#PressRelease

Jeff Bell Named Director of the North Carolina Arts Council

North Carolina Arts Council

Friday, May 13, 2022

Raleigh, N.C. – The North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources announced today that Jeff Bell has been named as the next director of the North Carolina Arts Council. Bell currently serves as executive director of the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park and Museum in Wilson and Arts Innovation coordinator for the city of Wilson. Bell brings more than two decades of arts experience to the role, including leadership positions at 21c Museum Hotel in Durham, CAM Raleigh, and Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.

“The Department of Natural and Cultural Resources is excited to announce Jeff Bell as the next director of the North Carolina Arts Council as we continue to build and strengthen arts infrastructure across our state,” said Secretary Reid Wilson. “Jeff Bell’s hands-on experience in using the arts to stimulate creativity, enhance quality of life, and spur local economic development have prepared him to ably lead the North Carolina Arts Council as it helps artists and arts organizations thrive and connect all North Carolinians to the arts.”

Founded in 1967 with the democratic vision of “arts for all citizens,” the NC Arts Council sustains and grows the arts for the benefit of North Carolinians and their communities. The NC Arts Council strives to deliver resources for arts development to all 100 counties of the state through programs that are fair, transparent, and accountable. The Arts Council is an agency of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

“I have worked with Jeff on many projects across Eastern North Carolina and have seen his impact on the state’s art resources,” said Stephen Hill, chair of the NC Arts Council board. “He is a good leader, and he will be a great asset to the North Carolina Arts Council and the whole state art scene. I look forward to working with Jeff as we continue to make North Carolina the most creative state in the country.”

“I have seen first-hand the tremendous impact the North Carolina Arts Council has on our local communities,” said Bell. “The arts in North Carolina are incredibly strong, one of our state’s greatest assets, and it is vital that everyone has access to and can benefit from what the arts have to offer. I am honored to work with a committed and driven staff as we move forward to expand opportunities for artists and arts organizations.”

Bell is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington with degrees in Art History and Studio Art. He earned a Master’s in Fine Art from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Bell is a sculptor and has exhibited his works across the state. He currently lives in Wilson, N.C. with his wife, Amanda Duncan, and their children, Finnegan, Teague, Cullen, and Tegan. Bell will start his position June 13.

About The North Carolina Arts Council

The North Carolina Arts Council builds on our state’s long-standing love of the arts, leading the way to a more vibrant future. The Arts Council is an economic catalyst, fueling a thriving nonprofit creative sector that generates $2.12 billion in annual direct economic activity. The Arts Council also sustains diverse arts expression and traditions while investing in innovative approaches to art-making. The North Carolina Arts Council has proven to be a champion for youth by cultivating tomorrow’s creative citizens through arts education. http://www.NCArts.org

About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state's natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. NCDNCR's mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state's history, conserving the state's natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development.
 
NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, three science museums, three aquariums and Jennette's Pier, 41 state parks and recreation areas, the N.C. Zoo, the N.C. Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, the African American Heritage Commission, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, and the Division of Land and Water Stewardship. For more information, please visit www.ncdcr.gov.

High School students nationwide compete in 2022 poetry out loud national semifinals

North Carolina Arts Council

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

For months, students from all across the country have been memorizing and reciting the words of poets such as Tracy K. Smith, Ilya Kaminsky, and Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, among others, all in the hopes of being named the 2022 Poetry Out Loud™ National Champion, which includes a grand prize of $20,000. The semifinals will be broadcast Sunday, May 1, 2022, at Arts.gov/Poetry-Out-Loud.

After participating in local and state competitions, one student from each of the 50 states, American Samoa, District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands—55 total—are advancing to the Poetry Out Loud National Semifinals. From those semifinals, nine students will advance to the Poetry Out Loud National Finals, broadcast on Sunday, June 5, 2022, at Arts.gov/Poetry-Out-Loud. In total, $50,000 in awards and school stipends will be distributed as part of the national finals.

Poetry Out Loud is a partnership of the National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Foundation, and the state and jurisdictional arts agencies. This national program encourages the study of great poetry by offering free educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition for high school students, helping them to master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life. Read the NEA's complete press release here

Meet North Carolina State Champion Gabriella Burwell


NC Poetry Out Loud State Champion, Gabriella Burwell | Knightdale High School

Congratulations to our 2022 NC State Champion Gabriella Burwell from Knightdale High School! Streaming May 1 on NEA's Poetry Out Loud page, Gabriella will be competing in the first round of the semifinals, beginning at 12 p.m.

