Arts grants promote diversity

Staff Writer

Staff Writer

The Monmouth County Arts Council will use grant funds to help bring greater diversity to arts organizations and arts programming in the county.

MCAC Executive Director Mary Eileen Fouratt said this week that the arts council will support several initiatives with the $20,000 in grant funds received from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation to support its community outreach projects.

"We are going to have a workshop for member groups that will help them to increase diversity among members, participants and audiences," Fouratt explained. "We are also planning an art project with Willie Cole, the juror for our annual art show this year, aimed at trying to make better connections with the African-American community."

The MCAC will also continue the series of intercultural collaborations begun this year with "Taste of Culture," she said. The series of dinners held at ethnic restaurants introduced participants to the cuisine and arts of other cultures.

The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation announced $4.8 million in 95 arts grants in 2004.

In addition to funding arts programs, David Grant, executive director, said the grants recognize the need to help the state’s arts organizations build fiscal and administrative strength and support technical assistance initiatives.

Other local arts organizations that received Dodge grants include New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch, which received a $70,000 grant for general operating support.

"They’ve been supporting us for five years now," said Dr. Gabor Barabas, artistic director of NJ Rep. "It will help to fund main stage plays, new play development, a play reading series, education initiatives and our Theatre Brut festivals, which present new and experimental plays."

The Shore Institute of the Contemporary Arts (SICA), which opened this month in Long Branch, received a $10,000 matching grant. Executive Director Doug Ferrari said the contemporary arts center will use the grant, plus the matching $10,000 SICA will need to raise, to fund programs like an educational program for high school students and a speaker series.

Two River Theatre Company, which is building a new facility in Red Bank, also received a $70,000 grant for general operating support.