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The Billie Holiday Theatre Receives Grant to Establish the Seller-Lehrer Family Foundation Scholarship Fund

The scholarship will be awarded to over 250 students over the course of the next three years.

The Billie Holiday Theatre Receives Grant to Establish the Seller-Lehrer Family Foundation Scholarship Fund

The Billie Holiday Theatre announced today a $300,000 grant from the Seller-Lehrer Family Foundation to establish the Seller-Lehrer Family Foundation Scholarship Fund for programs under the Theatre's newly expanded Education & Humanities Division, including the Black Arts Institute and Youth Arts Academy. The scholarship will be awarded to over 250 students over the course of the next three years.

"The Billie Holiday Theatre has been a launching pad for Black artists over the last fifty years; artists like Sam Jackson, Debbie Allen to today's young talent," stated award-winning actor, playwright, screenwriter and director Dr. Ruben Santiago-Hudson. "This gift from the Seller-Lehrer Family Foundation ensures young Black artists have access to the rare and powerful space of seeing themselves in their peer group, Black stories rooted in their culture and history, and a world-class faculty committed to cultivating the next generation of warrior artists."

"It encourages me that the foundation Jeffrey Seller and Josh Lehrer established recognizes the growing needs of our communities and continues to devote significant resources to address the entrenched inequities that afflict Black Americans - on Main Street, Wall Street, and on Broadway," said Brandon Victor Dixon, the Foundation's newest director. "The Seller-Lehrer Family Foundation's support of the Black Arts Institute reflects that commitment," added Dixon.

This past Fall, The Billie focused its efforts in building out its educational arm and strategically investing to unite all core educational programming under a single artistic vision with the goal to provide a safe, artistically rigorous space for creative expression through arts education. Programs under The Billie's Education & Humanities Division include:

Youth Arts Academy:

A 22-year old staple in the Central Brooklyn community, The Youth Arts

Academy has provided multidisciplinary arts instruction to thousands of youth

3-18 years old in Dance, Theater and African Drumming with an award-

winning faculty.

Black Arts Institute:

Engaging university-aged students from across the country, The Billie launched the Black Arts Institute (BAI) in 2018. A unique partnership with the Stella Adler Studio of Acting, BAI provides an immersive exploration of America's Black Theatre Canon while addressing voids that still exist today in many mainstream college and university theater programs and theater training programs across the country. Founding faculty include a distinguished collective of artists: Phylicia Rashad, Ruben Santiago Hudson, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Michele Shay, and Sonia Sanchez. BAI programming encompasses a 2-week winter intensive, 5-week summer intensive, and 14-week course accredited by NYU launched January 2020 held at studio spaces at The Billie Holiday Theatre.




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