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MEET THE NORTH CAROLINA ARTS COUNCIL’S ARTIST FELLOWSHIP RECIPIENTS

North Carolina Arts Council

Monday, October 21, 2019

Raleigh, N.C. (October 21, 2019) — Eighteen artists across North Carolina have received fellowship awards from the N.C. Arts Council in the literary categories of fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, screenwriting and playwriting and in the musical categories of composition and songwriting.

Recipients were selected by panels comprised of artists and arts professionals with discipline-specific expertise and experience. The recognition of these artists with the fellowship is one of the many ways the N.C. Arts Council supports diverse and innovative artists living and working in our state.

The Artist Fellowship Program operates on a two-year rotating cycle by discipline. Choreographers, visual, craft, and film and video artists can apply until Friday, Nov. 1.

Below is an alphabetical listing of the fellowship recipients.

 

Pam Baggett, Cedar Grove

Poetry

Much of Pam Baggett's recent work focuses on her experience as a caregiver during her mother’s last decade as she became increasingly disabled by Alzheimer’s disease. Her poems examine the beautiful and challenging relationship between mother and daughter as their roles begin to blur because of the ever-declining capacity of the parent.

She writes about love and laughter as well as the grief, frustration, and powerlessness caregivers endure. In her poem Motherload, she captures the vertigo of identity that family members often experience: “Unmoored, untethered, unmothered, / you call yourself a daughter, but she's forgotten/the child you were at nine or five or two...”

Baggett is now building a body of poems about nature, primarily centered on the beautiful land she lives on in Orange County. She has won two Artist Project grants from the Orange County Arts Commission and was the recipient in 2017 of an Emerging Artist Grant from the Durham Arts Council. She has been active in the local literary community, organizing and participating in readings and workshops at libraries, bookstores, and events hosted by community groups. Her work has been included in numerous anthologies and journals and her book, Wild Horses, was a runner-up for the Cathy Smith Bowers Chapbook Contest in 2018.

 

Sarah Bryan, Durham

Creative Nonfiction

Sarah Bryan’s essays and fiction are drawn from a lifelong dedication to the narrative experience of Southerners. “I write about the people I come to know in my work as a folklorist in the Carolinas; the experiences of my family elders from the Carolinas and Cuba; and traditional music and musicians of the South,” she says.

Bryan has dug deep into these narratives through her work as Executive Director of the North Carolina Folklife Institute, Executive Director of the Old-Time Music Group, and editor of its publication, The Old-Time Herald. She coauthored African American Music Trails of Eastern North Carolina (UNC Press, 2013), a project of the N.C. Arts Council in collaboration with the N.C. Folklife Institute working with numerous musicians in the region to create a visitor’s guide to the heritage of African American music in Eastern North Carolina.

Also, a fluent Spanish speaker and writer, she carried out field research and interviews to document Charlotte-area immigrants’ religious, culinary, sports, and material culture for the Levine Museum of the New South’s 2009 exhibition, Changing Places: From Black and White to Technicolor.

Bryan holds an M.A. in Folklore from UNC-Chapel Hill. Her articles, essays, and stories have been published in the Oxford American, Potomac Review, and New Haven Review, among many others.  In 2016, she was awarded the Archie Green Fellowship from the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress and the following year she earned a Pushcart Prize Special Mention for her essay in The Southern Review, "Life and Death of the Father of Modern Miniature Golf." http://sarah-bryan.com

 

Mylène Dressler, Greensboro

Fiction

“I started writing to tell the stories that haunted me, unspoken histories from my family and my cultures,” says Mylène Dressler. “I am Eurasian, Dutch-Indonesian, descended from both colonizers and the colonized, and it seemed to me that novels were a way to bring into the light what has been overlooked or even actively looked away from, in myself and in the larger world.”

Recently, the metaphor of “haunting” has moved to the foreground in Dressler’s work. “In my newest books I’ve been moved to reinvent the ghost story genre,” she says, “taking the hallmarks of gothic literature—dark, labyrinthine spaces, unsettling apparitions, buried knowledge—and reimagining them to tell contemporary stories about otherness and the erasure of identity and experience, especially among characters rendered invisible for reasons of class, gender, race or ethnicity.”

Dressler’s books include I See You So Close (Skyhorse, forthcoming 2020), The Last to See Me Skyhorse, 2017), winner of the Book Pipeline Grand Prize and Audiofile Award for Fiction, and The Floodmakers (Penguin Putnam, 2004). She teaches at Guilford College in Greensboro as an associate professor in the department of English and Creative Writing.

“My drive is to write stories that move the heart, excite the senses, and ask the reader to tremble with feeling, with the very action of turning the page,” Dressler says. “Art, in my experience, helps you to feel as a way to help you to think—especially when anyone or anything is encouraging you not to feel, not to look in front of you and see what is begging to be seen.” http://mdressler.com/wp/

 

Marianne Jay Erhardt, Winston-Salem

Creative Nonfiction

Marianne Jay Erhardt’s writing often centers on the awakening of told, seemingly fixed stories. “These might be names, histories, fairy tales, or formulas,” she says. Her current project is a collection of lyrical essays exploring personal and social mythologies of motherhood in which she writes letters to mothers in works of fiction.

Her own development mirrors some of the themes she explores in her writing, including a constant re-imagining of who she is and who she can be. “One story that I’m still working to upend is the story of who I am as writer,” she says. It is one she continually tries to rewrite in new forms.

Erhardt is an assistant teaching professor and teaches writing at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem and previously taught at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where she earned an M.F.A. Her résumé includes stories in Conjunctions and Phoebe, and most recently, "You Call That Wild" in Oxford American magazine (2019). http://writingprogram.wfu.edu/people/marianne-erhardt

 

Lynden Harris, Cedar Grove

Playwriting

“I have never put much attention on ‘my career,’ whether as a playwright, columnist, essayist, or educator, aside from the fundamental work of connecting communities across difference,” says Lynden Harris. She is the founder of Hidden Voices, an inclusive, participatory, and co-creative collective committed to building a just, compassionate, and sustainable world. Since 2001, she has collaborated with underrepresented communities to create award-winning works that combine narrative, performance, mapping, music, digital media, and interactive exhibits.

