Indianapolis—National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $25 million in grants as part of the NEA’s first major funding announcement for fiscal year 2018. Included in this announcement is an Art Works grant of $20,000 to support the Indiana Repertory Theatre for the purpose of expanding their programming for Exploring Stages, theatre for patrons 3-8 years old. The Art Works category is the NEA’s largest funding category and supports projects that focus on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and/or the strengthening of communities through the arts.
“It is energizing to see the impact that the arts are making throughout the United States. These NEA-supported projects, such as this one to Indiana Repertory Theatre, are good examples of how the arts build stronger and more vibrant communities, improve well-being, prepare our children to succeed and increase the quality of our lives,” said Chu. “At the National Endowment for the Arts, we believe that all people should have access to the joy, opportunities and connections the arts bring.”
Funding from the NEA will support the Theatre’s collaborative efforts with the United Way of Central Indiana and Child Care Answers to bring need-based preschool students to the IRT, and provide each child with a copy of the book upon which the play is based.
“Support from the NEA means that we can fulfill our goal of serving audiences of all ages, particularly early readers in our Exploring Stages program,” said Janet Allen, IRT’s Executive Artistic Director. “It is an absolute joy to introduce children to the vigor of spoken language, particularly the least curriculum-supported schools in our community. After four years, we’ve mastered creating a space for our youngest patrons that surrounds them in action and uses text-based language and participatory storytelling that is designed specifically for them.”
The IRT has realized two objectives that the institution, with support from the NEA, will seek to accomplish as the Exploring Stages program evolves. The first is to support language enrichment, emotional recognition and story comprehension through word and activity-based stage play adaptations by commissioning new children’s plays for production in upcoming seasons. The initial effort will be led by IRT’s Playwright-in-Residence, James Still, who will lay the groundwork for further commissions.
The second is to move into full contractual work with Talleri McRae, a Louisville-based educator, theatre artist and inclusion specialist. After evaluating The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse, McRae will advise on curriculum building, community outreach and pre- and post-show activities for special needs learners in the 2018-2019 season.
For more information about the IRT contact Carolyne Holcomb, Marketing Communications Manager at email@example.com or 317.916.4824
For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.
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