A few notes on how recent arts grants will be used
By Heidi Masek firstname.lastname@example.org
Grants are a big part of how arts organizations keep doing what they do. The National Endowment for the Arts sent a total of $844,800 in grant funding to New Hampshire for fiscal year 2008. Most goes to the state’s Council on the Arts, which uses that and state appropriations to fund a variety of grants to New Hampshire artists and arts organizations.
But some NEA grant money is directly allotted to Granite State groups. For example, in the recent round of Access to Artistic Excellence grants, Dartmouth College’s Hopkins Center received $45,000 to support a series of visiting performing artists. The MacDowell Colony in Peterborough was awarded $30,000 to help with artist residencies, which include room and board for up to two months. The Old Man of the Mountain Legacy Fund in Concord received $10,000 for the “commissioning of a memorial to the Old Man of the Mountain, a beloved cliff-side formation that collapsed in 2003.” Artist Shelly Bradbury and designer Ron Magers “were selected through a national competition undertaken in partnership with the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts” to design it. Saint Anselm College was granted $10,000 to help with an exhibit called “A Figural Presence.”
Jonathan Bagg is the music director for Monadnock Music in Peterborough. One of the $10,000 NEA Access to Artistic Excellence grants will support Monadnock Music’s free community concerts this summer. The group also received another $10,000 grant from NEA’s “American Masterpieces” category. Bagg said they apply for the operations grant every year and normally receive that support. But the American Masterpieces grants rotate to different fields each year, such as dance or visual arts. In December, the NEA announced chamber music as the choice. “So, of course, all chamber music festivals in the country were hot onto that one,” Bagg said. Monadnock was lucky. The grant will support a week of concerts focused around American musical masters, with two main performances in Peterborough and free performances in surrounding towns. One of the major ones is called “On the Beaten Path,” and it is all percussion. “It’s a very carefully curated concert,” Bagg said. Another honors Elliot Carter and will be introduced by poet and critic Lloyd Schwartz. Monadnock will be hosting a lecture from Joseph Schwanter, a composer who lives in New Hampshire.
Bagg thinks the NEA was attracted to the proposal because Monadnock is collaborating with artofthestates.org. It’s produced to promote American music abroad. Bagg called the executive producer Joel Gordan an “audio genious.” Gordan cuts lectures, frequently from the composers themselves, into 10-minute “journeys” through contemporary music pieces, Baggs said. Art of the States exports radio programs, but Americans can also listen online.
The State Arts Council announced project grants worth $45,000 in May. Twenty groups had applied, requesting a total of $79,000, according to Cassandra Erickson, chief grants officer. A panel of experts reviews the applications and makes decisions, she said. They are matching funds, meaning that organizations need to show that they either have earned or raised through donations the same amount they are requesting through a grant.
The Concord Community Music School was granted funding for its 7th Annual Mandolin Festival. Bach with Verse will use a grant to bring double bass virtuoso Richard Hartshorne’s “One Man Show” to four state prisons.
One $5,000 grant went to the Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord in the pilot year of their Spotlight Café series. The performances utilize space other than the main auditorium, and grant funding allows the Cap Center to schedule “programming slightly out of our comfort zone,” according to Ric Waldman, director of programming and audience development.
The Henniker San Ramón Sister Community Project (www.hennikersanramon.org) received funding in that round to help support a student-created comic book about Henniker for a cultural exchange with the Nicaraguan community. Cartoonist Marek Barrett is heading the project and plans to lead comics creation workshops in the fall, with public displays in Henniker. The work will be translated, and then displayed in the winter in San Ramón, where more comics workshops will be held. Those will be translated to English and displayed in Henniker in the spring of 2009. That’s the tentative schedule.
Yellow Taxi Productions received $2,550, which will help them produce The Beard of Avon in Greeley Park in Nashua, free to the public this summer. Unfortunately, YTP and a few other Nashua groups including SummerFun and the Nashua Symphony Orchestra missed out on grants from the Ella Anderson trust this year, which they usually count on, according to Suzanne Delle of YTP. The deadline was changed.
“Because no income is generated” at YTP’s summer park show, they have to base the budget on what they think they can get for grants, she said. Losing out on the Ella Anderson grant means they are potentially out about $4,000. They are doing extra fundrasing and have found some corporate support. But they normally produce their summer show with $8,000 to $12,000, and this year they are looking at about a $5,000 budget. And the show requires period costumes and nine actors.