Local art organizations receive funds

Published 3:00 am Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Alabama State Council on the Arts (ASCA) awarded 117 grants totaling $339,050 at its Council meeting in Montgomery on December 4. This round of grants will support arts in education, folk art, community, literature, performing, and visual arts programs throughout the year 2015.

Three Pike County arts groups benefited from the awards with the amount totaling $11,300. The Troy-Pike Cultural Arts Center received grants for the amount of $3,000 for its ArtBridges teacher summer workshop and $4,200 for the Celebration of Contemporary Art in Alabama exhibition.

The Brundidge Historical Society received $2,200 for the annual Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival, a folklife event.

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Troy University’s Theater and Dance Department received $1,900 in grant funding for its dance residency/performance outreach program.

Vicki Pritchett, executive director of the Johnson Center for the Arts, an arm of the Troy-Pike Cultural Arts Center, said both grants make it possible for the arts center to offer programs that would be difficult to offer otherwise.

“The ArtBridges Teacher Workshop is offered to teachers throughout the county each summer,” Pritchett said. “The workshop features accomplished artists and facilitators who give instructions and present demonstrations on various ways to integrate art into all areas of the curriculum.

“In the fall, the artists come back to visit the schools and conduct classes for the teachers who participated in the workshop. This workshop has far reaching benefits for the teachers and their students.”

The Celebration of Contemporary Art in Alabama exhibition in August will feature some of the most outstanding contemporary artists in the state under one roof.

“The exhibit offers the public the opportunity to view the artwork of Alabama’s contemporary artists and it is also an opportunity for these artists to exhibit their work collectively,” Pritchett said. “Alabama artists have few opportunities to exhibit their work as a body of artists. We are extremely pleased to be able to offer this opportunity to the public and to these outstanding Alabama artists.”

Pritchett said the Alabama State Council on the Arts has been supportive of the programs of the Johnson Center for the Arts since it opened in 2008.

“ASCA has played a huge role in the success of the Johnson Center,” she said. “We are appreciative of ASCA’s past and continued support of our programs.”

Lawrence Bowden, president of the Brundidge Historical Society, said his organization is also appreciative of the longtime support it has received from ASCA.

“The first grant we received from ASCA supported our idea for a folklife play in Brundidge,” Bowden said. “The November production of  “Come Home, It’s Suppertime,” closed out our 13th year. ASCA grants have supported our Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival for nine years and we absolutely could not offer the quality of storytelling festival that we do without ASCA.”

Bowden said the Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival features four nationally acclaimed storytellers each year.

“You won’t go to any festival that has more gifted storytellers than our storytelling committee brings to Pike County each year,” he said. “The grants that we receive from ASCA make it possible for us to bring in these master storytellers for our audiences and for storytelling concerts for students in the county, city and private schools.”

Bowden said ASCA has supported other storytelling events of the BHS.

“If it were not for ASCA, the arts opportunities would be extremely limited and probably almost non-existent in small communities like Brundidge,” he said. “We owe ASCA a great debt of gratitude.”

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 Council makes grants 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.

Vaughan Morrissette, Council chair, said Alabama is fortunate to have so many programs that support and enhance education for students and improve the quality of life for all citizens. A vibrant arts environment helps to draw new industry and investment to Alabama, she said.

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.