Berkshire Creative Economy gets infusion of NEA Art Works money
by Larry Murray
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has been leaderless ever since Rocco Landesman resigned as chairman some 13 months ago, and while the agency has faced strong opposition from the Tea Party and Libertarians, and has been a favorite whipping boy of the religious right, it has survived. In fact it just announced that 895 new grants will be made nationwide, for a total of $23.4 million dollars. A nice portion of that will reach an amazing variety of New England based organizations, some right here in the Berkshires. A full list appears following this introduction.
The Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa announced this latest round of NEA Art Works grants. Noteworthy in the theatre category are Barrington Stage Company of Pitsfield, ($10,000), who along with American Repertory Theatre of Cambridge ($85,000), Huntington Theatre Company of Boston ($25,000), Hartford Stage ($15,000) and Trinity Rep of Providence, RI ($10,000) will match the funds and use the NEA grant as leverage for moving new plays forward.
In the case of Barrington Stage, the grant supports Dancing Lessons by Mark St. Germain (August 7 – 24, 2014), a play about a man with Asperger’s Syndrome who forms a relationship with an injured dancer (who does not have Asperger’s), allowing both to experience each other’s world. During the run of Dancing Lessons, BSC will engage audiences through special discussions and lectures on Asperger’s and Autism Spectrum conducted in partnership with community organizations such as the College Internship Program, whose main office is in Pittsfield, MA.
The A.R.T. support is for Matt Gould and Griffin Matthews’ world premiere musical Witness Uganda, directed by A.R.T. Artistic Director Diane Paulus. Inspired by a true story, this production exposes the challenges confronted by American aid workers around the world and explores the question: “Is changing the world possible?”
Each of the projects included in this round of support is fascinating, and will directly contribute to the vibrancy of the arts in America.
Competition for these grants was intense. The NEA reports that it received 1,528 eligible Art Works applications, requesting more than $75 million in funding. Grant amounts range from $10,000 to $100,000 with an average grant amount of $26,154. In that strange language that makes up the fundraising world, Art Works grants support the creation of “Art that meets the highest standards of excellence: public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and enhancing the livability of communities through the arts.” The Art Works grant program supports projects in 13 artistic disciplines. All grants require the recipient to match the award dollar for dollar with contributions from their own supporters.
More Berkshire Recipients
Of the 71 New England grants, many make their home in the cultural Berkshires. They include Jacob’s Pillow in Becket ($80,000), Orion Society of Great Barrington ($40,000), Tupelo Press of North Adams ($20,000), Mass MoCA of North Adams ($35,000), BSO at Tanglewood in Lenox, MA ($75,000), and the aforementioned Barrington Stage Company of Pittsfield ($10,000).
Still no leader at the NEA
Perhaps it is not time for President Obama to bring the controversial NEA into the Congressional appointment picture. But he has known for several years that Landesman was going to leave at the end of his first term. That makes this lack of a permanent leader and advocate at the arts agency critical. It comes at a time when the NEA’s budget is once again under heavy attack by budget cutters and those who want the federal agency eliminated altogether. And to a large extent it appears that the arts are not being included in the economic recovery, but just treading water. Still, we are happy to see that the grant-making process continues.
While there are other grantmaking programs at the NEA, the Art Works grants are especially important since they largely support the creation of new works by living artists. The complete list of New England grants and the initiatives they will support in the coming year are:
Alliance of Artists Communities
$40,000 Providence, RI To support the research and publication of “Artist Residencies and Social Practice.” This study will focus on artist residencies supporting social practice artists and how they engage communities.
Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown
$15,000 Provincetown, MA To support a fellowship program for emerging artists and writers and related activities. Fine Arts Work Center will provide living accommodations, studios, and monthly stipends to writers and visual artists.
$30,000 Peterborough, NH To support residencies for artists and related activities. Artists new to MacDowell will receive funded residencies.
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture
$25,000 Madison, ME To support artist residencies and related activities. Emerging artists will attend a nine-week summer visual arts residency and receive mentorship from established artists.
Vermont Studio Center
$15,000 Johnson, VT To support artist residencies and related activities. Artists and writers will receive room, board, and unlimited access to studios and other resources.
