09/06/13 — Arts Council receives three grants for programs

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Arts Council receives three grants for programs

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on September 6, 2013 1:46 PM

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Belyndria Edwards, 8, and Ormiyah Vick, 8, sketch out a Picasso-inspired face assigned by their art teacher Amy Kennedy to teach students about asymmetry at North Drive Elementary School.

The Arts Council of Wayne County has received grants from the North Carolina Arts Council for art programs here. North Drive Elementary School also received a grant for an artist residency.

Arts Council Director Sarah Merritt said the council received a $27,858 grassroots grant, 50 percent of which must be, in turn, granted to other community organizations for arts programming.

The council will use the other half of the grant for exhibits and programs like Sunday in the Park and First Friday.

"And based on demographics, a specific percentage of the grant has to be spent on multicultural programming, programming that reflects African American, Latino, Native American or Asian cultures," Mrs. Merritt said.

"We don't have a problem with that in this county because we have such diverse programs and so do some of our program partners."

The Arts Council also received a $30,000 grant to develop materials for the African American Music Heritage Trail, an eight-county project to highlight the rich African American music tradition in eastern North Carolina.

The trail will kick off in October, Mrs. Merritt said. There will be a guidebook with information about notable musicians who are from this area, a calendar of annual events and venues in each community where people can play as well as information about modern day musicians.

"It's shining the light on this rich pool of talent we have in our community," she said.

With a portion of the money from the grant, the Arts Council has commissioned two African American Music Heritage Trail musicians, Edwin Mitchell and Jeff Grimes, to write a jazz song about Goldsboro, which will debut at the annual Jazz on George event Sept. 26.

A $10,000 grant allows the Arts Council to put on Jazz on George each year. And that includes not only the concert itself, but several events leading up to the concert. These will be done in conjunction with the Wayne Community College Foundation and include:

* First Friday Sept. 6 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Arts Council featuring "A Moveable Piece." Visitors will have the opportunity to pick up a brush and create a Jackson Pollock-style moveable mural.

* Talkin' Jazz with Dr. Stephen Anderson, Sept. 30 at 7 p.m. at Moffatt Auditorium at Wayne Community College.

* Jazz saxophonist Willie Dupree will perform at First Friday Oct. 4 at the Arts Council from 5 to 8 p.m.

* The Anderson Trio will perform Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. at Moffatt Auditorium at Wayne Community College.

* Bill Myers and The Monitors will perform at Moffatt Auditorium at Wayne Community College Oct. 14 at 7 p.m.

* Jazz writer/radio announcer/historian Larry Reni Thomas will present a program that answers the question, Why are there more than 70 jazz personalities who were born in North Carolina?, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. at the Arts Council.

* There will be a program on the African American Music Heritage Trail Oct. 19 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Arts Council. The Arts Council is asking local African American musicians to book an interview with resident documentarian Letisha Banks.

* Jazz on George Oct. 26 from 1 to 6 p.m. in the 100 block of North George Street.

North Drive School will use its $5,000 grant for an artist residence for a week in February with Bryant Holsenbeck, a well-known North Carolina environmental artist.

"She will work with the students at the school to create individual art projects and an art installation that will stay at the school," Mrs. Merritt said. "The focus will be plants and animals native to North Carolina.

"But the students are also learning something that's connected to another part of their curriculum. In this case, they'll create flora and fauna, and learn about the plants, animals and insects we have here."

Mrs. Merritt said art is an important part of children's lives.

"There's all kinds of statistics that show children who are exposed to art education score better on tests," she said. "They are more community-minded and able to work better in teams. Art broadens their horizon and opens their world. It also bolsters their higher thinking skills and problem-solving skills.

"And art's fun."