Good things come in small (and mid-sized) packages: Supporting the arts through a tough economy
|Visitors can sit inside or out at events held at the new home of Poets House in Battery Park.|
As incubators of talent and laboratories for the creative process, small and mid-sized nonprofit dance and theater groups are a vital part of the City’s arts world. But in these harsh economic times, some of these groups could end up on the endangered species list, or worse. The Trust does not typically make general support grants, but extraordinary times call for helping extraordinary arts organizations with their operating costs.
Grants totaling $1,000,000 were awarded to 21 groups that provide New Yorkers and global audiences with outstanding dance, theater, and literary experiences.
You may not remember his name, but you know his work. Shen Wei is the founder of Shen Wei Dance Arts and lead choreographer of the opening ceremony at the Beijing Olympics. This New York City company got a $60,000 grant to support its work with other artists, fusing theater, visual arts, Asian philosophy, and modern dance. The dance troupe will perform at the Park Avenue Armory, Judson Memorial Church, and the Brooklyn and Metropolitan museums. It will also hold experimental interdisciplinary art labs and then invite the public to participate in salons to discuss the creative process exhibited in the labs.
In 1985, award-winning dancer Ronald Brown founded Evidence, a company housed in his native Brooklyn. His choreography reflects the cultural cacophony of the human experience, blending dance forms from Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa, and combining these with kinetic storytelling, modern dance, and hip-hop. Works by Evidence explore the history of African Americans and pass on African culture to a new generation. A $60,000 grant will help this group reach a larger audience at various Brooklyn venues and workshops at Medger Evers College and the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation.
Celebrating Hispanic culture and alternating between English- and Spanish-language performances, Long Island City’s Thalia Spanish Theatre draws a diverse audience to plays and musicals, such as Requiem for Lorca, a Flamenco Nightingale, an homage to the Spanish poet Federico Lorca. A $50,000 grant will support this work, along with interactive musicals, a Three Kings Day celebration, and bilingual theater workshops for kids.
Poets House just moved to a bigger home in Battery Park City, which means more space for an extensive poetry library and audio archives. To make the most of this new space, the organization will use a $60,000 grant to offer readings, lectures, workshops, and seminars year round. It will hold a lecture series exploring the intersection of poetry and science; a children’s program connecting poetry to art, music, and nature; and a free lunch series that explores poetry’s evolution from Homer through post-modernism.
The following grants were also made:
Asian American Writers’ Workshop, $30,000 for readings, panel discussions, book launches, and writing workshops focused on Asian-American writers.
Atlantic Theater Company, $40,000 for the company’s new play development and production program.
Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, $20,000 for a performing arts group showcasing work addressing issues such as racism, sexism, and homophobia. Works include an adaptation of the Wizard of Oz set in the South Bronx and readings by poet Eileen Myles and playwright Sarah Schulman.
Buglisi Dance Theatre, $30,000 to support a contemporary dance company that will tour nationally and hold 40 performances, workshops, and other events for City audiences.
Chez Bushwick, $30,000 for a Brooklyn contemporary dance group that showcases emerging choreographers, hosts international residencies, and provides inexpensive rehearsal space.
Chocolate Factory Theater, $20,000 for a small theater in Queens that develops and presents experimental plays and contemporary dance.
Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana, $60,000 for a flamenco dance company which, in addition to regular performances, runs a “Flamenco in the Boros” program and is preserving the oral histories of flamenco in New York in partnership with the New York Public Library.
House Foundation for the Arts, $50,000 for an interdisciplinary performance group founded by Meredith Monk. The company is also starting an after-school program at LaGuardia High School to teach interdisciplinary performance.
Joyce Theater Foundation, $60,000 for dance presentations at the Joyce Soho.
La Mama Experimental Theatre Club, $60,000 to present 60 productions, workshops, and readings of new and developing plays.
LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, $60,000 to present and produce theater and dance at its theater at LaGuardia Community College. The Center’s LAB program also awards free rehearsal space to 12 dance and theater groups, giving them technical assistance, marketing support, and use of its theater.
Latino International Theater Festival of New York, $30,000 for a presenter of Latino theater. In addition to featuring artists from New York, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Spain, it will develop and stage readings of four plays by winners of its high school playwriting competition.
Pregones Touring Puerto Rican Theater Collection, $60,000 for a Bronx theater ensemble that performs and tours productions rooted in the Boricua tradition. In addition to its bilingual performances in its 130-seat theater, it will hold educational workshops, master classes, and host other performing companies.
651 Arts, $50,000 for African-American dance, theater, and literary performances at Brooklyn venues such as the BAM Harvey Theater and the Kumble Theater at Long Island University. In addition, the company will provide residencies to two artists, which include time working with youth in Brooklyn high schools.
Soho Repertory Theatre, $50,000 for a small theater that develops and produces experimental American plays.
STREB, $60,000 for a Brooklyn contemporary dance company known for its athleticism, acrobatics, and gravity-defying performances. Forty dance, trapeze, and aerial yoga classes each week are offered to the public by the STREB Lab for Action Mechanics.
Urban Bush Women, $60,000 for a Brooklyn African-American dance company. Just back from a tour of South America as an official cultural ambassador for the U.S. State Department, the troupe will be performing for local audiences at Harlem Stage and the Joyce, among other venues. Dancers will lead residencies at Queensborough Community College, Long Island University, and the 92nd Street Y.