Local programs receive grants from state arts agency

Published 8:47 pm Monday, December 9, 2019

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The Alabama State Council on the Arts (ASCA) awarded 146 grants totaling $621,450 at its Council meeting in Montgomery on December 6.

Two Pike County folk life organizations were included in the grant awards. The Brundidge Historical Society received $4,400 for its Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival in January and the Pioneer Museum of Alabama received $2,200 for its Spring Planting event in March.

Both Lawrence Bowden, BHS president, and Barbara Tatom, museum director, expressed grateful appreciation for the grant awards, which they said make it possible for them to host their annual events.

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“ASCA has embraced the Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival and its support makes it possible for us to continue to bring nationally acclaimed storytellers to our annual storytelling event,” Bowden said. “The support of the state arts council also validates the importance of storytelling in today’s high-tech world.”

Bowden said the Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival features four concerts for the general public as well as a concert for students in all high schools in the county and also for elementary students.

“Without ASCA’s support, we would be very limited in fostering storytelling, not just in our area, but in bordering states and beyond,” he said.

Tatom was just as adamant about the importance of ASCA’s support.

“Dr. Elliot Knight, ASCA executive director, and Joey Brackner, director of folk life projects, have been a tremendous help since I came on board,” Tatom said. “I appreciate their guidance and support. The grant awards make it possible to offer educational events like Spring Planting, which includes hands-on activities for students facilitated by the Pike County Master Gardeners.” Although, Spring Planting is Friday and Saturday, Friday is directed toward students, Tatom said.

“Last spring, the Master Gardeners planted a Three Sister Garden, which was pioneered by the Native Americans, and the children potted a plant to take home. Our purpose is to provide a quality, meaningful learning experience.”

Joel T. Daves IV, chairman of the Council, said ASCA grants serve as investments in Alabama’s   culture and quality of life.

“Independent surveys have shown that a vibrant arts environment helps to draw new industry and investment to Alabama,” Daves said. “Programs funded support and enhance education for students and continue a life-long learning experience for all citizens.

This round of grants will support arts in education, folk art, community, literature, performing, and visual arts programs January 1, through September 30, 2020. 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 15-member board is appointed by the Governor to help promote the arts statewide.

A primary responsibility of the Council is to make decisions about grants awarded to support art programs and arts education throughout the state.

Board members are selected from all regions of the state in order to strive for a geographic spread representing all areas of the state.