Boston Children’s Chorus
$22,000 Boston, MA To support the Premier Choir and Young Men’s Ensemble, providing rigorous vocal music training for high school youth. Young singers are trained by professional musicians year-round in music theory and choral performance, and are provided opportunities to perform, tour, record, and work with guest conductors and composers premiering commissioned works. The Premier Choir and Young Men’s Ensemble are the Boston Children’s Chorus’ highest level choirs.
$28,000 Boston, MA To support high school students participation in the Young Artists Orchestra and Young Artists Wind Ensemble as part of the Tanglewood Institute. Tanglewood Institute is an intensive, residential summer music program in Lenox, Massachusetts, for instrumental music students. Participation in these two ensembles provides students with opportunities for individual practice, chamber music experiences, large ensemble rehearsal and performance, private lessons, and master class participation. The Orchestra and the Wind Ensemble perform full concerts in Seiji Ozawa Hall on the main Tanglewood grounds.
Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras
$30,000 Boston, MA To support the Intensive Community Program, a string instrument training program serving inner-city youth. The program offers young elementary-aged children with no previous musical training weekly music lessons, ensemble classes, instrument rentals, and performance opportunities. The purpose of the program is to provide musical training from professional musicians to students who may not otherwise have access, enabling them after two to three years of intensive study to pass the audition into the youth symphony’s entry level orchestra.
Capitol Region Education Council (aka CREC’s CCY)
$30,000 Hartford, CT To support Center for Creative Youth. The program is a pre-professional intensive summer arts residency program for talented high school students from throughout the nation on the campus of Wesleyan University. Students may choose to study creative writing, dance, filmmaking, instrumental and vocal music, musical theater, photography, theater, and visual arts with professional resident arts instructors and guest artists. They enroll in one morning class in a specific art form and in various afternoon interdisciplinary arts classes, studying alongside students from different majors. All students work in full group sessions, small ensembles, and experience individualized coaching and instruction. Culminating performances and exhibitions are presented for the student body, families, and the public in the Wesleyan University galleries and professional performance spaces.
New Urban Arts
$15,000 Providence, RI To support the Youth Mentorship in the Arts program and the Summer Art Inquiry program for teens. Under the mentorship of professional artists in the community, youth will display work through multiple platforms including gallery exhibitions, student publications, fashion shows, and social media.
Partners for Youth with Disabilities
$23,000 Boston, MA To support Access to Theater, a year-round after-school and summer performing arts program. Professional artists will provide workshops, special events, classes, and leadership opportunities for youth with and without disabilities. Guest and resident artists with and without disabilities will teach theatrical improvisation, acting techniques, expressive movement, instrumental and vocal music, and costume and prop design to youth.
$33,000 Boston, MA To support the Preparatory and Pre-College divisions of the Project STEP string instrument training program. Professional musicians will provide intermediate and advanced instrumental music instruction to minority students. Parent involvement is essential to the program. Through monthly meetings of the Parent Council, which comprises all Project STEP parents, families play a key role in the individual students’ music development.
Raw Art Works
$30,000 Lynn, MA To support Real to Reel (R2R) Film School. Young filmmakers learn to use technology including cameras, film editing, lighting, and sound systems, while developing skills in self-efficacy, leadership, and cooperation.
RiverzEdge Arts Project
$23,000 Woonsocket, RI To support the Studio Arts & Enterprise Project. Students will work with master teaching artists while being paid stipends to create client portfolios and community works. Participants will enroll in classes such as graphic design, visual arts, digital media, screen printing. Students also may opt for the green design lab and remain in their studio.
$40,000 Jamaica Plain, MA To support the Artists’ Projects and Young Curators Program. Boston-area public high school students and recent graduates will partner with professional artists to produce large-scale works of contemporary visual art and performances that will explore the theme “Emancipated City: Reimagining Boston,” in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Young adults will study contemporary arts through mentorship, studio work, class discussions, site visits, and production of public arts events. They will learn from design and urban planning faculty at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and the Art, Culture, and Technology Program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The young artists will jury their peers’ work and create an exhibit and performance for an event held annually at the Massachusetts State House that raises awareness of the effects of violence.
$30,000 Lewiston, ME To support Cultivating Innovation and Community in Dance, a program of dance artist residencies as part of the annual Bates Dance Festival. The project will bring together leading dance figures, companies, and emerging artists for residencies to connect, create, and perform in a collaborative, supportive environment. Artists such as Camille A. Brown and Dancers, David Dorfman Dance, Prometheus Dance, Vincent Mansoe, Yin Mei, dance scholar Deborah Cash, and arts consultant Kim Konikow will participate.
