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Arts Groups Get Economic Stimulus Funds

The National Endowment for the Arts has announced two Louisville organizations will receive direct grants as part of the federal economic stimulus package. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer reports.The Louisville Ballet and the Louisville Orchestra will each receive a $50,000 grant from the NEA.The two are among more than 600 groups nationwide and seven throughout Kentucky receiving such grants. The grants are part of the $50 million the NEA received from President Barack Obama's economic stimulus package.The Louisville Ballet’s executive director, Dwight Hutton, says the funding will definitely help the organization after recent declines in funding from the city."We’re going to spread it as far as we can, and we’re really good at doing that. It will help us achieve, hopefully, a balanced budget this year," Hutton says.The Louisville Ballet’s current budget is $3.2 million, with 45 percent of revenue coming from ticket sales.Robert Birman is the orchestra’s chief executive officer. He says the money will go directly into supporting employment in the community."We’re applying all of the $50,000 to support musicians’ salaries for our summer classics season, which is both at Ballard High School and in Jeffersonville, Indiana," Birman says.This round of grants were made from nearly $30 million, for which the NEA received $120 million in grant requests from organizations nationwide. The other $20 million the NEA received through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was distributed to state and regional arts agencies. The Kentucky Arts Council received more thatn $300,000 of that money and will announce grants to state arts groups this month.