Arts Council announces Creative Inspiration grants

The Arts Council of the Valley has awarded $12,000 in Creative Inspiration grants to local artists and arts organizations – and it wasn’t easy.
“We had an extremely competitive process this cycle. The review panel had a difficult time allocating limited funding amongst many quality grants,” executive director Kai Degner said. “We were excited to see the community respond to our first themed grant cycle with grants related to the literary arts,” Degner said.

Awardees from the most recent grant cycle included:

– Carol Brook-Quintero was awarded $1,500 to complete “Hollywood in Harrisonburg.” She will offer six weeks of classes at the Harrisonburg Children’s Museum to teach students to write screenplays and transform them into films. The students will then audition actors, film the short screenplay, and edit the film. There will be a public showing of the video to which participants and their parents are invited.

– Local artists Greg Stewart, Cyndi Gusler and Scott Keen were awarded $1,500 for “Flexible Geography.” Through Installation, Intervention, and Performance Art, “Flexible Geography” will generate community awareness, dialogue, and response to neglected, under-utilized, or abused land in the city of Harrisonburg. The project will also help community residents imagine alternatives to current practices in food production, distribution of information, and forms of commerce.

– The Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival was awarded $1,000 for the performance of Handel’s “Samson.” The Bach Festival will perform Handel’s oratorio, “Samson,” with four nationally recognized vocal solos, a professional orchestra, and a volunteer chorus of professional and amateur singers. The oratorio, composed in 1743, is based on the Biblical story of Samson, with text by Newburgh Hamilton, and creatively uses literary art woven together with music to depict a lengthy and well-known story.

– Michael Trocchia was awarded $500 to complete “A Celebration of Stephen Crane’s The Blue Hotel.” At the center of the project is the world premiere production of Stephen Crane’s The Blue Hotel, adapted for the stage and directed by Trocchia. The project will include an original score for the production written and recorded by local musicians, an exhibit of paintings inspired by Crane’s original story and created by local artists, a talk given by a Stephen Crane scholar, and a short film/trailer to promote the production.

– The Shenandoah Council of the Arts was awarded $1,500 to complete “Nights of Poetry and Song: Students on Stage.” Poets and musicians from Harrisonburg and Rockingham County schools and colleges will present a series of ten performances, November 2008 through May 2009 at OASIS Gallery. A reception for the students will follow the event.

– Newbridges Immigrant Resource Center was awarded $1,500 to complete “La Posada: The Miraculous Journey to Bethlehem.” Area Mennonite, Latino and Russian communities will collaborate using music and drama to enact the traditional Latino story of Christmas called La Posada. Vignettes from the journey of Joseph and Mary will be reenacted and interspersed with Christmas music from three traditions (Spanish, Russian, and English).

– First Night Harrisonburg was awarded $1,500 for “El Noche Primero.” First Night, in conjunction with the Latino Outreach office at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, will support three performances by the Mexican band Antrapada Musical, two performances of Latino folk dances with lessons available to First Night attendees, and the Traditional Latino Children’s New Year, which includes children working together to make and burst New Year piñadas at 10 p.m.

– Big Brothers Big Sisters of Harrisonburg-Rockingham County was awarded $1,500 for “Exploring Drama: Theatre Arts.” With this program, Big Brothers Big Sisters will introduce youth in kindergarten through high school to a variety of theater-arts performances. Matches will attend local theater performances by James Madison University, Thomas Harrison Middle School, and Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton. For many of the children, this will be a first exposure to the arts.

– Massanutten Regional Library was awarded $1,500 for “The Stuart Little Read.” Based off of the Big Read Model designed by the National Endowment for the Arts, the library seeks to inspire Valley families to come together as readers and lifelong learners through a community-wide reading- and arts-based initiative of free programs and events centered around E.B. White’s classic children’s novel, Stuart Little.

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