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Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts Receives NEA Challenge America Fast-Track Grant

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Senior Deputy Chairman Joan Shigekawa announced today that Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts is one of 150 not-for-profit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Challenge America Fast-Track grant. Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts is recommended for a $10,000 grant to support their April 27, 2014 presentation of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra's A Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald.

The program will include many of Ella's original big band arrangements graciously made available by the Smithsonian Institute's Jazz Program with the assistance of the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation. The repertoire will feature arrangements by Billy May, Count Basie, Van Alexander, Billy Strayhorn, and Benny Carter. Many of these arrangements have not been heard by live audiences in over 40 years. Additionally, The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra has commissioned new arrangements for the band, in keeping with the spirit of Ella's songbook, adding a sense of contemporariness to round out this unique show.

The Challenge America Fast-Track category offers $10,000 matching grants to support 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 with grants supporting two major outcomes: public engagement with diverse and excellent art and livability, or the strengthening of communities through the arts. "The NEA was founded on the principle that the arts belong to all the people of the United States," said NEA Senior Deputy Chairman Joan Shigekawa. "We're proud that Challenge America Fast-Track grants bring more opportunities for arts engagement to underserved communities."

Brooklyn Center Director Jon Yanofsky states: "Brooklyn Center is extremely grateful for the NEA's leadership support for this important project. The NEA grant will not only allow us to conduct extensive outreach around this event, but it also serves as an invaluable gesture of support and belief in our organizational mission and activities."

About Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College

Founded in 1954, Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College presents outstanding performing arts and arts education programs, reflective of Brooklyn's diverse communities, at affordable prices. Each season, Brooklyn Center welcomes over 65,000 people to the 2,400 seat Walt Whitman Theatre, including up to 45,000 schoolchildren from over 300 schools who attend their SchoolTime series, one of the largest arts-in-education programs in the borough. In 2014-15, Brooklyn Center will celebrate its 60th anniversary season, which will correspond with the opening of the new Leonard and Claire Tow Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College.

Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts

Walt Whitman Theatre at Brooklyn College

Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts' programs are supported, in part, by public funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Major support for the 2013-14 season is provided by: Brooklyn College; Target; Con Edison; TD Bank; National Grid; Macy's Foundation; Mertz Gilmore Foundation; TD Charitable Foundation; the Henry and Lucy Moses Fund, Inc.; the Herman Goldman Foundation; the Alice Lawrence Foundation; and The Harkness Foundation for Dance. Additional support provided by CNG Publications, Schneps Communications, and The Brooklyn Eagle. The Sheraton Brooklyn New York Hotel is the official hotel of Brooklyn Center's 2013-14 season. Backstage catering is graciously provided by Applebee's.

Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts gratefully acknowledges generous support from New York State Assembly members Rhoda Jacobs, Alan Maisel, Félix Ortiz, Annette Robinson, and Helene E. Weinstein, New York City Councilman Albert Vann and the Department of Youth & Community Development, New York City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, and Commissioner of Cultural Affairs Kate Levin.

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