SPARC Receives NEA Art Works Grant
National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa announced today that SPARC is one of 895 nonprofit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Art Works grant. SPARC is recommended for a $20,000 grant to support its LIVE ART program.
LIVE ART is an inclusive performing arts education program involving almost 200 students. Through a year-long series of weekly classes and summer intensives, students with special needs and typically developing students explore musical instrumentation, singing, dance, visual art mediums, technology, photography, set design and spoken word. SPARC conducts the LIVE ART program in partnership with educators, specialists and teaching artists from NEA-grantees Richmond Ballet, Richmond Symphony, and Visual Arts Center of Richmond; as well as Faison School of Autism, Collegiate School, Dreamers Theater, Northstar Academy, the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, St. Catherine's and St. Christopher's Schools, JAMinc. and area public school systems. The program culminates in a major music concert featuring nationally recognized professional musicians performing alongside LIVE ART students.
SPARC Executive Director Ryan Ripperton said, "SPARC is thrilled and honored to receive its first NEA grant. LIVE ART has a profound influence on the students it serves, fostering self-awareness, empathy and human understanding. It is a life-changing opportunity for our students to learn to work together in this way, and we are proud to serve these incredible young people. For this grant to be announced now, just days before the major culminating performance of our second LIVE ART cycle, is a signal that this program serves a unique need in our community and must continue. This grant is a great start on the funding for the next LIVE ART cycle, constituting approximately 5% of the funds needed. To have the NEA's endorsement and support is validating and extraordinarily uplifting at this pivotal time."
Acting NEA Chairman Shigekawa said, "The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support these exciting and diverse arts projects that will take place throughout the United States. Whether it is through a focus on education, engagement, or innovation, these projects all contribute to vibrant communities and memorable experiences for the public to engage with the arts."
Art Works grants support the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence: public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and enhancing the livability of communities through the arts. The NEA received 1,528 eligible Art Works applications, requesting more than $75 million in funding. Of those applications, 895 are recommended for grants for a total of $ 23.4 million.