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NEA Awards $230K To A Dozen Ky. Arts Projects

A Commonwealth Theatre Company Connecting Cultures residency at Newcomer Academy in Louisville, Kentucky in December 2019.
Commonwealth Theatre Center
A Commonwealth Theatre Company Connecting Cultures residency at Newcomer Academy in Louisville, Kentucky in December 2019.

An audio play about the experiences of young Muslims and an artist residency at a sculpture park in Frankfort are among the Kentucky projects to receive National Endowment for the Arts grants.

The federal agency announced the first round of funding for the 2021 fiscal year Thursday, awarding 12 grants to Kentucky organizations for a total of $230,000.

That includes $10,000 to Louisville’s Commonwealth Theatre Center, which will use the funds to support the development of a new “immersive” audio play called “Zaynab’s Night of Destiny.” 

CTC commissioned playwright Denmo Ibrahim in November to develop the work, which will reflect on the experiences of young Muslims and other underrepresented youth.  

“For some, this may be the first time that they will see their life experiences mirrored back to them in a children's production, and we are incredibly grateful to the NEA for allowing us to enhance and expand our reach,” CTC director of creative engagement Hallie Dizdarevic said in a press release. 

NEA acting chairman Ann Eilers said they are “proud to support this project” and believe that CTC has “demonstrated creativity, excellence, and resilience during this very challenging year.”

Funds going to projects in Frankfort include $15,000 to the city for cultural programs and $20,000 to Josephine Sculpture Park for a visual arts residency and “related public programming,” according to an NEA press release. 

Other Kentucky grants are:

  • Actors Theatre of Louisville will get $45,000 to put toward a theater project.
  • $20,000 will go to Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green for a folk and traditional arts project.
  • Appalshop in Whitesburg will receive two $15,000 grants, one on behalf of Roadside Theater.
  • StageOne Family Theatre will get a $15,000 Arts Project grant.
  • Sarabande Books in Louisville is receiving $45,000.
  • $15,000 will go to the Louisville Orchestra.
  • Kentucky Opera will receive a $10,000 grant.
  • My Nose Turns Red Theatre Company in Covington will receive $10,000.

In total, the NEA is distributing more than $27.5 million in grants to organizations and projects across the country.