Local arts groups awarded grants

Published 11:04 pm Tuesday, December 7, 2021

At its December quarterly meeting in Montgomery, the Alabama State Council on the Arts awarded 182 grants totaling $1,161,580 to 148 organizations and individuals across the state.

Two Pike County arts groups were among those receiving ASCA grant funding.

The Brundidge Historical Society was awarded $5,000 for its 15th annual Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival in January. The Charles Henderson High School Theater Program’s award was for $4,000 for its performance of “Into the Woods” in the spring.

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Anne Register, a member of the BHS’ storytelling committee, said the grant award is encouragement to move forward with the annual storyteller festival and other folk life events planned for 2022.

“Our annual storytelling festival is a weekend event that features four storytelling concerts that are open to the public and a performance for students from each of the county’s four high schools at Troy University’s Trojan Center Theater and an in-school performance at an elementary school.”

Register said the ASCA grant provides opportunities for small, rural communities to provide quality entertainment for its citizens and for students to be introduced to storytelling, the oldest form of entertainment, by the country’s top storytellers.

“The BHS greatly appreciates the support of the Alabama State Council on the Arts,” Register said. “Without ASCA’s support, we would not be able to host the annual, weekend long Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival. ASCA’s support provided seed money for our annual folk life play, “Come Home, It’s Suppertime,” and also for other folk life presentations over the years.”

Cameron Williams, Charles Henderson High School theater instructor, said he sincerely thanked the Alabama State Council on the Arts for their generosity and support.

“I’m so excited for our students first and foremost,” Williams said. “We aim to create a rewarding educational experience for them with each theatre production. With the resources from this grant, we will be able to enhance and enrich the education we are offering our students with the expansion of and enhanced sustainability of our technical theatre program. We will now be able to offer courses/instruction in fabrication, costume building, drafting, power tool training, and set building/construction for the stage that will directly impact the quality of our production work at CHHS. These opportunities for our students puts us on the same playing field with those provided at other high schools in the state.”

The CHHS Theatre Program is committed to providing a high energy, academically challenging, creative outlet for our students to develop their talents, while fostering and sustaining a strong tradition of high quality theatre performance and production in a hands-on collaborative effort to reach and enrich our local and surrounding communities.

ASCA Council Chair Jim Harrison III said the council is pleased to support educational groups, community organizations, and arts institutions with the grant awards.

“Funds awarded through our granting process strengthen cultural expression, enhance our vibrant state’s creative economy, and improve the quality of life for all Alabamians,” Harrison said.

Dr. Elliot Knight, the council’s executive director, said the council is steadfast in promoting arts organizations at the forefront of creative thinking and innovation, as well as the traditional cultural arts that are an important part of our shared history.