These were Art Works and Challenge America grants. Art Works grants supports the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts and the strengthening of communities through the arts. Challenge America grants offer support primarily to small and mid-sized organizations for projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics or disability.
The Arkanas Repertory Theatre received $15,000 to support a production of An Iliad by Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare. The playwriting team has adapted Homer’s Trojan War epic into a compelling monologue that captures both the heroism and horror of warfare. A key theme is the personal cost of war. The theatre will continue and deepen its ongoing partnership with the Little Rock Air Force base and will engage with the service members and their families during the project. During the performance run, veterans returning from service overseas will share their personal stories as part of a post-performance community conversation. Activities will occur in the theater’s newly constructed second stage and center for community engagement on the Main Street Creative Corridor.
The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra received $10,000 to support performances and educational workshops that will culminate in the world premiere performance of a composition by D.J. Sparr, featuring guitarist Ted Ludwig. The composition is inspired by Ludwig’s flight from New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. In addition to performances, electric guitarists Ludwig and Sparr will lead workshops for student musicians and community members from central and southeastern Arkansas, including a high percentage of low-income residents.
The Oxford American received $20,000 to support the publication and promotion of the magazine. Exploring the complexity and vitality of the American South, the magazine publishes poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and criticism by emerging and established authors. The magazine will be promoted through social media, the magazine’s website, a weekly e-newsletter, and events throughout the South.
In addition, TheatreSquared in Fayetteville received $25,000 for its Arkansas New Play Festival. This is presented in Fayetteville and Little Rock. The Little Rock performances are in conjunction with the Arkansas Rep.
Other Arkansas recipients were the Walton Arts Center, Sonny Boy Blues Society (for the King Biscuit Blues Festival), Ozarks Foothills Film Festival and John Brown University.