National Endowment for the Arts Grants in Bethlehem, PA

imagesThe National Endowment for the Arts just announced their 2013 Spring Grant Awards. The number of grants for the commonwealth of PA: 30 with a total dollar amount of: $975,000. Of that, $75,000 of federal tax dollars are coming to Bethlehem next year to support our vibrant arts scene.

Citizens should know that these dollars are pennies per capita spending. They are HUGE investments in our youth. Each grant supports the work of notable arts organizations who provide arts education programming in a time when schools are cutting arts and music programs and teachers to balance state budgets. Activities that support arts IN the schools for each organization are highlighted below. However, these grants don’t cover the total budget needed to make this activities happen. The NEA grant requires a $1-$1 match for each proposal. The match usually comes from corporate sponsorship, or organizational revenue (like ticket sales). And that still doesn’t cover all the expenses. That’s why we all should support the arts and cultural organizations that keep our community spirit alive.

The NEA grant is not a gift. It’s an investment in our community. If we like our community to have a high quality of life, support the creative development of our future work force, and be that part of economic development, then celebrate the hard work it took the grant writers who achieved this success. Winning an NEA grant is not easy. Judgement by artistic and arts administrative peers is fierce. These organizations got the support because they meet a national standard of excellence.

Happy Tuesday, indeed.

ArtsQuest $50,000 
To support RiverJazz. The year-long celebration will feature activities such as jazz concerts, a high school jazz band competition, documentary screenings, visual art gallery exhibits, a site-specific dance piece, workshops, lectures, and a month-long jazz festival.

Bach Choir of Bethlehem $15,000 Bethlehem, PA
To support educational programs for adults, children, and intergenerational groups including the commissioning and premiere of a new children’s opera. The project will include Bach to School assembly programs for elementary through high school students, Family Concerts incorporating student and professional guest artists and featuring the new work by composer Chuck Holdeman titled Young Meister Bach, and the free Bach at Noon concert series of Bach cantatas.

Touchstone  Theatre $10,000 
To support the Young Playwrights’ Lab, an after-school theater arts program. Professional theater artists guide students at schools in the Bethlehem and Allentown School Districts of Pennsylvania through the process of creating an original, one-act play.