National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $30 million in grants as part of the NEA’s first major funding announcement for fiscal year 2017. Included in this announcement is a Challenge America grant of $10,000 to Joe’s Movement Emporium for The Ability Project. The Challenge America category supports primarily small and mid-sized organizations for projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations—those whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability.
“The arts are for all of us, and by supporting organizations such as Joe’s Movement Emporium, the National Endowment for the Arts is providing more opportunities for the public to engage with the arts,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Whether in a theater, a town square, a museum, or a hospital, the arts are everywhere and make our lives richer.”
“Joe’s is thrilled to receive this Challenge America grant from the NEA in support of The Ability Project, which makes it possible for differently-abled participants to build skills that will enhance their academic and employment performance,” said Executive Director, Brooke Kidd. “This experience will create new pathways of expression, self–confidence, and stamina. For those who have not been encouraged to dance or perform because of physical constraints, the opportunity to move, sing or recite frees a human potential and demonstrates to all the greater creative capacity.”
The Ability Project is a multi-disciplinary performance project in Dance, Spoken Word, African Drum, and Vocal Music for differently-abled performers with autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, or other developmental disabilities. Participants will generate new work through a residency, learn material from guest artists, and produce several performances at a local high school auditorium. This project will use the power of the performing arts to improve the health, identity, and independence of teens and adults with developmental disabilities. A core of experienced instructors will work with guest artists to use the power of the performing arts to improve the health, identity and independence of participants. The stage experience will allow the audience to reflect on notions of disability and the value of performances by special populations.
For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.
(via Joe’s Movement Emporium. Photo courtesy of Neena Narayanan of the High Point High School Movement Experience.)