CPT To Receive Building Bridges Program Award Through The Doris Duke Foundation For Islamic Art

Cleveland Public Theatre (CPT) is proud to receive a Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Arts' Building Bridges 2017/2018 Grants Program award, alongside 14 US-based organizations working to strengthen relationships among Muslim and non-Muslim neighbors through arts and cultural projects.

This award will support the launch of Masrah Cleveland AlA'am - a resident theatre company that will develop work by Arabic-speaking communities, with the long-term goal of creating a permanent ensemble similar to Teatro Publico de Cleveland, CPT's resident Latino theatre company founded in 2013. The ensemble's advisory committee - comprised of community stakeholders, artists, and members of the local Arabic-speaking communities - is already planning recruitment workshops and future productions of full-length work. CPT aims to play a national leadership role in how theatres can develop professional ensembles with Arabic-speaking communities, particularly for theatres in mid-sized cities.

With more than $2.3 million in new funding through the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Arts' Building Bridges 2017/18 Grants Program, the 15 US-based grantees will launch projects to cultivate stronger relationships among Muslims and their non-Muslim neighbors through revelatory experiences. Harnessing a wide range of media, including theatre, spoken word, literature, documentary film, and radio, the grantees will develop pop-up and long-term cultural programming in their communities across the US. The grantees, which range from arts and media institutions to higher education and social service organizations, span many approaches and locations across the country but are all united in the goal of increasing harmony and connections for mutual well-being.

"When our trust and connections to one another break down, we are all the poorer for it," said Zeyba Rahman, senior program officer for the Building Bridges Program. "One of the most tested and reliable ways in which we can ignite cross-community understanding and dissipate fear is through storytelling. It can serve as the glue that binds us together by providing direct entry into one another's inner worlds and become the basis for lasting relationships. We are honored to support these 15 new projects, which creatively reimagine ways to promote social cohesion in our communities while celebrating the cultural contributions of Muslims to our American identity."

According to CPT Executive Artistic Director Raymond Bobgan, "Cleveland Public Theatre believes art has the power to change lives and theatre has the power to transform communities. This award will allow CPT to further our work in sharing the rich diversity and perspectives that exist here in Cleveland on our stages. We are thrilled to receive this award alongside arts organizations working toward inclusivity and connection. The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation delivers pivotal support for life-affirming arts endeavors across the country - and we couldn't be more grateful for their endorsement. This award is a game-changer."

Cleveland Public Theatre and the 14 other organizations were selected from a pool of more than 200 initial applicants requesting more than $26 million in funding for their projects-more than a 100 percent rise from the previous year, which saw 98 applicants requesting approximately $10 million. This increase indicates a clear spike in awareness not only of the Building Bridges Program but of the need for this important work in the current political and social context.

The new grantees of the Building Bridges Program's fifth annual open competition for funding are receiving project support ranging from $50,000 to $300,000. For full list of recipients, click here.

About the Building Bridges Program The Building Bridges Program is the grant-making arm of the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, which is an extension of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Based in New York, the program supports national efforts to advance relationships and increase understanding between Muslim and non-Muslim communities. For more information, please visit www.ddcf.org/what-wefund/building-bridges.

About the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation The mission of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation is to improve the quality of people's lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research, and child well-being, and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke's properties. For more information, please visit www.ddcf.org.

About Teatro Publico de Cleveland Teatro Publico de Cleveland is a community-based, ensemble theatre group in residence at Cleveland Public Theatre. Each spring, Teatro Publico ensemble members perform a Spanish language production and each fall, collaborate with CPT artists to create and perform plays based in the traditions of Latino culture and inspired by the creativity and life experiences of the ensemble. Visit www.teatropublico.org to read more about the ensemble.

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