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Local arts council awards $22,000 in Grassroots Grants

Thirteen local arts organizations are the lucky beneficiaries of money from the new Arts Council of Wilmington and New Hanover County.  WHQR’s Rachel Lewis Hilburn has more on this year’s Grassroots Grants.

The Grassroots Grant is a statewide disbursement from the North Carolina Arts Council.  This year, $44,000 will be handed over to Wilmington’s new Arts Council.  Half of that goes to operational expenses, and half is awarded to local artists. 

Executive Director Rhonda Bellamy says the grants do more than just perpetuate fine art in the community. 

“This is going to be a boon to our economy, I think.  With all of the programming that you’ll have coming in – Cucalorus Film Festival, UNCW Presents, Chamber Music Wilmington, the Black Arts Alliance – all these organizations are doing major events during the year.  And they bring people in to our community who might not otherwise come in.”

With $70,000 in requests and only $22,000 to award, a four-judge panel had their work cut out for them, says Bellamy.  They included representatives from the Arts Council, the Wilmington Art Association, and the Community Arts Center. 

Friends of Public Radio received a grant for its production of “A Seasons Griot”. 

The 13 arts organizations awarded this year's Grassroots Grant are as follows:

Black Arts Alliance -- $4000

Brigade Boys & Girls Club -- $750

Cape Fear Chorale -- $1000

Cape Fear Jazz Society -- $1000

Carolina Vocal Arts Ensemble -- $750

Chamber Music Wilmington -- $1700

Cucalorus Film Foundation -- $3000

The Dance Cooperative -- $800

Dreams of Wilmington -- $1000

Friends of Public Radio -- $2000

UNCW Presents -- $1500

The Wilmington Ballet Company -- $1500

Wilmington Symphony Orchestra -- $3000

Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 2 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.