Harris’s most recent work includes Serving Life: ReVisioning Justice, a multi-disciplinary project sharing stories from people awaiting execution in American prisons. The project includes two plays: Serving Life (created and performed on death row) and Count: Stories from America’s Death Row (which premiered at PlayMakers Repertory Company); two exhibits: Serving Life (co-created with men on death row) and Standing on Love (portraits and reflections of family members); and a cycle of monologues titled “Right Here, Right Now,” which will be gathered in a forthcoming book (2020). Her play, To Buy the Sun, about the life of activist Pauli Murray toured the East coast in 2018.

In addition to her work with Hidden Voices, Harris is a Duke University faculty member in Theater Studies, and a founding member of Duke Transformative Prison Practices. She also is a founding cultural agent for the U.S. Dept. of Arts and Culture. Currently, she is working on A Good Boy, a music theater piece sharing stories from family members of those living on death row. www.hiddenvoices.org

 

Jennie Malboeuf, Greensboro

Poetry

“Ultimately, the objective of my writing is to explore the relationships between the body (animal) and the mind (God),” says Jennie Malboeuf. Her work has traced the issues of authority, control, and violence and how these themes intersect with gender, sex, and memory. 

Born and raised in Kentucky, she received an M.F.A. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and currently serves as a visiting assistant professor of English and Creative Writing at Guilford College. Her work has been represented in the Gettysburg Review, Harvard Review, and The Southern Review, among many others, and her first collection, God had a body: Poems (Indiana University Press, 2020), was selected for the Blue Light Books Prize. She received a Pushcart Prize Special Mention for her poem, “Hubris” (first published in New South) in 2019 and has been named twice to the Best New Poets list, a series featuring emerging writers published by the University of Virginia Press. https://jenniemalboeuf.com/

 

Paula Martinac, Charlotte

Fiction

Paula Martinac’s childhood passion for writing and history grew into novels, plays, screenplays, and nonfiction books set in the historical and physical past, through which she explores the powerful connections that echo in our lives to the present day.

Martinac channels her creative energies into writing LGBTQ-themed historical fiction, animating the history of this often-overlooked minority. The significant engagement of LGBTQ Southerners in the Civil Rights Movement is one of the subjects she addresses in her novels.

“Many of the challenges LGBTQ people faced in the past—job discrimination, lack of social acceptance and civil rights—still resonate today,” she says. “Yet mainstream history has mostly erased the impact LGBTQ Americans have had on social justice, political, and cultural movements in this country. As a rule, our history isn’t taught in schools or heralded by families of origin because it’s been attached to shame, and even sin.”

Martinac holds an M.A. from The College of William and Mary and is a lecturer at UNC-Charlotte’s English Department. She received a 2019 Creative Renewal Fellowship from the Arts & Science Council of Charlotte-Mecklenburg County and her novel-in-stories, The Ada Decades (Bywater Books, 2017), was a finalist for the Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBTQ Fiction. She has published both fiction and nonfiction and had several of her plays produced or presented as readings. Her most recent book is Clio Rising (Bywater Books, 2019). https://paulamartinac.com

 

Emilia Phillips, Greensboro

Creative Nonfiction

“My writing, both poetry, and nonfiction is concerned with the ways in which our bodies embody violence,” says Emilia Phillips, “whether it’s physical and externalized (as is the case with bruises and scars) or emotional and internalized (homophobia, misogyny, etc.).” Her two lyric nonfiction projects, Wound Revisions: Lyric Memoirs and Rewilding: On Queerness, Family, and Body, approach their topics - which include reconstructive surgery, gun violence, queer families, and troublesome namesakes - with the goal of creating an experience for the reader that feels nearly physical, even as they also engage logic and emotion. 

Phillips holds an M.F.A. from Virginia Commonwealth University and is assistant professor of Creative Writing at UNC-Greensboro. Her essays and poetry have been included in many journals and magazines and she has published several collections and chapbooks of poems.  In 2019, she received a Pushcart Prize for her poem “Pathetic Fallacy,” and her lyric nonfiction piece, “Excisions,” was awarded a 2015 Storyquarterly Nonfiction Prize. https://emiliaphillips.com/

 

Susan Southard, Southern Pines

Creative Nonfiction

“As an artist, I am drawn to the lives of people otherwise hidden from public view, whose stories have been denied, distorted, or silenced,” says Susan Southard.

Her first book, Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War (Viking, 2015), received the Dayton Literary Peace Prize in Nonfiction and the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize, and was also named a best book of the year by The Washington Post, The Economist, Kirkus Reviews, and the American Library Association.  Her next project continues with the hidden world theme by exploring her own story of following her mentally ill mother into a fear-based cult that controlled her life for more than a decade.

Southard teaches workshops and graduate-level nonfiction seminars and has directed creative writing programs for incarcerated youth and at a federal prison for women. Before moving to North Carolina, she was the founder and artistic director of the Phoenix-based Essential Theatre, a professional company serving marginalized communities across the Southwest. She holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Antioch University, Los Angeles. www.susansouthard.com

 

D.M. Spratley, Durham

Poetry

“I am a third-generation poet,” says D.M. Spratley. “My father, Marvin Spratley, and my grandmother, Ella Spratley, wrote poems, and used their writing to contribute to their families and communities.”

“One of my favorite early memories is of writing a poem so that I could share that way of seeing the world with my father,” she adds, but “before I sound too precocious, it was rhyming couplets about McDonald’s.”

Spratley currently serves as director of Programs and Strategy for Village of Wisdom in Durham, N.C., a community-based movement of Black parents protecting Black genius. She counts writers, artists, comedians, scholars, dancers, and activists as her major influences. “I find there is much for me to learn from those in other fields who are working to change how we think and see the world,” she said. Among the poets she finds herself turning and returning to include Tracy K. Smith, her thesis advisor at Princeton, former US Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey, Whiting Award winner Jericho Brown, and others.

Spratley received her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Hollins University. Her work has been published in 32 Poems, Shenandoah, POETRY, and Lambda Literary Poetry Spotlight, among other magazines and journals. www.dmspratley.com

 

Jonathan Strong, Davidson

Screenwriting

“Story ideas can strike like lightning,” says Jonathan Strong. “I never know where or when they will hit. When they do, I allow the images to run their course, watching them like a motion picture in my mind.” He is the inaugural recipient of an award given in memory of Elliott Bowles.

