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Local arts groups awarded grants

Three Pike County arts related organizations were among the 136 groups awarded grants by the Alabama State Council on the Arts at its September 6 meeting in Montevallo.

ASCA awarded grants totaling $1,686,060 in support of arts in education, folk arts, community arts, literature, performing and visual arts programs. ASCA funds are matched by contributions and earned income by the grantee.

The Pioneer Museum of Alabama received $3,750 for Pioneer Days; the Troy-Pike Cultural Arts Center was awarded $1,500 for ArtBridgesInSchools; and the Brundidge Historical Society received $1,000 for the Chili Country Christmas concert with Josh Goforth.

ASCA Executive Director Al Head said the council is pleased to support the recipients with the approved grants.

“Funds awarded through ASCA’s granting process provide a better education for students, enhancement for Alabama’s Creative Economy and quality of life for all Alabamians,” Head said.

The Pioneer Museum of Alabama’s annual Pioneer Days event is a two-day event for students and the public.

Barbara Tatom, museum director, said being a new kid on the block, she is grateful for the state arts council’s support and the guidance of the council’s staff in preparing the grant application. The museum’s board and staff are especially appreciative of the grant funding that is a “tremendous boost” in helping fund Pioneer Days, she said.

“Friday, October 12, is primarily a day designed for school groups,” Tatom said. “There will be a variety of demonstrations and some opportunities for hands-on learning. Already, we have 500 students signed up. On Saturday, October 13, people of all ages come to enjoy the demonstrations including rope making, woodworking, blacksmithing and Dutch oven cooking. We’ll have a dulcimer group and much more.”

Visitors to Pioneer Days also have opportunities to view the museum’s 20,000-plus artifacts and the 22 historic structures on the grounds.

The grant awarded to the Troy Pike Cultural Arts Center is for the second phase of the center’s ArtBridges program.

“Wiley White, Johnson Center for the Arts exhibition coordinator, said the ArtBridges Summer Teacher Workshop is a hands-on workshop held each July that attracts teachers from Pike and neighboring counties.

“Teachers come to learn how to integrate the arts into the curriculum of the core subjects,” White said. “This summer, the teachers learned about encaustics. For phase two, the workshop facilitators will visit the classrooms of the participating teachers and lead a related art project.”

White said ArtBridges is an effort to bring art into the classroom.

“When incorporated into the curriculum of the core subjects, art adds a different dimension to learning,” she said. “We are most appreciative of ASCA’s support because it provides us with more opportunities to bridge the arts and the classroom curriculum.”

Lawrence Bowden, president of the Brundidge Historical Society, said the grant award will make it possible to continue to bring outstanding arts entertainment to Brundidge.

“The historical society would not be able to bring high quality folk life presentations to the We Piddle Around Theater without the support of the Alabama State Council on the Arts,” Bowden said. “With ASCA’s support we are able to bring artists like Josh Goforth to small town Alabama.”

Bowden said Goforth, an award winning Appalachian musician, singer and storyteller, performs all across the country and in Europe and Japan.

“Josh Goforth plays a variety of instruments and is a champion fiddler. His versatility is amazing. He has performed at the Grand Ole Opry and at Carnegie Hall. Once folks see him perform, they don’t just want to see him again, they do.”

The Alabama State Council on the Arts is the official state arts agency of Alabama. The staff of the Council, directed by 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.