Ancram Opera House Awarded Two Major Grants

The Ancram Opera House (AOH), an award-winning non-profit performing arts organization in rural southern Columbia County, announced that it has received grants totaling $94,000 from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) and the NY State Regional Economic Development Council (REDC). The grants will be used to purchase theatrical lighting, new audience seating, fund a full-time Artistic Director, and develop two original theatrical works.

“The Ancram Opera House, by bringing theatregoers to our community to see top-quality artists and performances, is helping to revitalize the Ancram hamlet,” said Cathy Redlich, President of the Ancram Opera House Board of Directors. “These grants, investments by New York in the future of the theater, are also an endorsement of AOH’s success over the past four years.”

A $50,000 Capital Facilities Improvement Grant from NYSCA REDC will go towards new theatrical lighting, a lighting control board, seating, and risers. “All of our current lighting equipment is on loan,” said Co-Director Paul Ricciardi. “Purchasing LED fixtures will reduce electricity use and our carbon footprint. New seating will enhance the performance experience for our audiences.”

The Ancram Opera House has experienced steady growth and critical acclaim since its first season in 2016, and a NYSCA REDC $30,000 Workforce Development Grant will allow AOH to hire co-founder Jeffrey Mousseau as full-time Artistic Director to oversee and expand performance and community programs. Since founding the theater, Ricciardi and Mousseau have not paid themselves a salary. “The grant strengthens the sustainability of our operations and builds capacity to do more,” said Mousseau. “We look forward to extending our season beyond the summer months for a year-round audience.”

A third $14,000 grant, awarded by NYSCA’s Theatre program, will support the development and premiere of two new theater works: an innovative song-cycle for all ages based on Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen,” and a new work that furthers an investigation of Hudson River School painter Frederic Church initiated in 2017 with “Performing Olana,” an original piece developed by AOH with The Olana Partnership.

The New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) is dedicated to preserving and expanding the rich and diverse cultural resources that are and will become the heritage of New York’s citizens. NYSCA supports visual, literary, performing, and media arts, arts education and individual artists.

The Regional Economic Development Council initiative (REDC) is a key component of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s transformative approach to State investment and economic development. NYSCA is one of 11 agencies participating in 30 programs to build New York State through strategic, competitive grant making. Funding is available for projects designed to enhance and transform the cultural and economic vitality of New York State communities through the arts and culture, addressing REDC initiative priorities including place making and workforce development.

The Ancram Opera House brings together residents and visitors to Ancram, the Hudson Valley, and the neighboring Berkshires for sustaining, shared experiences in the performing arts. For more information visit ancramoperahouse.org.

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