The National Endowment for the Arts has announced that is distributing just under $30 million in grants, and four North Texas arts organizations will benefit. The grants will be given to 633 arts groups nationwide.
Local recipients include:
Dallas Children’s Theater: $50,000
Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Association: $50,000
Van Cliburn Foundation: $25,000
The Writer’s Garret: $25,000
You can read the complete list of grant recipients here.
So where does that money go to? The NEA stipulates that the grants be used to, “support the preservation of jobs that are threatened by declines in philanthropic and other support during the current economic downturn.”
Writer’s Garret Executive Director Thea Temple says, “we weren’t lying at all about our necessity for it” when she filled out the application. And she says The Writer’s Garret has especially felt the economic pinch of late.
“This summer has been incredibly dry,” she said during a phone interview this afternoon. “There were multiple contracts and programs that we had counted on that come through every single summer and every single year for like the last 10 years, and we didn’t get a lot of them this year. They just didn’t exist.”
The result was about $40,000 in lost revenue that the organization was counting on.
Arts groups could apply for either a $25,000 grant or a $50,000 grant. So why didn’t the Writers Garret apply for the larger sum?
“We assumed that we’d be competing with groups such as, say, the Kennedy Center,” Temple says. “And we thought, ‘OK, if the Kennedy Center is getting $50,000, probably, then we should be asking for the $25,000 level’.”
Still, the money will go a long way. Most of it will be used on two jobs. One of the positions coordinates training for adult writers; the other helps place writers in schools to work with students. The direction provided by those two jobs will benefit many others.
“These two jobs are also helping between 75-150 writers and helping them have monetary opportunities,” she says.
UPDATE: Since posting this earlier this afternoon, I’ve heard back from some people over at Dallas Children’s Theater. Like the Writer’s Garret, DCT wasn’t lying about needing the money.
“Like other Dallas area arts groups, Dallas Children’s Theater is projecting a deficit at the end of the current fiscal year in August,” Executive Artistic Director Robyn Flatt writes in an e-mail message. “This American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant from the National Endowment for the Arts will help us keep artists employed. To date, we have eliminated a few administrative and production positions. Without this assistance, we would have to lay off more people.”
With a month and a half remaining in its fiscal year, there is still hope that the theater will close the books without a deficit.
“We’re hoping that this vote of confidence for DCT moves the community to help end our 25th Anniversary Season in the black,” DTC Board President Julie Hersh says in an e-mail message. “We still need additional funds to make that happen, so every contribution, no matter how small, helps. We’ve had a balanced budget since we moved into the Rosewood Center in 2002.”
If you’d like to contribute, visit the DCT Web site.