Fun Facts about Gabriella

  • Her favorite poet is Emily Dickinson "because of her conviction and her ability to stand out and be free."
  • Her favorite pastime is anything within the arts.
  • She is involved with dance and theater and is a member of the Knightdale High School Dance Company and International Thespians.
  • Her post-graduation plans are to hopefully attend Elon University.
  • Her desired major is Political Science. 
  • She is also interested in minoring in Performing Arts. 

NEA announces over $33 million in project funding nationally, including $540,000 for North Carolina arts organizations and artists

North Carolina Arts Council

Thursday, February 3, 2022

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced its first round of recommended awards for the coming fiscal year, totaling nearly $33.2 million, on Jan. 11. Of that amount, $540,000 was awarded to 28 North Carolina grant recipients from arts organizations, universities, theater companies, discipline-specific festivals, and museums.

“These National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grants underscore the resilience of our nation’s artists and arts organizations, will support efforts to provide access to the arts, and rebuild the creative economy,” said NEA Acting Chair Ann Eilers in a press release. “The supported projects demonstrate how the arts are a source of strength and well-being for communities and individuals and can open doors to conversations that address complex issues of our time.” Organizations in every state in the nation, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, will receive federal funding for arts projects in this round of fiscal-year 2022 funding.

Among North Carolina grantees, Bennett College, a private historically Black liberal arts college for women in Greensboro, will receive a $20,000 Theater Grants for Arts Projects to support the Black Lives Matter Theater Festival. This is Bennett College’s first grant award from the NEA. This project will establish a collaborative theater festival in Greater Greensboro, centered on Black lives and experiences in America. According to the NEA’s website, "outreach to HBCUs is a direct priority of the National Endowment for the Arts".

Learn more about what Bennett College will do with their grant money, as well as the full list of North Carolina grantees in the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources' press release.

NEA Awards American Rescue Plan Grants to 10 North Carolina Arts Organizations

North Carolina Arts Council

Thursday, January 27, 2022

The National Endowment for the Arts recently announced $57,750,000 in grant funding from the American Rescue Plan to arts organizations to help the arts and cultural sector recover from the pandemic. We are pleased to share that arts organizations in North Carolina, including The Mint Museum, Elsewhere Museum, NC Folk Festival 2020, and Saint Augustine's University were selected to receive grants. They will use this funding to save jobs and to fund operations and facilities, health and safety supplies, and marketing and promotional efforts to encourage attendance and participation. Read more about this announcement and the complete list of recommended organizations [link to NEA press release].

See a complete list of North Carolina arts organizations awarded ARP funds below:

Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center
Asheville
$50,000

Alliance for American Quilts Inc, 
Cary
$50,000

Goodyear Arts, Inc.
Charlotte
$100,000

Mint Museum of Art, Inc. (aka Mint Museums)
Charlotte
$150,000

Elsewhere Incorporated
Greensboro
$150,000 

North Carolina Folk & Heritage Festivals
Greensboro
$150,000 

Saint Augustine's University
Raleigh
$50,000

Culture Mill, Inc (aka Culture Mill)
Saxapahaw
$50,000 

Cape Fear Community College (aka Board of Trustees of Cape Fear Community College)
Wilmington
$150,000 

 

About the National Endowment for the Arts
Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. To learn more, visit arts.gov.

Year in Review: The North Carolina Arts Council Awarded Almost $8 Million in Grant Funds in FY21-22

North Carolina Arts Council

Monday, January 24, 2022

RALEIGH, N.C. (January 24, 2022) In its continued effort to support the arts sector through the pandemic, the North Carolina Arts Council distributed $7.9 million in grant funds to arts organizations and artists across the state in FY21-22. The source of these funds was a combination of state, federal, and private dollars. The Arts Council awarded 378 grants in 12 categories.

"Across the board, arts organizations report significant losses in earned revenue, contributed income, and corporate sponsorships since March of 2020. Grants have helped stabilize North Carolina’s arts sector so that it can continue providing public good to the people of our state," said Vicki Vitiello, the agency's Director of Operations. "Social cohesion, enhanced engagement in education, economic stimulus, well-being, and resiliency are examples of tangible benefits provided by the arts. I believe we need these things now more than ever."

