By Bernie Petit
Three Charlotte cultural organizations have been awarded Art Works grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in its first fiscal year 2016 funding announcement.
Charlotte Ballet, Children’s Theatre of Charlotte and McColl Center for Art + Innovation will receive the Art Works grants, which focus on the creation of work and presentation of both new and existing work, lifelong learning in the arts, and public engagement with the arts.
- Charlotte Ballet will receive $20,000 to support the creation and presentation of a world premiere ballet by resident choreographer Dwight Rhoden. Drawing from his lifelong passion of American jazz music, Rhoden will use live jazz musicians as collaborators in the creation and performance of the ballet. The work will be presented in separate “sets” representing prominent jazz artists. Rhoden will create the work so that it reflects jazz music, where there is both group interaction by the dancers and individually directed improvisation. The work will be presented at Knight Theater at the Levine Center for the Arts.
- Children’s Theatre of Charlotte will receive $10,000 to support the continued development and production of “Journey to Oz.” Audiences will fully participate in playwright Christopher Parks’ experiential retelling of the iconic story in American culture, “The Wizard of Oz.” The production will be interactive and immersive, allowing the audience to participate in how the story is told.
- McColl Center for Art + Innovation will receive $20,000 to support residencies serving Latino/Hispanic artists. The residents’ work will explore contemporary Latin-American issues, values, and identity. An “artesanos” (makers’ fair) will showcase Latino resident artists – printmakers, muralists, painters, and ceramicists – as well as local artisans and musicians. Artists will also be placed in local communities in order to facilitate cross-cultural exchanges and provide art training.
The combined $50,000 the Charlotte organizations will receive is a portion of the $27.7 million to be given nationally by NEA in its first round of funding. A total of 1,126 grants were announced.
“These projects, from all over the nation, will make a difference in their communities,” said National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu. “We know from experience as well as through hard evidence that the arts matter and these projects will provide more opportunities for people to learn, create, and experience the value of the arts in so many different ways.”