SOPAC Receives 2017 NEA Grant for World Music Artists

National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $30 million in grants as part of the NEA's first major funding announcement for fiscal year 2017.

Included in this announcement is a Challenge America grant of $10,000 to the South Orange Performing Arts Center for presenting a series of World music artists in 2017. The Challenge America category supports primarily small and mid-sized organizations for projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations-those whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability.

"The arts are for all of us, and by supporting organizations such as the South Orange Performing Arts Center the National Endowment for the Arts is providing more opportunities for the public to engage with the arts," said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. "Whether in a theater, a town square, a museum, or a hospital, the arts are everywhere and make our lives richer."

"We are honored to receive the support of the NEA," said the South Orange Performing Arts Center's Executive Director, Mark Packer. "This grant will allow us to move forward in presenting superb artists from around the world, and will be a base for building audiences that reflect the rich diversity of New Jersey citizens. We hope this will impact our community positively by enhancing global and cultural understanding."

Four or more main stage concerts featuring World music artists will be presented at SOPAC in 2017. The first artist, Vinicius Cantuaria (Brazil), will perform the music of the renowned composer Antonio Carlos Jobim on March 24, 2017 at 8PM. Cantuaria, who is a singer, guitarist, composer and percussionist will pay homage to the great Jobim with songs and rhythms that range from Bossa Nova to Jazz. Many of Jobim's songs have become standards, including "The Girl from Ipanema" and "Desafinado."

The remainder of the World Music series at SOPAC is under consideration and will be announced as artists are booked. For more information about SOPAC's programs visit

Vinicius Cantuaria canta Antonio Carlos Jobim will perform at SOPAC on March 24 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $30-$38 and can be purchased online at, or by calling the box office at (973) 313-2787.

For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, visit

Since 2006, SOPAC has been serving as a premier performing arts center in the region. SOPAC offers innovative artistic and cultural experiences for diverse audiences in an intimate, inviting environment. The premier arts center hosts a variety of live performances, community events and education programs for all ages. To further expand its offerings, SOPAC has a partnership with the Juilliard School of Music to present Juilliard @ SOPAC-a series featuring upcoming musicians from the acclaimed conservatory. SOPAC is home for Seton Hall University Arts Council's performances, including Classical Concert Series, Jazz 'N the Hall performances and Seton Hall University Theatre. American Theater Group is SOPAC's theatre company in-residence.

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