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State grants aid local arts groups

The Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival, one of two local agencies to receiving funding, brings nationally acclaimed storytellers to town each January.

The Alabama State Council on the Arts awarded 134 grants totaling $437,270 at its December meeting.

Two Pike County organizations received grants in the round totaling $9,800.

The Troy-Pike Cultural Arts Center received two grants, a $2,000 for its Arts Bridges Outreach program and $5,400 for the summer exhibition 2 Men 3-D.

The Brundidge Historical Society received $2,400 in support of the Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival in January.

Richard Metzger, executive director of the Johnson Center for the Arts, said that the Alabama State Council has always been generous to the arts center and was again generous in this round.

“The continued support of the state arts council proves that we are fulfilling our mission and that the council is taking care of the needs its constituents all across the state and not just focusing on the larger metropolitan areas,” Metzger said.

He added that the grant award helps to ensure that the Johnson Center for the Arts in Troy can remain open during these difficult economic times.

“Although we didn’t receive the full amount that we had requested, we are pleased and honored that the Alabama State Council on the Arts realizes that our programming is strong and that we are providing a valuable service to our area,” Metzger said.

The Art Bridges Outreach program grant will be used to help bring docent into the classroom to prepare students to view the exhibitions at the Johnson Center.

“We will bus the students to the Johnson Center for the exhibition and then go back to the classrooms for hands-on activities that will re-enforce the standards in language arts that are mandated by the Alabama Department of Education,” Metzger said.

The 2 Men 3-D exhibition will feature local sculptors, Larry Godwin of Brundidge and Duane Paxson of Troy. Metzger said the grant funds will be used to transport and install the sculptures and for gallery operating expenses.

The Brundidge Historical Society grant award was for the 5th Annual Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival Jan. 28 and 29. The Festival will feature four of the top storytellers in the country and pre-show music by traditional musicians.

The storytelling festival will open with supper and stories Friday night at the We Piddle Around Theater in Brundidge and continue on Saturday with three storytelling concerts at the Trojan Center Theater at Troy University.

Lawrence Bowden, president of the BHS, said the historical group is pleased and grateful to the state arts council for its continued support of the society’s efforts to bring the very best storytellers in America to Pike County.

“The Alabama Council on the Arts has supported our efforts to bring folk life presentations to the We Piddle Around Theater and master storytellers to the Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival,” Bowden said. “Without the support of the state arts council, we would be hard pressed to bring such high caliber storytellers to Pike County. These grant funds are vital to what we do and allow us to keep the ticket prices affordable so everyone benefits from the generosity of the state art council.”