“These narrative incarnations are mysterious and often come in small puzzle-like pieces, usually out of order,” Strong continues. “But I've always loved mysteries, so this incites me to ‘investigate’ where these paths may take me, until the story eventually fleshes itself out.”

His current project is a ghost story that ties history to contemporary racial anxieties. “I especially love stories where characters from different backgrounds and perspectives are thrown together in unusual circumstances and become transformed and enlightened in the process,” he said. “I believe in the inherent worth of all people and that we need each other to not only survive the treacherous aspects of life but to have more vibrant and fulfilling lives.”

Strong is the owner and executive producer of Biographe, a Charlotte production company specializing in video biographies that capture one’s life story and legacy. He directed and edited Messiah, an eight-part documentary series for Amazon Video in 2019, as well as Inspections, a short that was a finalist at the Charlotte’s 48 Hour Film Festival in 2017. He received his M.A. in Communications from Regent University. www.strongmanproductions.com

 

Derrick J. Hines, Gastonia

Songwriting

“Simply put, I love music,” says Derrick J. Hines. “I love listening to, playing, writing, and performing music of all kinds.”

Hines says that music is very personal to him, but that lyric writing is influenced mostly by the external world. “I tend to lean toward storytelling and/or under-the-table social- political commentary when writing lyrics,” he says. “I'm sure parts of me seep into my lyrics, but I assure you it is not intentional. I enjoy exploring subject matter from different perspectives, whether through fictional characters or real people—mainly, combinations of people.”

He has been influenced by a wide range of musicians, from Prince to Radiohead, Tchaikovsky to Thelonius Monk, and Manu Delago to Meshell N'Degeocello. Nonetheless, he says, “My main influences are usually the people I'm collaborating with at the time.” Perhaps his most important influence, however, was his uncle who was his musical mentor and remains an inspiration in his life.

Hines performed as a rapper and backing vocalist with Dr. Meaker at the 2007 Glastonbury Music Festival, UK.  More recently, he has also played on recordings with the Dinner Rabbits and Bless These Sounds Under the City, and Yes Creator! and performed at the BOOM! Festival and the Charlotte Dance Fest.

 

Brian Horton, Durham

Musical Composition

“I compose music influenced by the jazz idiom that combines harmonically complex ideas with lyrical and memorable melodies,” says Durham resident Brian Horton. “My treatment of these musical elements is further shaped by the gospel and popular music I heard while growing up in North Carolina.”

Horton’s work has supported an array of artists such as Dom Flemons, Delfeayo Marsalis, Snoop Dogg, Memphis Bleek and producer Just Blaze, and he recently completed a commission from the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music to arrange jazz big band music from the New Orleans Silverbook. His trios and quartets have toured through several European and Middle Eastern countries including Turkey, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Uzbekistan under the auspices of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad tours.

“Being an active, performing musician who works across genres, I understand working from both sides of the bandstand, and write music that is challenging yet accessible to the player and enjoyable for the audience,” Horton says. “At the foundation of my work, beyond the scope of contemporary orchestration is something familiar, naturally southern and inherently rooted in the blues.”

His music has been featured in independent documentaries for Columbia and Stanford Universities, ESPN, Foot Locker, the Durham Symphony, author Adam Mansbach (Stand For Nothing, Fall For Anything), and choreographer Amy Chavasse (Low Winter Light), among others. Horton holds a D.M.A. in Jazz Studies and Composition from the University of North Texas, Denton. He serves as an assistant professor in the Jazz Studies Program, North Carolina Central University in Durham. https://www.brianhorton.com/

 

Steve Haines, Greensboro

Musical Composition

“My discipline as a musician encompasses many passions,” says Steve Haines, “including my work as a double bassist, composer, arranger, teacher, and most important of all, student.”

“I love introducing students to artists who they might not have heard of,” Haines says. “At the same time, I’m constantly learning about new musicians and recordings from them.” Haines plays often with the Chad Eby Quartet in North Carolina, works in the trio Trifecta with pianist Ariel Pocock and trumpeter Thomas Heflin, and has recently performed with jazz guitarist Peter Bernstein and saxophonist Ralph Bowen.

He earned his M.M. in Jazz Studies from the University of North Texas, Denton, later becoming director of the Miles Davis Jazz Studies Program UNC-Greensboro, where he still teaches in the Music Department. He won the N.C. Arts Council Fellowship in musical composition once before in 2008. He was also named Outstanding Teacher of the Year for the UNCG School of Music in 2006, received a semi-finalist ranking for the 2010 Jazz Knights Commission in New York, and won the 2019 UNCG Gladys Strewn Bullard Award for leadership and service. His fourth and latest CD as a leader is Steve Haines and the Third Floor Orchestra, which was released by Justin Time Records in 2019. https://www.stevehaines.com/

 

Andrew Finn Magill, Asheville

Musical Composition

“Being a composer to me is like being an inventor,” says Andrew Finn Magill. “You experiment, try out ideas, throw out ideas, tinker, adapt, rewrite and then repeat all of the above in the hope that you'll come up with that one idea that makes you go ‘aha!’”

“I absolutely love this process and it's why I compose,” he says. “Each time a creative light bulb goes off it inspires me to look for the next light bulb, and then the next, and then the next…” Magill credits his study of many folk genres—Bluegrass, Appalachian, traditional Irish, jazz, Brazilian choro, and others—with shaping his musical instincts.

“It's these genres and the players within them that drive me to make my work,” he says. “I'm so excited by what other musicians are able to say with just the 12 notes in Western music, 12 notes with somehow infinite possibility. I suppose this excitement must be channeled somewhere, and the most satisfying way I've found to do that is composition.”

