Show Me the Money!

Today, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced that it will distribute just under $27 million in grants to 1,207 projects. Included in those numbers are 994 projects ($23,828,500) in the “Access to Artistic Excellence” category. According to the NEA press release, 1,697 eligible applications were submitted seeking funds for the creation and presentation of work in a variety of disciplines--a 22 percent increase over the prior year. For those keeping track, that means that just under 59% of the requests were funded (though many may have received a smaller grant than requested).

NEA Chair, Rocco Landesman stated that these grants will support “projects that have great works of art at the heart of them; that work to inspire and transport audiences and visitors; and that create and retain opportunities for artists and arts workers to be a part of this country's real economy."

With ten Oregon arts organizations receiving grants totaling $232,500, that works out to be just about 1 percent of the total. According to population estimates from the U.S. Census (2008), Oregon has 1.2 percent of the nation’s population. Seems to me, we got screwed out of .2 percent of what's due. But let's not quibble over rounding errors. You might note that six of the ten Oregon projects are to theater companies.

Here’s the list of Oregon's awardess, with project descriptions from the NEA. On behalf of Culture Shock, I extend a hearty congratulations to all of them:

Miracle Theatre Company
Category: Theater
To support the West Coast premiere of El Quijote by Santiago GarcĂ­a, based on the early 17th-century novel Don Quixote by Cervantes. Artistic Director Olga Sanchez will direct the piece.

Oregon Children's Theatre Company
Category: Theater
To support the adaptation and premiere of Small Steps by Louis Sachar. The play will be a sequel to Sachar's novel Holes, which also was successfully adapted for the stage.

Oregon Shakespeare Festival Association
Category: Theater
To support the development and world premiere production of American Night, a new piece by the theater ensemble Culture Clash to be directed by Jo Bonney. The project will be the first production in the company's American Revolutions: the United States History Cycle, a decade-long public dialogue, commissioning, and production initiative.

Portland Center Stage
Category: Theater
To support the 12th annual JAW (Just Add Water): Playwrights Festival. The festival supports playwrights in the development of new works to enhance the repertoire of the American theater.

Third Rail Repertory Theatre
Category: Theater
To support a final workshop and world premiere production of The Gray Sisters by Craig Wright. The production will be directed by Producing Artistic Director Slayden Scott Yarbrough and performed by company members.

White Bird
Category: Dance
To support the presentation of dance companies in the White Bird Uncaged series. The project will include master classes and lecture-demonstrations.

Portland Art Museum (on behalf of Northwest Film Center)
Category: Media Arts
To support the Northwest Film and Video Festival and its tour throughout the Northwest. The festival showcases new work by media artists living in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia.

Eugene Symphony Association, Inc.
Category: Music
To support American Encounters: Steven Stucky. The series will include performances of Stucky's recent compositions, a radio broadcast, and educational activities by the composer.

Artists Repertory Theatre (aka Artists Rep)
Category: Musical Theatre
To support the development and production of Gracie and the Atom by Portland playwright and composer Christine McKinley. The production will be promoted through the theater's education and outreach program Actors to Go, which features student matinees, artists in classrooms, and post-show discussions.

Portland Opera Association Inc.
Category: Opera
To support new productions of a chamber opera triple-bill comprising Leonard Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti and Monteverdi's one-act operas Il Ballo Delle Ingrate and Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda. The artists will include the Portland Opera Studio Artists (POSA) and the POSA Chamber Opera.

Portland Taiko
Category: Presenting
To support the development and presentation of Ten Tiny Taiko Dances. The series of new works will be created in collaboration with invited choreographers, musicians, and performance artists.

Although the organization is based in Vancouver, there’s one more project that touches Oregon:

Confluences (aka The Confluence Project)
Category: Design
To support a landscape art installation by artist/architect Maya Lin at Celilo State Park. The installation will be located near The Dalles, Oregon, where one of North America's largest waterfalls was once located.

One final note: This post is an example of the new citizen's journalism that will soon be crushing "legacy media," which is what we're supposed to be calling that old fashioned stuff like newspapers. Frankly, I don't see why we need real reporters anyway. All I had to do was extract text from a press release, pull a list from a website, and do a quick Google search for census data. Any idiot could do it.

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