The Arts Council had two overarching priorities for grant-making this funding cycle: (1) to distribute flexible funding as widely as possible while implementing equitable methods, and (2) to support projects that benefit underserved communities in the state. 

Guidelines and application deadlines for grants in FY22-23 are available on the Arts Council's website. Awards are based on published criteria and are recommended by panels of civic leaders and arts experts.

Click here to download the complete list of grants.

About the North Carolina Arts Council

Founded in 1967 with the democratic vision of “arts for all citizens,” the North Carolina Arts Council sustains and grows the arts for the benefit of North Carolinians and their communities. The Arts Council strives to deliver resources for arts development to all 100 counties of the state through programs that are fair, transparent, and accountable. The Arts Council is an agency of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. A 24-member citizen board, appointed by the Governor, advises the Secretary of the Department on policies, programs, and research that support arts development across North Carolina. Learn more at NCArts.org.

About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state's natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. NCDNCR's mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state's history, conserving the state's natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development.

NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, two science museums, three aquariums and Jennette's Pier, 39 state parks and recreation areas, the N.C. Zoo, the nation's first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archeology, along with the Division of Land and Water Stewardship. For more information, please call (919) 807-7300 or visit www.ncdcr.gov.

NEA Announces American Rescue Plan Grants to Three N.C. Local Arts Councils

North Carolina Arts Council

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Washington, DC—The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) today announced American Rescue Plan (ARP) grants totaling $550,000 will be distributed to three local arts councils in North Carolina for subgranting to help the arts and cultural sector recover from the pandemic. The agencies will use this funding to distribute grants in their communities to eligible recipients to save jobs and to fund operations and facilities, health and safety supplies, and marketing and promotional efforts to encourage attendance and participation. Below is a list of grants to North Carolina local arts councils:

Arts Council of Fayetteville, Fayetteville

$150,000

Emerge Gallery Art Center (Pitt County Arts Council at Emerge), Greenville

$250,000

Arts Council of Wilson, Inc., Wilson

$150,000

Nationwide, the NEA plans to award more than $20 million to 66 local arts agencies. The full list of grantees, sorted by city/state, is available on arts.gov.

Local arts agencies play a central role in increasing public access to the arts, supporting artists and arts organizations, and enhancing the quality of life in their communities. Recipient agencies are geographically diverse and range from the Arts Foundation of Tucson and Southern Arizona and the Arts Council of Wilson in North Carolina, to the Regional Arts & Culture Council in Portland, Oregon, and Ohio’s Arts Commission of Greater Toledo. This funding will help local arts agencies to support arts and cultural organizations in both urban and rural areas. Grant awards are for $150,000, $250,000, or $500,000, and do not require cost share/matching funds.

“The NEA’s significant investment in local arts agencies is a key element in helping the arts and culture sector recover and reopen, while ensuring that that American Rescue Plan funding is distributed equitably,” said Ann Eilers, NEA’s acting chair. “These grants recognize the vital role of local arts agencies and will allow them to help rebuild local economies and contribute to the well-being of our communities.”

This is the second of three installments of the NEA’s American Rescue Plan funding. Last April, the NEA announced that 40 percent of its $135 million in ARP funding would be allocated to 62 state, jurisdictional, and regional arts organizations for regranting through their respective programs. The third installment of ARP funding to arts organizations to support their own operations will be announced in early 2022.

As with other NEA grantmaking programs, the eligible applications for the American Rescue Plan Local Arts Agencies Subgranting opportunity were reviewed by advisory panels. Each panel comprised a diverse group of arts experts and other individuals with broad knowledge in the areas under review. The panels’ findings were forwarded to the National Council on the Arts, which then reviewed the applications and submitted recommendations to the chair of the National Endowment for the Arts for review and a final decision.

The NEA recognizes that the financial needs of the arts and culture field far outweigh the available funds that will be awarded through these programs and encourages eligible organizations to explore the agency’s other grant opportunities which can be found on arts.gov.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit arts.gov to learn more.

 

N.C. Arts Council Awards Statewide Initiative Grant to N.C. Central University’s Teaching Artist Certificate Program

North Carolina Arts Council

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

The North Carolina Arts Council has awarded the Teaching Artist Certificate Program of North Carolina Central University (NCCU) a statewide initiative grant.

