Four group receive ASCA grants

Published 11:00 pm Friday, December 13, 2013

The Alabama State Council on the Arts (ASCA) awarded 99 grants totaling $342,695 at its Council December meeting in Montgomery.

The round of grants will support arts in education, folk art, community, literature, performing and visual arts programs Jan. 1, 2014, through Sept. 30, 2014.

Four Pike County arts organizations receive grant funding totaling $15,930.

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The Troy-Pike Cultural Arts Center received two visual arts grants of $3,750 each. One grant award is for the Center’s Don Stewart: Think/Decipher/Smile exhibition and the other is for coordinator support.

The Brundidge Historical Society received a $4,200 folk arts grant for its 8th annual Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival the last weekend in January.

Troy University received a $4,230 folk arts grant for the 2014 Wiregrass Blues Festival.

Morgan Drinkard, Troy-Pike Cultural Arts Center director, said that, as always, the Center is appreciative of the ASCA grant awards.

“We want our community to know how important this funding is to our local arts organizations,” Drinkard said. “Being involved with the grant process, I can see how federal dollars trickled down to the local level. The funding that, we, and other arts agencies receive from ASCA is based, in part, on funds they receive from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). So, our local arts organizations benefit from both.”

Drinkard said the ASCA grant funds received in the recently grant cycle will be used to bring the Don Stewart exhibition to the Johnson Center.

“Don Stewart is a Birmingham pen and ink artist,” Drinkard said. “He comes to TroyFest and will be the focus of our Art Bridges Arts Education program next year. The grant funds will assist us in getting the exhibition here, the artist’s reception and promoting this outstanding exhibition.

“The ASCA funds that we receive for coordinator support will be used for staffing necessary in handling all of the programs outside of the special programs that we facilitate.”

Drinkard said the Troy-Pike Cultural Arts Center board is thrilled with the funding that the Center receives from ASCA.

“We feel that the exhibitions and programs that we offer through the Troy-Pike Cultural Art Center are worthwhile and these grants are an indication that ASCA believes they are important, too,” she said.

Johnny Steed, president of the Brundidge Historical Society, said, too, that ASCA grants help keep BHS folk arts programs afloat.

“The Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival is a costly event,” he said. “We bring in four nationally acclaimed storytellers each year. We decided back in 2005, that if we were going to be successful with a storytelling festival, we were going to have to get the best storytellers and it was going to cost us.”

Steed said the list of storytellers that have been featured at the Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival reads like a who’s who among storytellers.

“And, we’ve been able to do that because of the support that we have gotten from the Alabama State Council on the Arts,” he said. “Without the state arts council’s support, we would be limited in what we could do.

“That’s how important ASCA’s support is to us and to our community. We greatly appreciate ASCA’s support of our events and the other arts events throughout Pike County and across the state.”

The Council makes grants awards to non-profit organizations, schools, universities, cities, and a wide range of community groups. ASCA funds are matched by contributions from businesses, individuals, local government and earned income by the grantee. Arts programs, assisted by Council grants, have a track record of enhancing community development, education, cultural tourism and overall quality of life in virtually all regions of the state.

The Alabama State Council on the Arts is the official state arts agency of Alabama. The staff of the Council, directed by Al Head, administers the grants programs and provides technical assistance in arts planning and programming. The Council receives its support through an annual appropriation from the Alabama Legislature and funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.