Magill’s albums include Canta, Violino! (Ropeadope Records, 2018), and the self-released Brazilian Strings Trio (2018), Roots (2016) and Branches (2016). He teaches regularly at festivals and camps and  has performed at Celtic Connections in Glasgow, UK (2018), Walt Disney World Epcot Park, Orlando, FL (2015), Olympia Hall, Paris (2011 and 2012), and the Lake of Stars Festival, Malawi (2010). https://www.andrewfinnmagill.com/

 

Tift Merritt, Raleigh

Songwriting

“In my nearly 20 years as a recording artist, I have tried to make my own brand of sonic short stories, rooted in plain-spoken language and a sense of place,” says Raleigh-born and Grammy-nominated musician Tift Merritt.

“I give voice to the granular experience of overlooked humanity in everyday life,” she says. “I believe in process over the spotlight, that making work is a hopeful gesture for deep community connection, that different mediums have more in common spiritually than their differences in material practice. My devotion to my own instincts, to cultivating a unique point of view, has not always made my path easy, but it has made it worthwhile.”

Merritt wanted to be a writer until her father taught her guitar chords and introduced her to Percy Sledge songs. Her catalog now includes eight studio albums. She received a Grammy nomination for Country Album of the Year in 2005 for Tambourine (Lost Highway, Universal Recordings, 2004). She has performed with the NY Philharmonic and toured with bands including Iron & Wine, Nick Lowe, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Gregg Allman. Her television appearances include Austin City Limits and the Grand Ole Opry. The New Yorker calls Merritt “the bearer of a proud tradition of the distaff country soul that reaches back to artists like Dusty Springfield and Bobbie Gentry.”

Having completed her Honors Thesis in Creative Writing in Fiction at UNC-Chapel Hill with legendary professor Doris Betts, Merritt continues to write for the page as well as the stage. While most at ease at the piano or with a guitar in her lap, she also is a regular contributor to Oxford American magazine and has even designed a line of textiles for Bernhardt Design, based on her vintage ribbon collection. http://www.tiftmerritt.com/home

 

Christy Smith, Raleigh

Songwriting

The slow rhythms of the countryside and the feel of the church pew are never too far below the surface of Christy Smith’s songs. She is a native North Carolinian, and the granddaughter of cotton and tobacco farmers.

Smith explores a shifting sense of identity and how our relationships define us. As a new mom, she will soon release new songs that reveal motherhood to be both a joyous homecoming and an agonizing passage, as she sings about her year-long, transformational battle with her own mental illness after childbirth.

Her albums include The Darkness Comes (The Tender Fruit, 2014), Flotsam & Krill (The Tender Fruit, 2010), and Nola (Nola, 2006), along with collaborations with Bon Iver, Megafun, Bombadil and Gross Ghost.

Smith is a familiar face at local music festivals, including Hopscotch, Duke's Music in the Gardens, and the Festival for the Eno. She has collaborated with many talented musicians, including Phil Cook, Heather McEntire, Libby Rodenbough, and others. She holds an M.A. in English Literature from North Carolina State University and has taught songwriting workshops for Girls Rock NC, the Central Park School for Children, and others. https://thetenderfruit.bandcamp.com/music

 

John Westmoreland, Pittsboro

Songwriting

John Westmoreland has developed his own style and sound through the study of a broad range of musical genres from across the world. He grew up playing blues, rock, and folk music and went on to study jazz and classical composition at Berklee College of Music. Over the past decade, he has traveled to Senegal, Peru, Colombia, Finland, and Ukraine to learn from each of their cultures, strongly influencing his guitar playing and songwriting.

In April 2019 Westmoreland released a debut album of original songs, Cast Fire, which interweaves elements from diverse musical traditions, including American songwriters such as Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and Tom Waits. His next project highlights the unpublished poetry of T-Bone Slim, a Finnish-American songwriter, poet, and Industrial Workers of the World labor columnist once known as “the laureate of the logging camps,” who has remained largely unstudied.

Westmoreland’s greatest discovery in this project was personal. “While doing research into my ancestry, I stumbled upon the fact that ‘Uncle Matt,’ as he’s been known in my family, was the iconic hobo, T-Bone Slim,” he says. “My mother had even been holding onto dozens of his original unpublished writings. My project will be to compose and record music accompanying T-Bone’s songs and poems.”

Westmoreland was a 2014 recipient of an Ella Fountain Pratt Emerging Artist Grant from the Durham Arts Council. He has played on recordings for artists Diali Cissokho and Kaira Ba, Jim Roberts, and Mike Flowers, and performed lead vocals and guitar on his own album Cast Fire. He also wrote and recorded original music for the score of the award-winning 2017 documentary, Staring Down Fate, produced by WildSides, a nonprofit that explores human/animal interactions with the goal of greater awareness and understanding. https://www.johnwestmorelandmusic.com/

 

For more information about how the N.C. Arts Council supports artists visit https://www.ncarts.org/invest-arts/grants-artists

 

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.

EXPLORE THE WORTHAM CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS

North Carolina Arts Council

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

          Check out the expanded Wortham Center for the Performing Arts in Asheville, which opened earlier this fall. After months of renovations, it has transformed the single-stage entity known as the Diana Wortham Theatre into a three-venue performing arts complex now known as the Wortham Center for the Performing Arts.

            The new performing arts center comprises three venues: the existing 500-seat Diana Wortham Theatre, with an improved sound system, hearing assistance technology and energy-efficient LED lighting; the new Tina McGuire Theatre, a multiuse black box theatre featuring comfortable seating with convertible configuration options for 80 to 100 people; and the new Henry LaBrun Studio, a multiuse space that can be used as a classroom, for workshops, or as a performance venue seating 60 to 80 people.

            By adding two new venues in addition to the Diana Wortham Theatre stage, the Wortham Center for the Performing Arts will serve a broader community, allowing increased access to programming, development of new community partnerships, added educational offerings and space rental services to our community.

            To see their expanded lineup of performances and workshops visit http://www.worthamarts.org.

INAUGURAL BOWLES SCREENWRITING AWARD AMONG 18 NC FELLOWSHIPS AWARDED

North Carolina Arts Council

Monday, December 9, 2019

Raleigh, N.C. (December 9, 2019) — A Davidson, N.C. screenwriter is the recipient of an inaugural award given in memory of Elliott Bowles, an aspiring filmmaker, by his family to the North Carolina Arts Council.