“The North Carolina Central University Teaching Artist Certificate Program is honored to be a recipient of the North Carolina Arts Council Statewide Initiative Grant,” said Lenora Helm Hammonds, D.M.A, NCCU associate professor and director of the Teaching Artist Certificate program. “The grant further underscores the importance of teaching artists in North Carolina and how their work is paramount to cultivating thriving communities and art-rich experiences for youth, adults, and families.”

Established in 2017, NCCU's Teaching Artist Certificate Program offers comprehensive, online job-readiness training customized for artists whose work is learner-centered and focused on community engagement. Students learn skills such as how to design and implement arts experiences for general audiences, manage auditorium performances, engage in school residencies, and develop cultural arts programs for educational and community-based organizations. Graduates of the program have found placements in schools, arts organizations, hospitals, and social service agencies.

“The NCCU Teaching Artist Certificate Program experience was an eye opener especially when learning the various teaching theories. This information provided depth and a more holistic approach when teaching my students,” said jazz and gospel musician Lydia Salett Dudley, a 2021 graduate of the program. “I am implementing the projects and presentations that we prepared during the courses as a part of my curriculum teaching at-risk youth in a weekly program.”

The grant award will help the program enhance its curriculum by paying guest artists to engage with students, develop teaching artist partnerships with communities across the state, promote statewide enrollment, and raise awareness about the teaching artist profession. NCCU is accepting applications for the program; the deadline is Dec. 1.

For decades, the North Carolina Arts Council has invested in teaching artists by providing grants to schools and nonprofit organizations for artist programs that serve preK-12 students and other learners across the state. Many of North Carolina’s teaching artists have also benefited from Artist Support Grants, funded by the Arts Council and administered at the local level. From museums and schools to senior care facilities and prisons, teaching artists work as educators in a variety of contexts. Facilitating creative experiences through activities such as workshops, lectures/demonstrations, and community and school-based residencies, teaching artists connect people to the learning, healing, and life-affirming power of the arts.

“Teaching artists really do like being in community and using the arts to build resilience, process trauma and social isolation, and promote community wellness,” says the Arts Council’s Arts in Education Program Director Kathleen Collier. “NCCU’s program provides job readiness skills for artists across the state who want to develop meaningful arts experiences for a variety of audiences. It also addresses the lack of diversity and access to training in this profession. Because it’s an online program, it can be really convenient for artists who have full-time jobs or who don’t live near the university.”

The Arts Council's partnership with NCCU's Teaching Artist Certificate Program began in 2020, when the agency collaborated with the program’s director, Lenora Helm Hammonds, D.M.A., to facilitate a biweekly online forum: Teaching Artist Tuesdays. The series of lessons provided instruction and support for North Carolina’s teaching artists as they navigated the COVID-19 landscape. That same year, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded $60,000 to the program for operating costs, scholarships, and visits by guest artists.

“The Teaching Artist Certificate program plays a major role in North Carolina Central University’s efforts to promote the arts and art education in our communities, said Carlton Wilson, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities at NCCU. “The support provided by the N.C. Arts Council will allow us to expand our outreach and increase accessibility for those who will benefit from the certification.”

For more information about the NCCU Teaching Artist Certificate Program, please visit here or contact Dr. Lenora Helm Hammonds at LHelm@nccu.edu.

To apply to NCCU’s Teaching Artist Certificate Program, please visit this link.

About North Carolina Central University
North Carolina Central University (NCCU) prepares students to succeed in the global marketplace. Consistently ranked as a top Historically Black College or University, NCCU’s flagship programs in the sciences, education, law, business, nursing and the arts prepare students for professions ranging from clinical research to information science. Founded in 1910, NCCU remains committed to diversity in and access to higher education. With a mission to investigate health disparities, the university’s two state-of-the-art research institutes give students real-world experience working alongside faculty researchers and pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry professionals. The university’s Strategic Plan 2019-2024, Charting a New Landscape for Student-Center Success, focuses on four areas: student access and success; innovation, research and entrepreneurship; collaboration and partnerships; and institutional sustainability. Visit www.nccu.edu. 

About the North Carolina Arts Council
The North Carolina Arts Council builds on our state’s long-standing love of the arts, leading the way to a more vibrant future. The Arts Council is an economic catalyst, fueling a thriving nonprofit creative sector that generates $2.12 billion in annual direct economic activity. The Arts Council also sustains diverse arts expression and traditions while investing in innovative approaches to art-making. The North Carolina Arts Council has proven to be a champion for youth by cultivating tomorrow’s creative citizens through arts education. NCArts.org

About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state's natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. NCDNCR's mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state's history, conserving the state's natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development.
 
NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, three science museums, three aquariums and Jennette's Pier, 41 state parks and recreation areas, the N.C. Zoo, the N.C. Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, the African American Heritage Commission, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, and the Division of Land and Water Stewardship. For more information, please visit www.ncdcr.gov

2021 North Carolina Appalachian Folklife Apprenticeships Announced

North Carolina Arts Council

Thursday, September 9, 2021

RALEIGH, N.C. — The North Carolina Arts Council announced today that five traditional artist teams from western North Carolina have received the third annual North Carolina Appalachian Folklife Apprenticeships awards.

Richard Bowman, of Mount Airy, will mentor Chad Ritchie, of Taylorsville, in the old-time fiddle tunes he learned from his community in southwestern Virginia and the Round Peak area of North Carolina. Among a shrinking number of his generation who grew up immersed in his region’s music culture, Bowman is a highly regarded old-time and dance fiddler with first-place awards both in individual and band competitions at fiddlers’ conventions such as those at Galax, Mt. Airy, and Fiddlers Grove. His band, the Slate Mountain Ramblers, has been a mainstay of North Carolina’s old-time dance and festival culture for three decades. His apprentice, Chad Ritchie, was raised in a family of bluegrass musicians and founded the Alexander Junior Appalachian Musician program in 2016 to teach old-time music to school-age children in his community. Bowman will teach in the traditional way that he learned: by ear, knee-to-knee, at full speed. Of Ritchie, Bowman says: “I can tell he is serious about learning and trust he will preserve this music and the tradition of sharing it as it was shared with me.”

Luthier and old-time musician Joe Thrift, of Elkin, will mentor Ben Masterson, of Winston-Salem, and Kelly Sivy, of Elkin, in instrument-building and the old-time music tradition of the Round Peak/Surry County region. Thrift was raised in a family of instrument-builders and church musicians in Winston Salem, North Carolina. He was introduced to old-time music and violin-making by local luthiers such as Dave Sturgill and Albert Hash, and continued his study of the craft in England. He is one of the few modern fiddlers whose original compositions have entered the old-time repertoire. Sivy, who relocated to North Carolina from Fairbanks, AK, to become a luthier, and Masterson, who works as a public historian and traditional woodworker at Old Salem Museums & Gardens, sought out Thrift’s mentorship and quickly became committed students. The trio will train in traditional hand tool techniques used for the most popular instruments played by folk musicians today, and will document Thrift’s personal stories of the Surry County region and its music culture. About entering the communities of traditional music and craftsmanship, Sivy says: “What I appreciate most of all in these pursuits is the culture of mentorship between individuals, within families, and across generations, which has resulted in the emergence, and, with luck, preservation, of centuries-long traditions.”

Josh Goforth, of Marshall, will mentor Tim McWilliams, of Asheville, in the traditional music of the Madison and Buncombe county region. Raised in a family that maintained singing and fiddle tunes as part of the rhythm of everyday life, Goforth is a respected teacher and performer of ballads, shape-note songs, storytelling, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, guitar, and bass. Tim McWilliams will focus on the guitar and banjo styles of Madison and Buncombe Counties and the music of Byard Ray, Marcus Martin, the Freeman family, Lee Wallin, Jerry Adams, and Dale McCoy. Goforth knew these people personally and McWilliams hopes to root his own style and teaching in their unique styles. McWilliams is a music teacher himself and a descendant of Appalachian out-migrants. He says, “To achieve my goals of becoming a resource in my community, a tradition bearer, and a teacher that aspiring musicians can come to in order to gain a complete understanding of the traditional music of Appalachia, I have to learn at the feet of a master.”

Rodney Sutton, Willard Watson, and Melissa Edd dancing on a porch
Apprentice Willard Watson III stands between Rodney Sutton and his partner Melissa Edd. Sutton will mentor Watson in the dancing style of his great-grandfather. Photo by Zoe van Buren.

