10/18/09 — Arts Council receives thousands in grant funds

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Arts Council receives thousands in grant funds

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on October 18, 2009 2:00 AM

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The Arts Council of Wayne County recently received nearly $40,000 in grants, which will be used for various arts programs including performances and education.

The Arts Council of Wayne County has received a grants totally nearly $40,000 to assist with the costs of bringing arts programs to the area.

The North Carolina Arts Council awarded the council $30,602, based on programming and population, said Sarah Merritt, county Arts Council director.

Mrs. Merritt said 36 percent of the funds have to be spent on racially diverse programming.

"We go far above and beyond that percentage," she said. "Last year it was like 46 percent."

Racially diverse programs reflect a variety of cultures and ethnic groups, she added.

Jazz on George is one of those programs, Mrs. Merritt said.

"Jazz music is a genre of music that comes from our African-American citizens," she said.

Mrs. Merritt said 50 percent of the grant funding has to be given out to other local organizations to provide arts programming.

"It's so great to see that there are so many really great projects and fun things happening," Mrs. Merritt said. "And people shouldn't think that just because it's a local group that it's not a quality program. We really have some great talent in this community.

This year's recipients of funds from the grassroots grant include:

* Goldsboro Boy and Girl Choir, $100 for its Christmas concert.

* Launch Theatre Productions, $1,100 for its play "Five Guys Named Moe."

* Starlight Dance Band, $1,000 for free community concerts.

* Hispanic Community Development Center Inc., $1,100 for artist fees for Viva Goldsboro in May.

* III Century Singers, $1,100 for community concerts.

* Partnership for Children, $750 for the String Explosion group to play at Boo It!

* StageStruck, $1,100 for the Missoula Theatre Project in May.

* A Drummer's World Drum Line, $800 for community performances.

* Epsilon Phi Omega, $900 for its Black Family Uplift program for a museum trip and art supplies.

* Goldsboro Writer's Group, $300 for a writer's workshop in February, in conjunction with Wayne County Reads.

* Paramount Theatre Foundation, $750 for a bluegrass concert.

* Young Writer's Network, $1,100 for workshops for Wayne County students and to publish a book of student poetry.

* Goldsboro Ballet, $1,100 for its production of "Mary Poppins" in March.

* Center Stage Theatre, $750 for its production of the "Book of Ruth."

* Wayne Community Concerts, $1,100 for Chinese Acrobats performance.

* North Carolina Symphony, $1,100 for its education concert.

* Grandpa's Children Inc., $1,100 for its DRUMS performance.

In addition to the performance funding, the Arts Council also received $5,700 from the North Carolina Arts Council for arts education.

The money will be used for two, one-week artist residencies at Rosewood and Northwest elementary schools.

Each school will have an artist from the North Carolina-based Sandy Creek Weavers to teach students the art of weaving, Mrs. Merritt said.

"They will work with fifth-graders at both schools," she said. "They take all the equipment needed. Each fifth-grader does an individual project to take home. Also, the group does a school-wide project with all the students, a big weaving piece that will stay at the school to be hung up as a public art piece.

"They'll learn the basics of weaving. There's also an element of social studies, math and other curriculum."

At the end of the two-week project, which is scheduled for the last week of February and the first week of March, the Arts Council will exhibit the students' weavings.

"It's a very competitive grant," Mrs. Merritt said. "So to get it is a really great thing."

The Arts Council also received the Target grant, a $3,000 award, which will be used to hire musicians to play at the opening reception of the "New Harmonies" traveling Smithsonian exhibit in August and September. Musicians who will be playing are George Higgs, a well-known blues guitarist and singer from Tarboro, and local blues musician Donald Thompson.