtsCouncil.com.
Lynda Wendy Riddle is the Public Relations Director, Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County