Arts Council shows diversity in grant awards for 2015-2016 cycle

Arts Council shows diversity in grant awards for 2015-2016 cycle
November 05
00:00 2015

Special to The Chronicle

Retired teacher Diane Faison, who depicts Harriet Tubman, was one of the many recipients of an Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County grant announced at the organization’s “Community Investment Reveal.”

The Arts Council announced more than $1.8 million in grants for its 2015-2016 grant cycle at the Milton Rhodes Center for The Arts on Oct. 29. Thirty-eight different organizations, some in more than one category, and 16 individuals received grants.

Faison, who received a grant enabling her to take her one-woman show, “The Spirit of Harriet Tubman,” to middle and high schools, presented a short, moving scene from the show to the representatives of arts organizations and arts advocates who gathered for the “Reveal.”

The North Carolina Black Repertory Company, which presents the National Black Theatre Festival, received one of the largest grants.   Winston-Salem Delta Fine Arts, a long-time Arts Council Funded Partner, received a grant under the new “Annual Event and Series Grants.”

Carolina Music Ways, which presents “Carolina Live, Our Musical Heritage,” a 45-minute program that introduces elementary school students to the Piedmont’s cross-cultural musical legacy, received funding as well as William Scheidt, who takes hands-on African drumming and dancing workshops to elementary and middle school students.

In his comments, Jim Sparrow, President and CEO of The Arts Council, said that priorities in the grant making process included “diversity and a sense of touching people.”  This was evident in both the larger grants and the smaller but impactful “mini grants” that included an original play to be presented at the WSSU Anderson Center and a cultural arts festival with live music and entertainment at Easton Park.

Sparrow elaborated by saying, “This year is especially significant because The Arts Council has revamped its awards process so grant categories are clearer and better fit the diverse organizations and artistic projects that comprise the Winston-Salem and Forsyth County arts community.  We are moving toward a model that will allow us to target specific needs and take advantage of opportunities when they arise throughout the community.”

This year, The Arts Council solicited input about the future direction of The Arts Council and had a committee comprised of Funded Partners, Board members and others assess the grants process.

“When all is said and done,” said Sparrow, “our objective is to be good stewards of the funds entrusted to us by donors, ensure we meet their expectations, and strengthen and move forward the arts community in some manner through every grant we make.”

At the Community Investment Reveal, The Arts Council highlighted its six grant categories by showcasing performances and presentations by grantees in each of the categories.


*Organizational Support Grants – Matthew Troy, Artistic Director of Piedmont Wind Symphony


*Annual Event and Series Grants – Kernersville Little Theatre


*Regional Artist Project Grants – Wurlitzer Prize


*Arts in Education – Diane Faison, one-woman Harriet Tubman show


*Innovative Project Grants – The Olio glassworks, youth in transition project


*Community Enrichment Mini Grants – Winston-Salem South Asian Film Festival


The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County raises funds and advocates for the arts, sponsors events in conjunction with other arts organizations, promotes and funds arts education, creates cultural and learning opportunities, develops social capital and aids economic development.



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