NEW YORK, Jan. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- The Rockefeller Foundation said today
that support for community-based arts and cultural projects, including dance,
theater, local art spaces and spiritual gatherings, is critical to fostering
the health of low-income neighborhoods and communities of color. It announced
grants of close to $1 million to 14 community arts and cultural organizations
throughout the United States.
"Culture and artistic expression serve as a barometer of the quality of
people's lives, and an agent for improving them," said Raymund Paredes,
director of the Creativity & Culture division at the Rockefeller Foundation.
"Arts and cultural organizations, like those that have received grants from us
today, play an essential role in preserving vital community traditions, and in
helping communities respond to the stresses of poverty, migration, violence
and discrimination. They succeed in making significant contributions even with
modest resources," Paredes added.
Paredes noted an expanding field of research, including work by the Urban
Institute that is supported by the Foundation, to capture the neighborhood
impact of artists, arts organizations and cultural participation on the social
health of communities. Preliminary research by the Urban Institute suggests
that arts and cultural initiatives can promote stronger civic engagement in
community life, as well as improved relationships and networks among members
of a community and greater local leadership and initiative in addressing
community problems and concerns.
All of the projects that received funding this year, with grants ranging
from $20,000 to $150,000, seek to help members of their communities recognize
and deal with their own cultural conditions and challenges.
For example, the Downtown Community Television Center in New York City
will assist disabled individuals develop skills for careers in broadcast
media, and help them raise awareness of issues of concern to the disabled
community through the production of programming for cable television and the
Internet. Appalshop, a community arts organization in Whitesburg, Ky., will
work to foster local dialogue and ease existing tensions around the presence
of two nearby maximum-security prisons, through an audio and digital portrait
of life behind the prisons' walls. The Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena,
Calif., is creating a project entitled "Manos de Esperanza" (Hands of Hope)
that will support the creative expression and aspirations of Hispanic
immigrants through photography, poetry writing, and work in textiles.
The grants were made through the Foundation's Partnerships Affirming
Community Transformation (PACT) program, a competitive program that makes
annual awards to community-based arts and cultural organizations. This year's
awardees were selected from communities in ten states, including Alaska,
California, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York,
Pennsylvania, and Texas. The PACT program received more than 220 applications
About The Foundation
The Rockefeller Foundation has been a supporter of the humanities since
the 1920s and of the arts since the 1930s. Through its Creativity & Culture
division, the Foundation promotes diverse creative expressions in the arts and
humanities and seeks to preserve and support the cultural heritage of people
in poor and marginalized communities.
PACT 2001 Grantees
651 Arts (Brooklyn, N.Y), to address issues of cultural identity and
gentrification in four Brooklyn neighborhoods, through a series of community
gatherings entitled "Hairparties."
Alutiiq Heritage Foundation (Kodiak, Alaska), to encourage youth
understanding of local heritage by supporting workshops in mask- and
tool-making, led by masters in the ancient arts.
Appalshop (Whitesburg, Ky.), to foster community discussion and ease
tensions around two nearby maximum-security prisons, through an audio and
digital portrait of life behind the prisons' walls.
Armory Center for the Arts (Pasadena, Calif.) for "Hands of Hope," a
project that will foster artistic expression among local Hispanic immigrant
communities through textile work, photography and poetry writing.
Downtown Community Television Center (New York, N.Y.) to assist disabled
people develop skills for careers in the broadcast media and produce
programming for cable television and the Internet.
Elders Share the Arts (Brooklyn, N.Y.) for "Crossing the Boulevard," a
project that will assemble the personal histories and unique perspectives of
the multi-ethnic inhabitants of Queens Boulevard and its environs.
Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center (San Antonio, Texas) to foster community
expression and dialogue in a west side neighborhood of the city, led by the
renowned mural artist Jesse Trevino.
Missouri Historical Society (St. Louis, Mo.) to help instill in young
people an appreciation of local African-American history and traditions
through an oral history project in five of the city's middle schools.
Philadelphia Mural Arts Advocates (Philadelphia, Pa.) to provide
inner-city youth, who do not have access to arts education, the opportunity to
work with artists on mural creation and restoration, and expose them to local
museums and galleries.
Omaha Theater Company for Young People (Omaha, Neb.) for the "Pride
Players Project," that will assist gay, lesbian and bisexual teenagers in
creating theatrical performances that examine their cultural fears and
Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (Los Angeles, Calif.) for a project
in the Figueroa Corridor, that will foster cultural expression within the
local immigrant community, through training in graphic design and
University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, Mich.) for the Prison Creative Arts
Project, that will assist criminal offenders in the transition to civilian
life through mentorships, arts workshops and community exhibitions of their
Visual Communications (Los Angeles, Calif.) to document the past and
present-day lives and struggles of the Asian Pacific American labor movement
in Los Angeles, culminating in a digital video documentary.
White Earth Reservation (White Earth, Minn.) to foster community
discussion and artistic work examining the Anishinaabe Tribe's relationship
with wild rice, a sacred grain and icon in their tribal history.
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SOURCE Rockefeller Foundation