$45,000 Boston, MA To support the presentation of Jiri Kylian’s “Bella Figura,” the company premiere of Jorma Elo’s “C. to C. (Close to Chuck),” and the world premiere of a commissioned neo-classical ballet by Jose Martinez of Spain’s National Dance Company. The works will be part of the company’s 50th anniversary celebration. Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen has made performances of Jiri Kylian (former artistic director of Nederlands Dans Theater) ballets a specialty of the company, and has established Jorma Elo as a resident choreographer. Nissinen continues to seek out emerging choreographers like Jose Martinez, who will make his North American debut as a choreographer at Boston Ballet.
Boston Dance Alliance
$10,000 Boston, MA To support Of, By, and For the Dance Makers, a series of workshops and retreats that will provide technical assistance to dance artists in producing and presenting work. Activities will include fellowships for choreographers and their dancers to create new work during a creative/rehearsal retreat, individual consultations, and workshops on how to present work to presenters, building budgets, preparing production logistics, and working with designers.
Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival
$80,000 Becket, MA To support the Creative Development Residency as well as the presentation of artists representing diverse contemporary dance forms. Artists may include Hong Kong Ballet, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, John Heginbotham/Dance Heginbotham, Doug Elkins, LeeSaar The Company, David Rousseve, Reggie Wilson/Fist & Heel Performance Group, as well as three artists in the Creative Development Residency.
$30,000 Middletown, CT To support the Center for the Arts’ Dance Presenting Series. The series is designed to engage audiences throughout the state of Connecticut in contemporary dance through the DanceMasters Weekend program, master classes, performances, and residency activities. Artists under consideration include David Dorfman Dance, flamenco artist Israel Galvan, and David Rousseve’s REALITY.
Folk & Traditional Arts
Community Economic Development Center of Southeastern Mass (aka CEDC)
$45,000 New Bedford, MA To support The Working Waterfront Festival. The occupational culture of commercial fishing and other port industries will be presented during a series of community events and a large folk festival featuring traditional music, dance, storytelling, poetry, demonstrations, and foodways.
Lowell Festival Foundation (aka Lowell Folk Festival)
$15,000 Lowell, MA To support the Lowell Folk Festival. Craft demonstrators and performers will showcase the many cultures that represent the region’s diverse ethnic and immigrant populations.
Passamaquoddy Tribe of Maine
$15,000 Perry, ME To support the museum exhibit “Passamaquoddy Cultural Renewal.” A rotating exhibit of Passamaquoddy traditional arts such as quill work, birch bark baskets, wood carving, and sweet grass baskets, produced by tribal artists and their students, will be installed at the Waponahki Museum. Additionally, the exhibit will include complementary historical artifacts from the museum’s collection, an interpretive guide, and information about the artists.
$10,000 Boston, MA To support the publication of the journal “AGNI,” available for the first time in digital format; increased writer payments; and the conversion to email marketing. Additionally, the journal will provide additional exclusive content on AGNI Online, including conversations and reviews.
$10,000 Boston, MA To support the publication and promotion of “Ploughshares Solos.” “Solos” are long-form, serially published stories and essays produced electronically, then collected in an annual print volume. They are available on all major e-readers, and will be promoted through a targeted direct-mail campaign and on the journal’s website.
Orion Society (aka Orion Magazine)
$40,000 Great Barrington, MA To support prose and poetry in “Orion” as well as various digital platforms for easy access to multimedia content. Online features will include teachers’ guides, blogs, reader submissions, author interviews, and podcasts. Additionally, much of the magazine will be made available for free online.
President & Fellows of Middlebury College
$10,000 Middlebury, VT To support the publication and promotion of print and digital issues of the “New England Review.” Videos from the Vermont Reading Series will be posted, as well as regular web series.
$20,000 North Adams, MA To support the publication and promotion of print and electronic books of poetry with audio, video, and visual arts components, and the Million Line Poem Project, an opensource poem created in real time. The press will publish works by authors such as Jeffrey Harrison, Michael Chitwood, Carol Frost, and Natasha Saje, as well as a collection of contemporary Russian poetry translated and edited by Ilya Kaminsky and Valzhyna Mort.