Jonathan Strong, a screenwriter, and filmmaker received a $10,000 fellowship to pursue screenwriting through the generous donation of his mother Beverly Nipper Bowles and father, Roman Bowles, Sr.

“The family wanted to honor Elliott’s passion for film and screenwriting in a way that would create opportunities for other artists,” Mrs. Beverly Nipper Bowles said. “By supporting the Artist Fellowship program, we are honoring Elliott’s memory and recognizing the potential of other talented artists in our state.”

The author of several screenplays, Elliott pursued acting roles while attending the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill where he received a BS in Psychology. The family will also fund the Bowles Screenwriting Award in 2020.

Seventeen other artists across North Carolina received fellowship awards for 2019-20 from the N.C. Arts Council in the literary categories of fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, screenwriting and playwriting and in the music categories of composition and songwriting.

Recipients were selected by panels comprised of artists and arts professionals with discipline-specific expertise and experience. The recognition of these artists with the fellowship is one of the many ways the N.C. Arts Council supports diverse and innovative artists living and working in our state. 

 

Below is a listing of all 2019 fellowship recipients.

Literary

Jonathan Strong, Inaugural Bowles Screenwriting Award, Davidson (Mecklenburg County)

Pam Baggett, Poetry, Cedar Grove (Orange County)

Sarah Bryan, Creative Nonfiction, Durham (Durham County)

Mylène Dressler, Fiction, Greensboro (Guilford County)

Marianne Jay Erhardt, Creative Nonfiction Winston-Salem (Forsyth County)

Lynden Harris, Playwriting, Cedar Grove (Orange County)

Jennie Malboeuf, Poetry, Greensboro (Guilford County)

Paula Martinac, Fiction, Charlotte (Mecklenburg County)

Emilia Phillips, Creative Nonfiction, Greensboro (Guilford County)

Susan Southard, Creative Nonfiction Southern Pines (Moore County)

D.M. Spratley, Poetry, Durham (Durham County)

Music

Derrick J. Hines, Songwriting, Gastonia (Gaston County)

Brian Horton, Musical Composition, Durham (Durham County)

Steve Haines, Musical Composition, Greensboro (Guilford County)

Andrew Finn Magill, Musical Composition, Asheville (Buncombe County)

Tift Merritt, Songwriting, Raleigh (Wake County)

Christy Smith, Songwriting, Raleigh (Wake County)

John Westmoreland, Songwriting, Pittsboro (Orange County)

For more information about how the N.C. Arts Council supports artists visit https://www.ncarts.org/invest-arts/grants-artists

 

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.

NC ARTIST FEATURED IN NEW EPISODE OF CRAFT IN AMERICA ON PBS

North Carolina Arts Council

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Raleigh, N.C. (Dec. 19, 2019) — Sculptor Cristina Córdova, who lives and works in Penland, N.C., will be featured in an upcoming segment of Craft in America on PBS on Friday, Dec. 27, 2019.

Córdova, a 2005 North Carolina Arts Council Fellowship Grant recipient, is featured in IDENTITY, a new episode of Craft in America, the Peabody Award-winning documentary series discovering the beauty, significance, and relevance of handmade objects and the artists who make them.

She completed her BA at the University of Puerto Rico in 1998 then received her MFA in ceramics from Alfred University, N.Y. in 2002. She has since received numerous grants and awards, including a Virginia Groot Foundation Recognition Grant, several International Association of Art Critics of Puerto Rico awards, and in 2015 the prestigious United States Artist Fellowship award.

In 2012, Córdova was included in the Renwick’s 40th-anniversary exhibition “40 Under 40: Craft Futures,” and in 2018, her most recent solo exhibition “Jungla,” was featured at the Alfred Ceramic Art Museum, N.Y. Córdova’s work is in the permanent collection of numerous institutions including the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C., the Colección Acosta de San Juan, Puerto Rico, the Mint Museum of Craft + Design, Charlotte, N.C., and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Puerto Rico. Her work is represented by Ferrin Contemporary, Ma. For more information visit her website at cristinacordova.com.

The other featured artists are Diego RomeroCara Romero, and Wendy Maruyama

For more than a decade, Craft in America has taken viewers on cultural journeys across this nation, honoring the multiplicity of traditions that have come to define our country. Craft in America: IDENTITY will premiere on PBS on Friday, December 27, 2019, at 10 p.m. (check local listings).

You can watch a clip of Córdova here: https://www.craftinamerica.org/short/cristina-cordova-on-her-work

Here is a short clip on the episode: https://www.craftinamerica.org/short/identity-2-min-preview

 

NC ARTS COUNCIL ARTIST FELLOWSHIP EXHIBITION OPENS AT SECCA

North Carolina Arts Council

Thursday, January 9, 2020

The North Carolina Arts Council’s 2018–2019 Artist Fellowship exhibition will be presented at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) in Winston-Salem starting Thursday, Feb. 13 to Sunday, June 7, 2020.

The exhibition, NC Artists Fellowship: Escapes and Revelations, features the work of 21 contemporary artists who were the recipients of the 2018–2019 Artist Fellowship awards from the N.C. Arts Council including twelve visual artists, three craft artists, three film/video artists, and three choreographers.

Escapes and Revelations features over 60 works of art in a variety of media ranging from video installation, ceramic, textile, ironwork, painting, film, and dance. An opening reception will be held on Thursday, February 13 from 6 to 8 p.m. Several of the artists appearing in the exhibition will be on hand to discuss their work. The exhibition will be displayed in the Main and Potter Galleries at SECCA. 

“This exhibition helps SECCA serve its mission to offer inclusive, revelatory, and educational experiences with outstanding contemporary art,” said William Carpenter, Executive Director of SECCA. “It’s a celebration of our state’s creativity and innovation.”

The artists featured in this exhibition include visual artists Endia Beal, Joelle Dietrick, and Owen Mundy, Andrew Etheridge, Sabine Gruffat, Susan Alta Martin, Mario Marzán, Renzo Ortega, Mariam Stephan, Barbara Campbell Thomas, Montana Torrey, and Christina Weisner; craft artists Seth Gould, Eric Knoche, and Rachel Meginnes; film/video artists Kelly Creedon, Rodrigo Dorfman, and André Silva; and choreographers Anna Barker, Duane Cyrus, and Kate Weare.

