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The Daily Tar Heel

County gets $7.4 million in arts grants

Will fund local artists, schools

On a typical weekday at the Carrboro ArtsCenter, several dozen children are busy at work finding ways to improve North Carolina’s economy.

Though they might not know it yet, these young artists may soon help energize the state’s ailing business climate through their work — or so says the North Carolina Arts Council.

The council, a division of the state’s Department of Cultural Resources, announced its annual grants in August, presenting $7.4 million in funds to arts initiatives throughout the state.

Bridgette Lacy, media relations manager for the Arts Council, said the benefits of the grants are twofold. Not only do the grants boost the state’s economy, Lacy said, but they also preserve a long tradition of arts culture in North Carolina.

“A lot of times, this money is used to hire artists,” she said.

Local grant recipients include the ArtsCenter and Kidzu Children’s Museum in Chapel Hill.

In distributing the grants, the council emphasized the importance of a “creative economy,” claiming that original ideas are one thing that cannot be outsourced.

The grants, funded both by appropriations from the N.C. General Assembly and by the National Endowment for the Arts, are intended to maintain the strength of arts-based educational programs in the state and to provide stability to jobs related to the arts.

Carrboro’s ArtsCenter was granted nearly $63,000 by the council, the majority of which — nearly $54,000 — comes in the form of a” State Arts Resources grant”: These specific grants are offered only to well-established arts programs with considerable operating budgets that generate innovative and high-quality artwork.

Unlike most arts grants, a State Arts Resources grant may go toward operating costs rather than strictly toward arts programs, said ArtsCenter Executive Director Ed Camp Us&b=Contact.

“It’s difficult for nonprofits to get grants that cover operating expenses,” Camp said.

The remaining $9,000 in funds will go toward the New Realities Program, which seeks to prepare art instructors and professionals for careers in the evolving field of arts administration.

Those funds will also support an educational program that pairs at-risk, disadvantaged and mentally disabled youth with art instructors. The ArtsCenter is working with Central Elementary School in Hillsborough for its Arts in Education Program.

“We’re using arts to integrate with other curricula,” Camp said.

Kidzu received $7,500 from the Arts Council to help plan public art displays in its new expansion location on top of the Wallace Parking Deck.

The Arts Council hopes that its grants will continue to fund creative initiatives in the state and solidify the creative sector of the economy for future job seekers.

“Yes, it’s nice for (the grants) to boost the economy, but they also keep and maintain these wonderful arts organizations that we have,” Lacy said. “A lot of people are attracted to North Carolina because of the arts.”

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