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
$10,000 Amherst, MA To support the publication of the journal “Jubilat” and the expansion of the journal’s website to make it more interactive. The website will include content from all back issues, greater access to analytics, and a space for readers to submit found art and documents.
$20,000 Middletown, CT To support the publication and distribution of books of poetry by such writers as Harvey Shapiro, Brenda Coultas, James Wright, and Gerald Vizenor. The books will be promoted through author tours, book trailers, Instagram, Tumblr, and free online teaching guides.
Association of Independents in Radio (aka AIR)
$45,000 Boston, MA To support professional development services to media artists through workshops, mentoring, and a residency program. The Association of Independents in Radio provides its members with the necessary hands-on training that producers need to keep abreast of current multimedia trends, as well as networking opportunities, one-on-one individualized sessions, and an opportunity for a ten-week residency, in collaboration with free103point9, at the Wave Farm facilities.
Atlantic Public Media Inc (aka APM)
$20,000 Woods Hole, MA To support “Transom.org,” an online publication for audio/radio producers to provide them with resources and information to assist in the creation and showcasing of new work. The project encourages both emerging and experienced independent audio producers to tell their stories on public radio.
Brattle Film Foundation (aka The Brattle Theatre)
$15,000 Cambridge, MA To support the Classic Brattle film series. Each series will be curated around a specific theme, genre, artist, and/or time period.
Camden International Film Festival
$10,000 Camden, ME To support the Camden International Film Festival and the expansion of its educational programs during the festival. The festival consists of more than 70 feature-length and short films from 20 countries.
Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
$20,000 Ridgefield, CT To support “Jack Whitten: Time’s Dilemma.” The exhibition will focus on recent work by Whitten (b. 1939) borrowed both from the artist’s studio and private collections.
DeCordova & Dana Museum & Park (aka deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum)
$45,000 Lincoln, MA To support the exhibition and catalogue “WALDEN.” The exhibition will examine the influence of Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden” through the presentation of new commissions and existing works by local and national artists.
Institute of Contemporary Art (aka The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston)
$50,000 Boston, MA To support the exhibition and catalogue “Fiber: Sculpture 1960-present.” Featuring works of art by American and international artists, ranging from small-scale, intricate weavings to large walk-in environments, the exhibition will explore abstraction in fiber from the mid-20th century to the present.
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (aka Gardner Museum)
$65,000 Boston, MA To support an artist-in-residence program. Artists working in a range of disciplines including painters, sculptors, composers, poets, storytellers, media artists, and writers are invited to live on-site at the Gardner for a period of approximately one month.
Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art Foundation (aka MASS MoCA)
$35,000 North Adams, MA To support the commissioning of a two-story high sculptural environment by Lee Boroson. The installation will consist of four components by Boroson (b. 1963) The Fog, The Falls, The Crypt, and The Lava Field.
$25,000 Northampton, MA To support the exhibition and catalogue “Mary Bauermeister: The New York Decade.” Focusing on Bauermeister’s (b. 1934) work during the 1960s in New York, the exhibition will explore her association with Pop and Fluxus artists.
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art
$25,000 Hartford, CT To support “Matrix,” an exhibition series for emerging and under-represented artists. Designed to present the most recent trends in contemporary art in dialogue with the traditional art offerings of an encyclopedic art museum, the series has presented works by more than 160 artists since its inception in 1975.
$35,000 New Haven, CT To support the exhibition “Being Roman: Identities in the Provinces.” The exhibition, divided into sections that distinguish between public and private realms, will include mosaics, ceramics, sculpture, glass, textiles, coins, and jewelry to create a complete picture of life in the Roman provinces (2nd through 6th centuries CE).
Boston Symphony Orchestra
$75,000 Boston, MA To support Beethoven and the Piano, an initiative exploring the composer’s works for piano and orchestra and related educational activities. Plans include a complete cycle of Beethoven’s five piano concertos plus the Triple Concerto for Violin, Cello, and Piano during the course of three successive concert programs featuring conductor Christoph von Dohnanyi and pianist Yefim Bronfman at Symphony Hall. The Boston Symphony Orchestra also will partner with the New England Conservatory, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Harvard University to program several free, ancillary public events surrounding the performances such as lecture demonstrations and film screenings.