“SECCA is honored and excited to be hosting this impressive exhibition,” added Wendy Earle, Curator of Contemporary Art. “It highlights the work of some of the best North Carolina artists working today and demonstrates the breadth and depth of art currently being produced in our state. It is going to be a dynamic and inspiring exhibition that I can’t wait to show our visitors.”

SECCA is located at 750 Marguerite Drive in Winston-Salem and is free and open to the public Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.

 

About SECCA

The Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem, N.C. The Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) is a creative leader of the arts in the Southeast, a museum boldly giving artists of the region a platform for visibility while connecting local communities with the international world of contemporary art. Located at 750 Marguerite Drive, the museum is open Tuesday through Sunday. For hours, please visit secca.org. SECCA is an affiliate of the North Carolina Museum of Art, a division of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources. SECCA receives operational funding from The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. Additional funding is provided by the James G. Hanes Memorial Fund.

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 artmaking. The North Carolina Arts Council has proven to be a champion for youth by cultivating tomorrow’s creative citizens through arts education. NCArts.org.

NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS AWARDS FUNDS TO NC ARTS GROUPS

North Carolina Arts Council

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Washington, DC — The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced that 20 organizations in North Carolina will receive over $400,000 for arts projects in this round of fiscal year 2020 funding.

 

Overall, 1,187 grants totaling $27.3 million will provide Americans opportunities for arts participation, and several this year’s funded projects will celebrate the Women's Suffrage Centennial.

 

Below is a list of grants to North Carolina organizations:

 

LEAF Community Arts, Black Mountain, NC

$15,000          

To support the LEAF Downtown Asheville Festival.

 

Sun Publishing Company, Inc., Chapel Hill, NC  

$10,000          

To support poetry and fiction contributor payments for the magazine The Sun, and an internship program.

 

University of North Carolina General Administration, Chapel Hill, NC

$25,000          

To support Reel South, a public television series.

 

Charlotte Symphony Orchestra Society, Inc., Charlotte, NC

$15,000          

To support performances of composer William Brittelle's Si Otsedoha (We're Still Here) with related educational activities.

 

McColl Center for Art & Innovation, Charlotte, NC

$10,000          

To support a residency program for artists working in diverse disciplines.

 

University of North Carolina at Charlotte, NC

$10,000          

To support the artist fees for an artist residency designed to expand the connections between the local classical Indian dance community with the UNC Charlotte Department of Dance.

 

Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC

$10,000          

To support a visual arts program at the Tsali Care Center, a nursing home in Cherokee, NC.

 

American Dance Festival, Inc., Durham NC

$65,000          

To support commissions and performances at American Dance Festival.

 

Center for Documentary Studies (Full Frame Documentary Film Festival), Durham, NC

$30,000          

To support filmmakers' travel, equipment, and venue rental costs for the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival.

 

Duke University, Durham, NC

$20,000          

To support an arts education program at the Nasher Museum of Art.

 

Duke University (on behalf of Duke Performances), Durham, NC

$20,000          

To support Ballet Futures, a program of the Duke Performances series.

 

Elsewhere Incorporated, Greensboro, NC

$25,000          

To support a site-specific artist residency program.

 

North Carolina Folk & Heritage Festivals, Greensboro, NC

$25,000          

To support the North Carolina Folk Festival.

 

University of North Carolina at Greensboro (on behalf of Weatherspoon Art Museum), Greensboro, NC

$30,000          

To support the exhibition To the Hoop: Basketball and Contemporary Art at the Weatherspoon Art Museum and an accompanying catalogue.

 

Will and Deni McIntyre Foundation, Hendersonville, NC

$20,000          

To support David Holt's State of Music.

 

North Carolina Theatre, Raleigh, NC

$10,000          

To support a production of Memphis with book and lyrics by Joe DiPietro, and music and lyrics by David Bryan.

 

Central Carolina Community College, Sanford, NC

$10,000

To support arts programming serving a tri-county region of rural North Carolina.

 

Culture Mill, Inc, Saxapahaw, NC

$20,000          

To support They Are All, a dance project with professional dancers, people with Parkinson's Disease, and medical researchers.

 

Cucalorus Film Foundation, Wilmington, NC

$25,000          

To support the 26th annual Cucalorus Film Festival and associated public programming.

 

University of North Carolina at Wilmington, NC

$10,000          

To support the publication and promotion of the journal Ecotone, as well as an online series from Lookout Books.

 

The next NEA funding deadline for applications to the Grants for Arts Projects category is February 13, 2020.  

 

 

About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA 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 NEA 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. For more information, visit www.arts.gov.

NC ARTS COUNCIL GRANT DEADLINE FOR ARTS FUNDING IS MARCH 2

North Carolina Arts Council

Thursday, January 16, 2020

RALEIGH, N.C. (Jan. 16, 2020) -- The North Carolina Arts Council’s 2020-21 grant guidelines for organizations are now available at www.NCArts.org. The deadline for submitting applications is Monday, March 2 for projects that take place between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021.

The N.C. Arts Council’s grant programs are designed to sustain and advance the arts infrastructure that reaches into all 100 N.C. counties, to enhance the education of children and youth, and to ensure that all North Carolinians have access to a wide range of high-quality arts programs. 

In order to be eligible to apply for a N.C. Arts Council grant, an organization must: 

• Have nonprofit status or be a school or government entity 
• Have produced quality arts programs for at least two consecutive years 
• Have prior-year organization cash operating expenses of at least $20,000

Grant categories include Program SupportArts in Education GrantsMilitary and Veterans Healing Arts GrantsGrassroots Arts ProgramState Arts Resources GrantsRegional Artist Project Grants, and Statewide Service Organizations. Details about who may apply, grant description and evaluation are available here.

Grant awards are evaluated by panels of civic leaders and experts in diverse arts fields based on criteria published in the guidelines. 

 

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.

CELEBRATE BLACK HISTORY MONTH WITH ICONIC ARTISTS FROM NC

North Carolina Arts Council

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Raleigh, N.C. (Feb. 1, 2020) -- To celebrate Black History Month, we are sharing videos, podcasts, and narratives commemorating African American artists in North Carolina. These stories were produced for special programs and initiatives of the N.C. Arts Council including Come Hear NC, our 50th -anniversary celebration, the N.C. Heritage Award, and African American Music Trails.

