RALEIGH — The new budget signed by Governor Pat McCrory will allow the North Carolina Arts Council to support an extensive arts infrastructure across North Carolina, including arts programs in all 100 counties funded through the Grassroots Arts Program, with more than $7.1 million in grants.
“This funding will further support the arts, which are a catalyst for economic development, tourism and overall quality of life in North Carolina,” said McCrory. “The work of local arts councils helps make North Carolina global destination where people want to live, work and visit.”
In fiscal year 2016-17, N.C. Arts Council grants will support more than 340 arts organizations, individuals, schools and other nonprofit groups that sponsor arts programs or arts-driven economic development projects. Grant funds come from both legislative appropriation and the National Endowment for the Arts.
The Yadkin County Arts Council will be the recipient of $14,620 of those dollars.
“Arts have sparked economic development across the state,” said Natural and Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Kluttz. “These grants mean more jobs and a better quality of life.”
The budget invests an additional $500,000 in the Grassroots Arts Program. Nationally recognized for its per capita distribution formula that allows local decision-making on arts programming, the Grassroots funds support the sustainability of a network of local arts councils across the state.
“For nearly 50 years the North Carolina Arts Council has invested in artists and arts organizations,” said Wayne Martin, Executive Director of the N.C. Arts Council. “The result is a diverse arts infrastructure that is one of the most extensive in our nation, reaching into all 100 counties of the state.”
The N.C. Arts Council will continue to invest in the SmART Initiative, a program that uses the arts to transform downtowns and fuel economic development. A grant was awarded to support the implementation of a Highway 19E Gateway Art Plan in Burnsville created by Seattle-based artist Jack Mackie in collaboration with a variety of local glass artists and the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
“The SmART Initiative influences business development, inspires downtown revitalization and historic preservation, builds community pride of place and stimulates the growth of more creative businesses,” said Kluttz. “Government and the private sector work together in communities large and small to ensure that North Carolina continues to be a place where businesses want to be, people want to live and visitors want to explore.”
One of the first SmART Initiative programs is the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park, located along Goldsboro Street in downtown Wilson, which will be officially dedicated next fall. Currently 16 of the 28 restored whirligigs have been installed at the park and there has been more than $20 million in private and public investment generated within a two block radius of the park including brewpubs, residential apartments and restaurants. The City of Wilson has committed $1.29 million to construction.
Funds that support rural communities include several arts in education programs, such as the popular Traditional Arts Programs for Students and Junior Appalachian Musicians, an afterschool program where students receive music instruction taught by traditional string band musicians, Seagrove potters, or African American jazz musicians. cARTwheels, a performing arts touring and residency program that provides in-depth exposure to arts, will take place in 15 venues.
Noteworthy education projects funded this year include expansion of North Carolina Wolf Trap to Rutherford County. The Arts & Science Council (ASC) of Charlotte is a regional site for the nationally acclaimed Wolf Trap Early Leaning Through the Arts Program that brings performing artists into Pre-Kindergarten classes for a seven-week residency. Wolf Trap incorporates the arts into the classroom with a curriculum that is aligned with Common Core State Standards for Pre-K. The Rutherford County School District is collaborating with the ASC on this project as an effort to grow the program throughout the region.
Grant awards are recommended by panels of civic leaders and arts experts based on artistic merit, benefit of the project to the state’s citizens, and the applicant’s organizational strength and capacity. Recommendations are reviewed by the North Carolina Arts Council Board and forwarded to Secretary Susan Kluttz for final approval.
For more information about the N.C. Arts Council visit www.NCArts.org.