Boston Symphony Orchestra – Tanglewood
$45,000 Boston, MA To support the Festival of Contemporary Music at Tanglewood Music Center. The festival, directed by composers John Harbison and Michael Gandolfi, will feature chamber music and orchestral performances by resident musicians and guest artists. Works by a wide array of contemporary composers will be highlighted including both established and emerging composers.
Chandler Center for the Arts
$15,000 Randolph, VT To support a statewide orchestral music festival. Plans include the commissioning of a new work by composer Judd Greenstein with residencies and performances in as many as four Vermont communities. In partnership with the Orchestra Engagement Lab, teaching artists will be engaged with each community to develop programs that explore the theme of “My Hometown” culminating in the premiere of the new work performed by the Festival Orchestra conducted by Festival Director Paul Gambill.
Handel & Haydn Society
$22,500 Boston, MA To support performances of Handel’s oratorio “Samson,” a radio broadcast, and related educational activities. Continuing in the celebration leading to the society’s bicentennial anniversary in 2015, the performances will feature significant works first premiered in the United States by the society and will be preceded by pre-concert lectures, a symposium, an open rehearsal, youth and family concerts, and school visits by a vocal quartet from the society’s professional chorus. Performances of “Samson” will be led by Artistic Director Harry Christophers at Symphony Hall.
Plymouth Philharmonic Orchestra
$50,000 Plymouth, MA To support New Music for America, a national commissioning and performance consortium project. Featuring a new work by American composer Christopher Theofanidis, at least one small-budget orchestra from each of the 50 states will perform the new work at least once. The project will build on the success of two previous Ford Made in America projects which provided services and resources to orchestras with smaller operating budgets.
Portland Maine Symphony Orchestra (aka Portland Symphony Orchestra)
$15,000 Portland, ME To support Nine for Ninety: Beethoven and His Infinite Inspiration, a performance project celebrating the orchestra’s 90th anniversary season. Under the artistic leadership of Music Director Robert Moody, the orchestra, guest soloists and the Choral Art Society Masterworks Chorus of Portland will perform three of the nine Beethoven symphonies through five concert programs. Programming will include a new work written by a young composer selected through a national juried competition.
$15,000 Boston, MA To support a new production and recording of Monteverdi’s “Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria.” The semi- staged production and first recording of Martin Pearlman’s version of the work, performed with period instruments, will be part of the 40th anniversary season. The creative team will comprise conductor Martin Pearlman, director Mark Streshinsky, and recording producer and editor Thomas C. Moore. Performances may feature tenor Fernando Guimaraes (Ulisse), mezzo-soprano Jennifer Rivera (Penelope), mezzo-soprano Leah Wool (Minerva), mezzo-soprano Abigail Nims (Melanto), tenor Aaron Sheehan (Telemaco), tenor Daniel Shirley (Eurimaco), tenor Daniel Auchincloss (Eumete), tenor Marc Molomot (Iro), and counter-tenor Christophe Lowrey (L’humana fragilita/sailor).
Presenting & Multidisciplinary Works
$45,000 Hanover, NH To support a series of residencies followed by performances and related activities. Proposed artists to be presented include the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company, Kronos Quartet, Los Angeles Poverty Department, the Arditti Quartet, and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.
Double Edge Theatre Productions (aka Double Edge Theatre)
$30,000 Ashfield, MA To support “The Saragossa Manuscripts,” an indoor/outdoor traveling spectacle. The work was created by the Double Edge ensemble in collaboration with a multidisciplinary cohort of local and international artists.
Everett Dance Theatre (aka Everett)
$15,000 Providence, RI To support “The Freedom Project,” a new multidisciplinary performance about the American prison system. Brown University’s Theater Arts and Performance Studios is a partner for the project, which will include text, choreography, video projection, and sculptural set pieces.
$20,000 Providence, RI To support the multidisciplinary Cross-Wired series. The series will feature performances and engagement activities from artists such as Mark Morris Dance Group, choreographer and dancer Savion Glover, experimental filmmaker and visual/theater artist Janie Geiser with her company Automata, and a large-scale multimedia performance from multidisciplinary artists Lemieux Pilon 4D.
Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, Ltd. (aka Flynn Center or The Flynn)
$45,000 Burlington, VT To support a series of artist residencies, presentations, and commissioning projects, with accompanying outreach activities. Artists proposed to participate in residencies will include musicians the Nile Project, hip-hop dance theater artist Raphael Xavier, spoken-word theater artist Kristina Wong, dance company The Trey McIntyre Project, choreographers Jawole Willa Jo Zollar & Liz Lerman, and monologist Mike Daisy. Artists under consideration for a series featuring artists with disabilities are writer and performer Terry Galloway, actor and performance artist Mat Fraser, jazz pianist Marcus Roberts, and writer Eli Clare. The Flynn will also commission and present works from theater company 500 Clown, dance-theater company Lucky Plush, and dance company Adele Myers & Dancers with poet Jon Goode.
Guilford Performance Lab Inc (aka Vermont Performance Lab)
$10,000 Guilford, VT To support artist residencies at Vermont Performance Lab. Artists will receive commissioning fees, engage local audiences in research and development processes, and present works-in-progress and/or completed works. Artists include choreographer, dancer, and circus artist Sara East Johnson; choreographer and dancer Alex Ketley;and choreographer Theirry Thieu Niang.
New Haven International Festival of Arts & Ideas
$40,000 New Haven, CT To support Arts & Ideas: Cornerstone Projects. The International Festival of Arts & Ideas will present a series of performances, ideas panels, master classes, pre- and post-performance discussions, and community outreach activities. Artists such as theater ensemble Elevator Repair Service, choreographer Reggie Wilson, and dancer Wendy Whelan will be featured. Other artists such as jazz artist Jason Moran, singer Martha Redbone, circus ensemble Cirque Alfonse, and performance artist Yehuda Duenyas are also expected to participate.
Terra Moto (aka Art At Work)
$20,000 Portland, ME To support All The Way Home. The project will include research, development, and implementation of a program utilizing multidisciplinary arts to help military veterans overcome PTSD and suicidal tendencies. Veterans will participate in artist-led workshops in storytelling, performance, photography, writing, visual arts, and movement. Terra Moto will partner with local, regional, and statewide health and veterans agencies to facilitate the project.
$15,000 Chilmark, MA To support multidisciplinary residencies and performances. Artists will participate in residencies and company presentations, community classes, workshops, lectures, and family matinees. Proposed artists include choreographer Camille Brown, interdisciplinary artist Yin Mei, tap artists Derick Grant and Michelle Dorrance, choreographer Hari Krishnana, musicians Red Baraat, filmmaker/puppeteer Janie Geiser, and choreographer Adele Myers.
Zeiterion Theatre (aka The Z)
$25,000 New Bedford, MA To support a multidisciplinary series of performances and engagement activities. Artists will perform and participate in activities including master classes and workshops. Proposed artists will include Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet; Portuguese Fadista Camane; a production of “Guru of Chai,” from India Ink theater company; a production of Mel Johnson’s “Frederick Douglass: In the Shadow of Slavery;” British dance company Motionhouse; taiko and dance ensemble TAO; and guitarists Sergio & Odair Assad.
Theater & Musical Theater
American Repertory Theatre
$85,000 Cambridge, MA To support the premiere of “Witness Uganda” by Matt Gould and Griffin Matthews, directed by Artistic Director Diane Paulus. Inspired by a true story, the musical portrays a young African American volunteer who, in the wake of a spiritual crisis brought on by his church’s rejection of his sexuality, travels to Uganda to help build a village school and educate children orphaned by AIDS.
Barrington Stage Company
$10,000 Pittsfield, MA To support the development and premiere of Mark St. Germain’s “Dancing Lesson,” directed by Artistic Director Julianne Boyd. The play will explore Asperger’s Syndrome, one of the three main types of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).
Cape Cod Theatre Project (aka CCTP)
$10,000 Falmouth, MA To support the development of new American plays in the Staged Reading Series. Each week in July 2014, the theater will invite a playwright, a director, and company of actors to come to Cape Cod to collaborate on the development of a new project. The daily schedule of rehearsals will culminate in a series of staged readings at Falmouth Academy with audience talkbacks.
Connecticut Players Foundation (aka Long Wharf Theatre)
$10,000 New Haven, CT To support the development and world premiere of “Table,” a new musical by composer David Shire and writer Adam Gopnik. Directed by Gordon Edelstein, the new work will explore the themes of family, food, and career as the play portrays a chef, his restaurant, and his family commitments. The stresses of life and work in Manhattan, the entertainment food industry, as well as rising and falling fame reshape the family’s life.