 

Saturday, Feb. 1

On the 60th anniversary of the Greensboro sit-in, we revisit a performance of the Fresh Cut Orchestra’s restaging of We Insist! Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite captured last year at Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center.Born in Pasquotank, N.C., Roach composed We Insist after witnessing the historic Greensboro sit-in. Learn about that story in this thought-provoking essay by Duke University scholar Mark Anthony Neal: Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite: An Early Soundtrack to Black Lives Matter.

 

Monday. Feb. 3

Garner, N.C. native Mary D. Williams has spent her career recounting the history of the Civil Rights movement through song. Watch Mary D. Williams sing here.

 

Tuesday, Feb. 4

Born in 1926 in Western North Carolina, Edward Riley Ray worked his way up from stock-boy at a Milwaukee record distribution warehouse to the executive rooms of America’s biggest record labels. Dive into his story here.

 

Wednesday, Feb. 5

Last year Vanessa Ferguson, a Greensboro artist who gained national fame as a finalist on NBC's The Voice, performed a tribute to Nina Simone in her childhood home in this exclusive video produced by the N.C. Arts Council for the Come Hear NC campaign.

 

Thursday, Feb. 6

Viewed more than 66,000 times since last July, The Li­­stening, a documentary by Durham filmmaker Holland Gallagher, tells the story of the first golden age of N.C. hip-hop at the turn of the millennium. The film chronicles the rise of Durham’s hip-hop trio Little Brother, known nationally for putting North Carolina hip-hop on the map­­. Commissioned by the N.C. Arts Council in celebration of the 2019 Year of Music, the film is one of two created for the campaign. Check out the second video in the series, Homecoming, which tells the story of the unexpected reunion of Little Brother in 2018.

 

Friday, Feb. 7

Soul food, great entertainment, and a sense of freedom defined the African American-owned spaces that formed the backbone of the "Chitlin Circuit." A national network of performance venues and clubs, the Chitlin Circuit provided African American entertainers and audiences a place to perform, eat, and enjoy fellowship during segregation. This video will inspire you to get your groove on at this month’s Chitlin Circuit concert on Feb. 27 in Kinston at Da Loft, sponsored in part by the N.C. Arts Council.

 

Saturday, Feb. 8

Algia Mae Hinton was a blues musician and dancer from Johnston County, N.C. Raised in a musical family, Algia Mae grew up performing music in her local community at house parties. She was one of several excellent Piedmont blues musicians documented across North Carolina in the 1970s. Join us in remembering Algia Mae on the anniversary of her death here.

 

Monday, Feb. 9

Sister Lena Mae Perry says music is like medicine. She would know. At 80-years-old, Sister Perry has led the Branchettes, a celebrated gospel group from Johnston County, N.C., for decades. To see her perform is to witness the healing powers of music.

 

Tuesday, Feb. 11

African American Musicians from N.C. made groundbreaking contributions to the American music genre that has come to be known as jazz. Internationally renowned pianists and composers Thelonious Monk and Billy Taylor were from Rocky Mount and Greenville, respectively. There’s also John Coltrane born in Hamlet and raised in High Point, Nina Simone from Tryon, and Max Roach from Pasquotank County. Explore African American Music History Trivia here.

 

Wednesday, Feb. 12

MacArthur Genius and Grammy Award-winner Rhiannon Giddens pays tribute to victims of the Wilmington Insurrection of 1898 in this stirring video. The tragic events of that year saw a violent mob seize the city of Wilmington, burn and destroy African American-owned businesses and take an untold number of African American lives. Watch here.

 

Thursday, Feb. 13

Debra Austin was the first African American woman invited to join the famed New York City Ballet company and the first African American female principal dancer in a major American ballet company. Now a ballet mistress at the Carolina Ballet in Raleigh, Austin, reflected on her experiences as a pioneering ballet dancer in an interview for our 50 for 50 project.  

 

Friday, Feb. 14

On this day in history, the funkiest saxophonist on the planet Maceo Parker was born in Kinston, N.C. Parker has toured the world with James Brown, Parliament-Funkadelic and Prince, and he received a North Carolina Heritage Award in 2016. Learn about Maceo Parker here.

 

Monday, Feb. 17

In 2018 the National Trust for Historic Preservation designated Nina Simone’s childhood home in Tryon, N.C. a National Treasure. Best known for her Civil Rights anthems, Simone’s first musical love was Johann Sebastian Bach. Learn about that here

 

Tuesday, Feb. 18

On the one-year anniversary of the installation of our state’s first African American poet laureate, we pay tribute to Jaki Shelton Green and the contributions she has made by revisiting this interview.

 

Wednesday, Feb. 19

Who doesn’t want to find out our poet laureate’s favorite songs? Listen to Jaki Shelton Green’s playlist here.

 

Thursday, Feb. 20

Last fall opera powerhouse Sidney Outlaw, from Brevard, N.C. performed in N.C.’s Executive Mansion as part of our Music in the Mansion series. Watch that here.

 

Friday, Feb. 21

In this video recorded in 2017, the late Phil Freelon, an architect who is best known for leading the design team of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and his son Pierce Freelon, Durham-based hip-hop artist and professor, discuss how the arts define their family.

 

Monday, Feb. 24

American blues and folk musician Elizabeth “Libba” Cotten was born on January 5, 1893, in Carrboro, N.C. Perhaps best known for teaching the world “Freight Train,” Cotten grew up near a railroad track which inspired her to write the song at age 11. Her music was discovered and popularized during the Folk Revival of the early 1960s Learn more here.

 

Tuesday, Feb. 25

Acclaimed visual artist Beverly McIver received the Rome Prize Fellowship in 2017. The Greensboro native is the Esbenshade Professor of the Practice of Visual Arts at Duke University. She has charted a new course as an African American woman artist, producing art that examines racial, gender and social identity. Here she talks about the value of public support for the arts in North Carolina.