Rodney Sutton, of Asheville, will mentor Willard Watson III, of Boone, in the flatfoot dancing style of Watson’s great-grandfather, Willard Watson Sr., and in the percussive dance styles of Sutton’s long-time dance group, the Green Grass Cloggers. Sutton and the Green Grass Cloggers learned steps from Willard Watson Sr. and Robert Dotson, both of Watauga County. Watson and Dotson practiced dance styles picked up from local community dances—complicated styles that take a long time to master. Sutton devoted years fine-tuning his own ability to perform these styles and teach them. He met Willard Watson III in 2014 and shared with him memories of his great-grandfather going back to the 1970s. Knowledge of Watson’s dancing techniques passed out of the family for several generations. Working with Sutton, Willard Watson III will have an opportunity to resume his great-grandfather’s legacy.

Luthier James Condino, of Asheville, will mentor Zach Dease, of Advance, in the traditional crafting of stringed instruments, particularly guitars. Together they will focus on using locally sourced North Carolina wood in response to the growing unsustainability of the global wood market on which the luthier craft relies. Raised in a family of builders and makers, Condino has been making instruments for more than 40 years. He began mentoring Dease in 2016. Dease hopes to hone his guitar-building skill in service to his community and congregation in Davie County, where he is a minister in the Moravian church, a denomination with deep historical and cultural ties to the Winston-Salem area. “Guitar- building helps me express my faith,” Dease says. “Most of the guitars I have built and am currently building have been for Moravians. Each guitar lays the foundation for connections to new people, thus introducing them not only to me, but also to this regional art form.”

The N.C. Appalachian Folklife Apprenticeships program, launched in 2019, supports 12-month apprenticeships in the folk and traditional arts of the many cultural communities within the state’s Appalachian Regional Commission counties. South Arts funds the program through its In These Mountains: Central Appalachian Folk Arts & Culture Initiative.

Mentor artists are tradition-bearers committed to the perpetuation of a traditional art form or practice of their cultural heritage. Mentor artists are recognized by fellow artists and their own community members as skilled and dedicated practitioners. Apprentices are dedicated students whom mentor artists have chosen for a sustained period of study in their art form or practice. Throughout the apprenticeship, the mentors and apprentices document and publicly present their work together within their communities.

For more information about the Folklife & Traditional Arts program of the N.C. Arts Council, visit https://www.ncarts.org/discover/folk-traditional-arts.

About the North Carolina Arts Council
The North Carolina Arts Council builds on our state’s long-standing love of the arts, leading the way to a more vibrant future. The Arts Council is an economic catalyst, fueling a thriving nonprofit creative sector that generates $2.12 billion in annual direct economic activity. The Arts Council also sustains diverse arts expression and traditions while investing in innovative approaches to art-making. The North Carolina Arts Council has proven to be a champion for youth by cultivating tomorrow’s creative citizens through arts education. NCArts.org

About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state's natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. NCDNCR's mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state's history, conserving the state's natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development.
 
NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, three science museums, three aquariums and Jennette's Pier, 41 state parks and recreation areas, the N.C. Zoo, the N.C. Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, the African American Heritage Commission, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, and the Division of Land and Water Stewardship. For more information, please visit www.ncdcr.gov.

NEA Offers Relief Funds to Help Arts and Culture Sector Recover from Pandemic

North Carolina Arts Council

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 23, 2021) The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is announcing two programs to distribute American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds. These programs are open to nonprofit arts and culture organizations and local arts agencies, regardless of whether they have received NEA funding in the past. This is a change from previous emergency funding requirements at the NEA and significantly expands access to federal funds for the arts and culture sector. The NEA encourages applications from first-time applicants, and will offer workshops, question-and-answer sessions, and other resources for those new to federal funding. 

The NEA received $135 million in the American Rescue Plan Act, representing a strong commitment from President Biden and Congress to the arts, and a recognition of the value of the arts and culture sector to the nation’s economy. On April 29th, the NEA announced that it was directing 40 percent of that allocation to 62 state, jurisdictional, and regional arts organizations.  

The NEA will award the remaining 60 percent of the funding in competitive grants to support jobs in the arts and culture sector and keep the doors open to nonprofit organizations and local arts agencies nationwide. 

“A primary goal for the National Endowment for the Arts is to incorporate principles of equity, access, and inclusion in its implementation of the ARP grant program,” said NEA Acting Chairman Ann Eilers. “These efforts constitute a critical step in the agency’s engagement with communities traditionally underserved by government.”  

Welcoming Applications

The Arts Endowment is encouraging applications from a variety of eligible organizations including those:

  • That serve populations whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by ethnicity, economics, geography, or disability; 
  • With small and medium-sized budgets and from rural to urban parts of the country; and
  • That are applying to the Arts Endowment for the first time.