Eugene O’Neill Memorial Theater Center (aka Eugene O’Neill Theater Center)
$55,000 Waterford, CT To support the creation and development of new plays and musical theater works by emerging and mid-career artists at the National Playwrights Conference and the National Music Theater Conference. Approximately 1,600 manuscripts are received through an open-submission process that culminates in the selection of seven to ten plays and two to four musicals that receive a rehearsal period and staged readings that are open to the public.
Figures of Speech Theatre
$10,000 Freeport, ME To support the development of a new work “The Little Match Girl Passion.” Based on Composer David Lang’s Pulitzer Prize-winning re-imagining of the Hans Christian Andersen story as a passion play, the piece will be a visual tapestry of puppets, objects, and shadow/video projections that surround four singers in the chamber production. Artistic Director John Farrell will lead a team of five artists to design the artistic components and the implementation of the technological tools for creating the projections.
$10,000 Hartford, CT To support the development and premiere of “Gross Domestic Product,” a musical theater work by playwright Julia Rosenblatt and composer Martin Carrillo. The work will explore motherhood and its relationship to America’s economy by examining what our country would look like if we included motherhood and care-taking in general as part of the gross domestic product (GDP). The composer will use sounds of culturally diverse homes, workspaces, and neighborhoods in urbanized and suburbanized settings to create a soundscape and melodies that help create the play’s narrative.
Hartford Stage Company (aka Hartford Stage)
$15,000 Hartford, CT To support the premiere of “Love And Other Fables,” a new musical by Jay Jeffries (book) and John McMahon (music). Tony Award-winning Director John Rando will direct the romantic, madcap comedy about Aesop, a slave who uses his wit and storytelling talents to save the island kingdom of Samos. Aesop’s fables are liberally woven into the story and used to educate the other characters as well as entertain the audience.
Huntington Theatre Company
$25,000 Boston, MA To support the premiere of “Smart People” by Lydia Diamond. Directed by Peter DuBois, the play explores contemporary issues of race, cultural bias, and the ethical questions resulting from research into the biological origins of racial preference. Set against the backdrop of the 2008 presidential election, “Smart People” tracks four characters, two of them African-American, one Asian-American, and one Caucasian and how race and cultural assumptions affect their lives and relationships.
Portland Stage Company (aka Portland Stage)
$15,000 Portland, ME To support the development and world premiere of “Veils,” a new play by Tom Coash. The play tells the story of two students at the American University in Cairo an African-American Muslim student who wears a hijab, and her non-veiled Egyptian roommate who enlists her help in creating a blog debating the growing controversy over various head coverings at the school. When the Arab Spring intervenes, the Egyptian revolution threatens to overtake the young women and their project.
Sandglass Center for Puppetry and Theater Research (aka Sandglass Theater)
$10,000 Putney, VT To support Arts and Issues 2014, a presenting series featuring puppetry and other art forms. The project will be an extension of the company’s current presenting programs, including the ongoing Voices of Community series and the Puppets in the Green Mountains festival, and will include the work of both emerging and nationally known puppet artists.
Trinity Repertory Company
$10,000 Providence, RI To support a new production of “Oliver!,” Lionel Bart’s classic musical inspired by Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist,” with direction by Sharon and Richard Jenkins. Set designer Eugene Lee will create a set that extends the streets of Dickens’ London into the audience’s space. Music Director Michael Rice will transform the arrangements and orchestrations of the score. Stephen Berenson, chair of the Brown/Trinity MFA programs, will work with Artistic Director Curt Columbus on a new adaptation of the musical’s book that will incorporate selected text from Dickens’ original novel to heighten the characterizations. The production will be supported by a wide range of learning opportunities, including post-show discussions, articles, and interviews.
$30,000 New Haven, CT To support the premiere of “These Paper Bullets,” a new play with original music, adapted by Rolin Jones from Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing.” The adaptation will transport Shakespeare’s romance from an idyllic Messina to a rock-and-roll 1960s London and will include live music sung by The Quartos (the actors playing Benedick, Claudio, Don Pedro, and Balthasar). The creative team will include direction by Jackson Gay and songs by Billie Joe Armstrong.
Real Art Ways
$20,000 Hartford, CT To support “Step Up,” an exhibition series with accompanying catalogues that will feature the work of emerging artists. The series will include solo exhibitions by emerging visual artists from New York, New Jersey, and New England whose careers would be advanced by an exhibition at Real Art Ways.