Phoenix Theatre Receives NEA Grant

The NEA grant is to support their "Heritage" series, a series of three plays by or about artists of color exploring the history, mythology, and cultural inheritance of people of different races and cultural backgrounds. The three part series includes River City by Diana Grisanti, Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea by Nathan Alan Davis, and a new play with music based on Mexican folk tales, to be developed by the Phoenix and presented in English and Spanish in November of 2015. All of the plays in the series are World Premiere productions, the first two being National New Play Network Rolling World Premieres, and the third being commissioned by the Phoenix Theatre.

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Jane Chu announced last week that Phoenix Theatre is one of 919 nonprofit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Art Works grant. Phoenix Theatre is recommended for a $10,000 grant to support their "Heritage" series.

NEA Chairman Jane Chu said, "I'm pleased to be able to share the news of our support through Art Works including the award to Phoenix Theatre. The arts foster value, connection, creativity and innovation for the American people and these recommended grants demonstrate those attributes and affirm that the arts are part of our everyday lives."

"We felt instinctively when we heard the readings of River City and Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea at the 2013 NNPN National Showcase of New Plays that these made for the beginning of a series. We saw similarities in them, and we couldn't decide which play we wanted to do more, so we decided to do both. Having made that decision, and knowing that we were developing a third play, it became very apparent we should do a series as all three plays reach out to underserved communities. And we called it a Heritage series. All of them speak to our mission of diversity and reaching out to communities. All of them are really strong plays, which is the first reason we choose them, and all of them are exciting projects unto themselves, regardless of the common theme.

"Receiving a grant from the NEA gives us a sense of validation. It means that they recognize that the work that we're doing has artistic and social merit. That's what's really important about this series-the social outreach and community building that happens as a result of the shows. We're proud of our work regardless of its recognition, but it feels really great when the national recognition does happen. " -Bryan Fonseca, Producing Director of the Phoenix Theatre

Art Works grants support the creation of art, public engagement with art, lifelong learning in the arts, and enhancement of the livability of communities through the arts. The NEA received 1,474 eligible applications under the Art Works category, requesting more than $75 million in funding. Of those applications, 919 are recommended for grants for a total of $26.6 million.

For a complete listing of projects recommended for Art Works grant support, please visit the NEA website at Follow the conversation about this and other NEA?funded projects on Twitter at #NEAFall2014.

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