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Verdigris Ensemble Awarded Grant From the National Endowment for the Arts

Verdigris' project is among 1,125 projects across America totaling more than $26.6 million that were selected during this second round of Grants for Arts Projects.

Verdigris Ensemble Awarded Grant From the National Endowment for the Arts

Dallas-based performing arts group Verdigris Ensemble has been approved for a $10,000 Grants for Arts Projects award from the National Endowment for the Arts to support SHAMS: A Portrait of Our World.

This project will be the largest musical work of Rumi poetry to date, targeting mixed audiences in Dallas, TX which includes the third-largest middle eastern immigrant population in the U.S. Verdigris' project is among 1,125 projects across America totaling more than $26.6 million that were selected during this second round of Grants for Arts Projects fiscal year 2022 funding.

"The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support arts and cultural organizations throughout the nation with these grants, including Verdigris Ensemble, providing opportunities for all of us to live artful lives," said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD. "The arts contribute to our individual well-being, the well-being of our communities, and to our local economies. The arts are also crucial to helping us make sense of our circumstances from different perspectives as we emerge from the pandemic and plan for a shared new normal informed by our examined experience."

"This grant marks a really important milestone in the life of our organization," says Verdigris artistic director Sam Brukhman, " and we are excited to continue growing and expanding in our local community."

SHAMS: A Portrait Of Our World is a multi-part, 10-movement songbook project based on poetry from 13th Century poet and mystic, Rumi. The compositional approach taken by award-winning Iranian composer, Sahba Aminikia, will combine eastern and western classical styles in a vibrant cultural exchange of vocal techniques, instrumentation, and presentation, all based on the universal messages of Rumi's writing. Performances will be fully staged in concert with Syrian visual artist, Kevork Mourad, who creates large-scale, three-dimensional ink drawings often live during the performance.

The full composition of SHAMS by Aminikia and the creation of associated art by Mourad will premiere in the spring of 2023 in Dallas. The performance will allow Verdigris' colleagues to get a firsthand understanding of SHAMS and the larger goals for the work. Talk backs will be facilitated in order to enhance communication and understanding around the repertoire and its cultural importance.

For more information on other projects included in the Arts Endowment grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.

Committed to bringing the beauty of choral music to a broader audience, Verdigris Ensemble is a group of professional vocal artists exploring the boundaries of the choral medium through creative programming, collaboration, and education. Since the 2020 shutdown caused by the COVID pandemic and subsequent variant surges, Verdigris has maintained supplemental programming, including its ION Composer Competition, studio recordings, and a rapidly growing education program-now with residencies in W.E. Greiner Exploratory Arts Academy and Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center, and an after-school Student Leadership Cohort program, which provides mentorship and training in arts entrepreneurship.

Founded in 2017, Verdigris has been featured by NPR, BBC Classical Magazine, Dallas Morning News, D Magazine, NBCDFW, KERA'S Art&Seek, and others. More information can be found at www.verdigrismusic.org.



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