The NEA recognizes that some organizations face barriers in accessing grant funding. Staff is working to ensure that all applicants receive the support they need to navigate every step of the application and grant-fulfillment process. Arts Endowment staff are developing a suite of technical assistance tools including videos, webinars, and FAQs. These are posted on the Applicant Resources pages for arts and culture organizations and for local arts agencies subgranting with additional resources rolling out in the coming weeks. 

In addition, and for the first time, the agency will provide language access by translating key documents and technical assistance materials. Written translation will be in Spanish and Simplified Chinese and interpretation of videos and webinars will be in Spanish and American Sign Language. However, applications still must be submitted in English as required by government regulations. Translated materials including this press release, guidelines, FAQs and technical assistance materials will be available in July.

Funding Details

There are two funding opportunities available—one for arts and culture organizations, and one for local arts agencies to subgrant. Local arts agency applicants must be an arts agency that is a unit of city or county government or a nonprofit arts service organization officially designated to operate as an arts agency on behalf of its local government. All applications will be reviewed by panelists from around the country, including artists, administrators, and laypeople from diverse backgrounds. No grants will be awarded on a “first come, first served” basis.

Eligible organizations that received a CARES Act grant, funding from other NEA programs, and/or from other federal agencies may apply to either ARP program as long as there are no overlapping budget cost items.

Arts and Culture Organizations

To be eligible to apply, an organization must be a nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3), U.S. organization; a unit of state or local government; or a federally recognized tribal community or tribe. Applicants may be arts organizations, local arts agencies, arts service organizations, local education agencies (school districts), and other organizations that can help advance the goals of the Arts Endowment.

Grants to eligible organizations can fund staff salaries, fees/stipends for artists and/or contractual personnel to provide services for specific activities as part of organizational operations, facilities costs, costs associated with health and safety supplies for staff and/or visitors/audiences, and/or marketing and promotion costs. 

Applicants will request a grant amount for either $50,000, $100,000 or $150,000. Cost share/matching funds are not required. Applicants should select a grant amount that reflects their overall organization size and internal capacity. The NEA anticipates making approximately 800 awards, although there is no pre-determined number of awards per grant amount. 

The application deadline for arts and cultural organizations is August 12, 2021. Read the organization guidelines for full details.

Local Arts Agencies 

Local arts agencies play a central role in supporting artists, enhancing the quality of life in their communities, and increasing public access to the arts. Through ARP funding to local arts agencies for subgranting, the NEA can greatly extend its reach and impact. 

To be eligible to subgrant, an organization must be a nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3), U.S. organization or a unit of local government. Tribal entities and community organizations may be eligible if they meet the eligibility requirements described in the funding guidelines. Applicants must be an arts agency (“local arts agency”) that is a unit of city or county government or be officially designated to operate as an arts agency on behalf of its local government. 

A local arts agency must have a history of grantmaking that occurred anytime within the ten-year period immediately preceding this program’s deadline of July 22, 2021. The grantmaking program is not required to have been supported by the Arts Endowment. Additional eligibility requirements are described in the funding guidelines. 

If a local arts agency is allowed to make direct awards to individuals, subgrants may be awarded to individuals for artist fees/stipends to support the services they provide for specific programs and activities. 

Eligible local arts agencies will request a grant amount of either $150,000, $250,000, or $500,000 for their subgranting programs. Cost share/matching funds are not required. Out of the Arts Endowment’s fixed-amount grant, applicants may request up to $50,000 to support their own eligible operating costs associated with administering their subgranting program. 

When choosing a grant amount, local arts agencies should consider factors such as their organizational capacity and mission, potential applicants, and any unique characteristics of their communities. The NEA anticipates making approximately 80 awards in this category; there is no pre-determined number of awards per grant amount. 

Local arts agencies may not apply for both the subgranting and the organization opportunity.

The application deadline for local arts agencies for subgranting is July 22, 2021. Read the local arts agencies subgranting guidelines for full details.

For Both Organizations and Local Arts Agencies

Before submitting to Grants.gov, organizations must register or renew/verify registration with both Grants.gov and the System for Award Management (SAM). These registrations can take several weeks. Details on SAM and Grants.gov registration are posted on the NEA website.

