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17 NEA grants totaling $420,000 heading to Georgia

While a stunning foundation grant to a local arts organization dominated the arts news cycle Friday, the National Endowment for the Arts announced smaller grants that will have an impact on arts groups throughout the country.Seventeen grants, including 12 to Atlanta-area groups, are heading to Georgia. Those grants, totaling $420,000, were among the $29 million to be awarded nationally by the NEA to orchestras, dance troupes, museums, theater groups and other cultural centers.

The grants went to groups large and small. Some $120,000 in grants went to divisions of the Woodruff Arts Center, to support projects by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Alliance Theatre and the High Museum of Art.

The Woodruff's delight at receiving those awards may have been eclipsed Friday by news that the Woodruff center also will receive a $38 million grant from the Woodruff Foundation.

But the smaller grants by the NEA will make a big difference, especially to smaller organizations such as the Seven Stages theater company.

"We're incredibly excited, " said Charles Swint, marketing director for Seven Stages, which will receive a $30,000 award to help produce an interactive performance/dinner party called "The Breakers."

The funds will offset steep costs for a production that will boast "supernatural" special effects in a play that will take place inside a "transparent" house built of polycarbonate panels.

In addition to Seven Stages, the following arts organizations also will receive grants from the NEA:

  • Art Papers Inc. will receive $20,000 for continued support of the Atlanta-based bimonthly arts and culture publication.
  • The Atlanta Ballet will receive $30,000 to support the presentation of "Cacti, " by Swedish choreographer Alexander Ekman.
  • The Atlanta Opera will receive $20,000 to stage Verdi's "Rigoletto, " a co-production with the Boston Lyric Opera and Opera Omaha.
  • Morehouse College will receive $40,000 to support the composing and performing of a new work for trumpet and orchestra by American composer James Oliverio. Oliverio will be composer-in-residence at Morehouse, and the piece is intended to honor the life's work of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
  • The Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia will receive $20,000 to support its "working artist" project, which provides established artists with financial support and a solo exhibition at MOCA GA.
  • The True Colors Theatre Company will receive $20,000 to support a production of "Detroit '67, " by Dominique Morisseau. The drama is set during the 1967 riots in Detroit.
  • The Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta will receive $10,000 to support a theatrical production by the Jerry's Habima Theatre program, featuring actors with disabilities.
  • The Atlanta Chinese Dance Company, based in Norcross, will receive $10,000 to support the performance of a new dance production, "Ren & Shen: Chinese Humans and Superhumans, " scheduled to be presented at the Gwinnett Center. It will feature guest artists from the Qi Shu Fang Peking Opera Company.

Three grants to the Woodruff Arts Center will support:

  • The High Museum of Art, which will receive $60,000 to support the upcoming exhibition of work by contemporary painter Alex Katz.
  • The Alliance Theatre, which will receive $20,000 to produce a play called "C.A. Lyons Project" by Tsehaye Geralyn Hebert. The winning play in the Alliance Theatre's National Graduate Playwriting Competition, "C.A. Lyons Project" uses dance and theater to tell the story of the dying leader of an African-American dance ensemble.
  • The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, which will receive $40,000 to commission and perform a new work by composer Christopher Theofanidis celebrating the orchestra's 70th anniversary.

Several arts organizations outside Atlanta also will receive grants:

  • Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville will receive $10,000 to support dance performances by Rennie Harris Puremovement, a company dedicated to preserving and promoting hip-hop culture.
  • The Savannah Music Festival will receive $40,000 to support the city's annual festival, which features hundreds of international artists playing chamber and symphonic music, blues, jazz, and world music.
  • The Telfair Museum of Art in Savannah will receive $30,000 to support the PULSE Art + Technology Festival.
  • The Statesboro Arts Council will receive $10,000 to support an artist residency program featuring visual artist George Snyder.
  • Albany State University will receive $10,000 to support the residency of the a cappella ensemble, Sweet Honey in the Rock.


Metro Atlanta

Alliance Theatre $20,000

Art Papers $20,000

Atlanta Ballet $30,000

Atlanta Chinese Dance Company $10,000

Atlanta Opera $20,000

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra $40,000

High Museum $60,000

Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta $10,000

Morehouse College $40,000

Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia $20,000

Seven Stages $30,000

True Colors Theatre Company $20,000

Elsewhere in Georgia

Albany State University $10,000

Georgia College & State University $10,000

Savannah Music Festival $40,000

Statesboro Arts Council $10,000

Telfair Museum of Art in Savannah $30,000

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About the Author

Bo Emerson is an Atlanta native and a long-time AJC feature and news writer.