 

Wednesday, Feb. 26

Robert “Dick” Knight, a 2018 North Carolina Heritage Award recipient, played with music legends like Otis Redding, Gladys Knight, Jackie Wilson, and Rufus Thomas. But his 50-year teaching career had an even bigger impact on him. Listen here.

 

Thursday, Feb. 27

Raleigh native Charles R. “Chuck” Davis became one of the world’s foremost teachers and choreographers of African dance and founded the African American Dance Ensemble. He passed away in the spring of 2017, but he is still remembered today for his mantra “peace, love, respect for all.” In this podcast, Davis reflects on his time on the N.C. Arts Council Board.  

 

Friday, Feb. 28

Join N.C. Arts Council Executive Director Wayne Martin as he shares the story and music of the Menhaden Chanteymen. Their work songs grew out of N.C.’s commercial fishing industry. Listen to “Going Back to Weldon," performed by the Menhaden Chanteymen in 1988.

For more information visit www.NCArts.org or www.NCArts.org/music.

 

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

ANNIVERSARY OF JAKI SHELTON GREEN’S INDUCTION AS NC’S FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN POET LAUREATE

North Carolina Arts Council

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Raleigh, N.C. (Feb. 18, 2020) — Today marks the one-year anniversary of the official induction of Jaki Shelton Green as North Carolina’s first African American poet laureate.

To recognize the thousands of miles and hundreds of public appearances she has made as our state’s ninth poet laureate, the North Carolina Arts Council released a new Arts Across NC podcast episode featuring a candid conversation between Ms. Green and N.C. Arts Council content strategist and host Sandra Davidson. You can listen to the new podcast here.

Born and raised in Efland, North Carolina, Ms. 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, and she co-edited two anthologies of poetry. The American Academy of Poet Laureates awarded her a $75,000 fellowship last April.

Ms. Green discusses the impact and public reception of her historic appointment and reflects on her experiences meeting countless North Carolinians during her tenure as poet laureate in the interview.

“Creativity is medicine, and sometimes I feel like I'm just carrying the spoon. Sometimes I feel like my job is to show up and help people realize the medicine resides in them,” Ms. Green says of her mission to promote the literary arts as poet laureate in the podcast.

The podcast is available here. Previous editions of Arts Across NC are available here and on Apple Podcasts and Stitcher.

NC HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS COMPETE IN STATEWIDE POETRY OUT LOUD COMPETITION

North Carolina Arts Council

Monday, February 17, 2020

Raleigh, N.C. (Feb. 17, 2020) — North Carolina high school students from 25 counties across the state will take the stage on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, in Greensboro, to compete in the annual statewide Poetry Out Loud competition.

Thirty-five schools are sending students to compete in Poetry Out Loud, which is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in partnership with the Poetry Foundation and the North Carolina Arts Council. The event is free and open to the public.

The competition brings together students with an interest in poetry, spoken word, and theater, as well as students just discovering the power of recitation who learn about poetry — both classic and contemporary — through memorization, performance and competition.

“Poetry Out Loud gives kids the chance to practice creativity by using the dynamic aspects of poetry in high school classrooms,” Sharon Hill, the Arts in Education director for the N.C. Arts Council said. “Through Poetry Out Loud, students can master public speaking skills, increase reading comprehension scores, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage.”

Since 2005 Poetry Out Loud has grown nationally to reach more than 3.8 million students and 60,000 teachers from 16,000 schools in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Students from N.C. schools vied to make it to the Feb. 22 state semi-finals and finals through classroom lessons and competitions and district competitions held last fall. The state winner will advance to the national Poetry Out Loud finals, in Washington, D.C., from April 27–29.

Students from public and private schools from the following counties will participate Alamance, Buncombe, Catawba, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Dare, Durham, Forsyth, Gaston, Guilford, Johnston, Lee, Mecklenburg, Moore, New Hanover, Pitt, Polk, Rockingham, Rutherford, Sampson, Stokes, Union, Wake and Wilkes.

For a list of students competing in the state semifinals, click here.

For a list of district champions, click here.

The program — at Triad Stage, 232 S. Elm Street, Greensboro — starts at 10 a.m. with a welcoming ceremony, followed by the first round of competition at 11 a.m. Three concurrent semifinals will be held throughout the theater, with finalists announced after lunch.

Finalists will advance to the final round of competition, which will begin at approximately 3:30 p.m. in Triad Stage’s Pyrle Theater.

North Carolina Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green will recite several of her poems and each student will have his or her photo taken with Ms. Green.

Distinguished members of North Carolina’s literary and theater community will serve as judges: Sam Barbee, Howard Craft, Sage Chioma, Beth Copeland, Terri Kirby Erickson, Preston Lane, Metta-Sáma Melvin, Lenard Moore, Crystal Smith, Cassandra Williams, Matthew Wimberley and Carolyn York.

Emcees for the semi-final competitions are Michael Beadle, Lalenja Harrington and Ismael Khatibu. The emcee for the final competition is Dasan Ahanu.

Schools participating in the program take advantage of online access to supplemental curriculum materials from the NEA: an anthology of poetry from which students choose poems to memorize, a program guide to help instructors teach recitation and performance, video resources and promotional and media guides.

The winner at the state level will receive $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the national championship at George Washington University, in April. The national finals will be webcast live, and our state champion will compete with state winners from across the country for a $20,000 college scholarship.

The state winner's school will receive a $500 stipend to be used to buy poetry books. The runner-up at the state level will receive $100, and the school will receive $200 for poetry books.

Triad Stage coordinates Poetry Out Loud on behalf of the N.C. Arts Council.

For more information, contact N.C. Poetry Out Loud coordinator Dani Keil at Dani@triadstage.org or visit http://triadstage.org/learning/poetryoutloud.

 

About the North Carolina Arts Council

The N.C. Arts Council builds on our state’s longstanding 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 artmaking. The Arts Council has proven to be a champion for youth by cultivating tomorrow’s creative citizens through arts education. NCArts.org.

About Triad Stage

Guided by core values of audacious artistry, creative collaboration, curious learning, Southern voice and welcoming community, Triad Stage strengthens community, provokes dialogue and entertains audiences. From classics to world premieres, it invests in innovative theatricality, creating an artistic home not only for artists but also for communities. TriadStage.org.

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