To help reduce burden, there will be a 180-day extension for existing SAM registrations that have expiration dates ranging between April 1, 2021 and September 30, 2021. This is intended as relief for those otherwise required to re-register during that timeframe. This does not impact entities registering with SAM for the first time. All organizations approved for funding must have an active SAM registration in order to receive an award.  

The Arts Endowment recognizes that the financial needs of the field far outweigh the available funds that will be awarded through these programs and encourages eligible organizations to explore the NEA’s other grant opportunities


     

    About the National Endowment for the Arts

    Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit arts.gov to learn more.

    For Inquiries from News Media

    For Inquiries from Potential Applicants:                 

    Governor Cooper Reappoints Jaki Shelton Green as North Carolina’s Poet Laureate

     

    Monday, May 17, 2021

     

    From the Office of Governor Roy Cooper:

    Today, Governor Roy Cooper announced that he would reappoint poet, teacher, and community advocate Jaki Shelton Green as North Carolina’s poet laureate.

    “Jaki Shelton Green has a remarkable ability to connect with people from all walks of life through the literary arts,” Governor Cooper said. “I’m proud to reappoint Jaki and look forward to seeing her inspire more young poets and artists in this role.” 

    Green was first appointed North Carolina Poet Laureate in 2018 and is the first African American, and the third woman, to serve as the state’s ambassador for poetry and the spoken word.

    Green has conducted hundreds of public poetry workshops, lectures, and readings across North Carolina. In 2019 the American Academy of Poet Laureates awarded Green a $75,000 fellowship in recognition of her literary merit and public service. She used the award to launch “Literary ChangeMakers,” an initiative that supports youth poets engaged artistically in civic and community activism, social justice and youth leadership across the state. 

    “Jaki Shelton Green has used her platform as poet laureate to champion North Carolina’s rich literary traditions in communities across the state,” said D. Reid Wilson, secretary, N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. “Her emphasis on working with diverse writers and youth has been especially profound and meaningful.”  

    Born and raised in Efland, North Carolina, Green has been active in our state’s literary and teaching community for more than 40 years. She’s written eight books of poetry and a play, co-edited two anthologies of poetry, and has been published in over 80 national and international anthologies.  

    Over the course of her career, Green has taught poetry and creative writing at public libraries, universities, community colleges, K-12 schools and community nonprofits across the U.S. She currently teaches Documentary Poetry at Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies and has been named the 2021 Frank B. Hanes Writer in Residence at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

     

    "Oh My Brother" from Jaki Shelton Green's 2020 album "The River Speaks of Thirst"

     

    “When I was appointed the N.C. Poet Laureate Juneteenth 2018, I dedicated myself to fulfilling the mission to promote and expand appreciation of the literary arts. My reappointment is a tremendous honor and will support my work plans across the state that were compromised by Covid-19,” said Green. 

    “I will continue to work with community-based organizations focused on the intersection of literature, cultural activism, advocacy, and transformation. New audience development, new delivery platforms, and new ways of increasing community engagement are at the core of my Laureateship.”

    As a community arts advocate, Green has created and facilitated programs that serve diverse audiences across the state, including the incarcerated, homeless, chronically and mentally ill, victims of domestic violence, and immigrants. Throughout the pandemic, she has focused on teaching, facilitating workshops, collaborating with other artists, curating special programs, and keynoting conferences virtually. 

    “During her tenure as N.C. Poet Laureate, Jaki Shelton Green has championed poetry’s potential to empower, build bridges, and heal,” said Wayne Martin, executive director of the N.C. Arts Council. “The Poet Laureate is a symbol of our literary community’s contributions to North Carolina and our nation, and the integrity and vision Jaki brings to her role honor our state’s literary heritage.”

    Green’s awards include a 2020 Shaw University Ella Baker Women Who Lead Award, a 2019 N.C. Humanities Council Caldwell Award, and a 2003 North Carolina Award for Literature. She was inducted into the N.C. Literary Hall of Fame in 2014 and named the inaugural N.C. Piedmont Laureate in 2009. 

    Last year Green released her first-ever spoken word poetry album: The River Speaks of Thirst. The Justice Theater Project presented a multimedia film adaptation of the album following its release. Recently, an Italian publisher released a bilingual edition of her book length poem “I Want to Undie You.” North Carolina-based Soul City Sounds will release an audio recording of the poem next month.


     

    Media inquiries should be directed to: Samuel Gerweck, Special Projects Coordinator, at sam.gerweck@ncdcr.gov

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