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Local Arts Organizations to Receive $200,000 for Artistic Excellence From the First Tennessee Foundation

/ Source: GlobeNewswire

MEMPHIS, Tenn., April 18, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In celebration of the vibrancy that the arts bring to our community, Memphis arts organizations will share $200,000 from the First Tennessee Foundation. Fourteen groups will share $100,000 as winners of the annual First Tennessee Foundation Innovation in the Arts Awards.  ArtsMemphis will also use its rigorous review process to award local arts groups with an additional $100,000 from the First Tennessee Foundation. 

The Innovation in the Arts Awards competition looks for entries that will promote artistic excellence and innovation in the Memphis community.  Award amounts are based on two variables: the grant request and how much money is available from the pool given the high caliber of entries. This year's Innovation Award winners include three collaborative projects. The winners are:

Africa in April Cultural Awareness Festival, Inc. -- $5,000

25th Anniversary Jazz Concert

April 17, 2011

Africa in April Cultural Awareness Festival, Inc. is celebrating its 25th anniversary with an International Festival encompassing various mediums – education, economics, culture, fashion, arts, crafts, music, authentic cuisine and health and wellness. The festival, to be held on Beale Street and in Robert R. Church Park, honors the Republic of Senegal and includes four days of fun, entertainment, festivities, food, celebrities, ambassadors and special guests. A highlight of the celebration will be performances by Donald Brown, an internationally renowned pianist, jazz composer and instructor. Brown's presence at the 25th anniversary celebration will add to the quality, promotions and overall advancement of the arts – his professional experiences, testimonials, partnerships and community connections qualify him as an "international ambassador for the arts."

Ballet Memphis and the Stax Music Academy -- $6,250

FUSE program

Various, 2011-2012

FUSE is a program that Ballet Memphis began two years ago as a way to connect with the youth in the community and to give our professional dancers a way to have a creative dialogue with young people who are passionate about dance. For the upcoming season, FUSE will be a collaborative project with the Stax Music Academy. The program involves a multi-stage process that will result in continual dialogue between the professional dancers at Ballet Memphis, the music students at Stax and the artistic and creative teams between the institutions. The collaborative project will include a joint intensive summer session and public performances of new works resulting from the creative dialogue between the two organizations.

Beale Street Caravan -- $7,500

iPhone Application


Beale Street Caravan (BSC) is developing a mobile application for the iPhone that will eventually be compatible on all mobile communication devices.  The look and feel of the app will complement BSC's new website launched in February. The app will include on-demand streaming of BSC archived radio programs, search features for archived, current and upcoming radio programs and search features to locate the current ground radio and satellite carriage of stations carrying BSC's weekly radio program.

Dixon Gallery and Gardens -- $12,000

Busing Bucks program

April 2011 – May 2012

Busing Bucks is a scholarship transportation program for area public school students. Because the cost of field trip transportation too often prohibits school children from visiting the Dixon, this program was created to provide full funding to safely transport students to and from the galleries and gardens. The Dixon Education Department staff has designed this program to benefit those children who otherwise could not visit the galleries and gardens and has consulted with classroom teachers to determine how to expand cultural learning and reach children whose lives are deficient in the study of art and local ecology. Busing Bucks aims to foster a new generation of museum visitors, support a culturally educated population and encourage children to embrace and enjoy the rich cultural experiences for which the Dixon is well known. All K-12 teachers in public schools, including special education classes, will be eligible to apply for the free funding for bus transportation. The Dixon projects to offer one bus scholarship weekly during the 44-week school year.

Hattiloo Theatre -- $9,000

The Music of Theatre

Aug. 4 – Dec. 24, 2011

With its sixth season launching in August, Hattiloo aims to add a crucial element to its musicals: live music. This venture will foster a more collaborative and challenging artistic environment for the casts and further diversifies its repertory. This Music of Theatre project will bring three musicals to the Hattiloo stage: Ain't Misbehavin, You're a Good Man Charlie Brown and If Scrooge was a Brother. In place of recorded soundtracks, each of these musicals will feature a live rhythm section along with a soloist, a first for Hattiloo. To ensure the performance quality of the programs, Hattiloo will partner with the Black Arts Alliance (BAA), an organization that provides a wealth of musical talent.

The Levitt Shell and Indie Memphis -- $15,250

Outdoor Film Series

July 1 – Sept. 2, 2011

The Levitt Shell, in partnership with Indie Memphis, will present a free summer series of films with musical themes outdoors in the park at the Levitt Shell on Friday evenings. This collaboration allows both organizations to capitalize on elements that are beloved by the Memphis community – music, film, parks and outdoor family activities.  A unique and exciting combination of local and national interest characterizes the film selections, from films such as "Down from the Mountain" that celebrate the traditional music deeply embedded in the culture and region of the South, to films such as "Rattle and Hum," which follows Irish rock band U2 on their 1987 US tour, including stops in Memphis and a recording session at Sun Studio.

Memphis Cultural Arts Enrichment Center -- $5,000

"Love Everybody" Tour II

March 2011 – May 2012

The "Love Everybody" performance tour is an inspiring dramatic dance tribute to the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife, Coretta. The touring cast consists of 37 Memphis-area youth with another 25 that participate in the local productions. To date, there have been 41 "Love Everybody" complete performances, along with 15 excerpt presentations, most of which were done in collaboration with the National Civil Rights Museum. The objectives of the program include developing awareness among youth of the importance of community service within their own communities by using the lives of Dr. Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King as examples, presenting and highlighting the civil rights period in American history from a positive prospective and stimulating an interest among youth in the performing arts. With this second phase of the tour, a new research component has been added that will involve students conducting artistic research on the life of these two historic individuals.   

Memphis Music Foundation -- $10,000

Cante el Exito Latin Music Program

April 2011 – February 2012

As Memphis's Latino population continues to grow, the Memphis Music Foundation saw a need for a targeted program for its Latino artists. The Cante el Exito program consists of a staff-guided, accelerated track within the Memphis Music Foundation's Music Resource Center for three Latino acts. The 12-month program will offer participants monthly goal-oriented planning, core music industry classes, exclusive access to music industry professionals along with promotional and performance opportunities. The objective of the program is to not only increase the artists' income, but also give them the knowledge to continue their careers and income growth based on the information and experience achieved during the program.

Playhouse on the Square and the Memphis Symphony Orchestra -- $10,000

"Every Good Boy Does Favour"

Sept. 8 – 10, 2011

"Every Good Boy Does Favour" is a blending of two performing arts disciplines – theatre and orchestra – that rarely intersect in a complete way. Playhouse on the Square, in collaboration with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, will present this acclaimed work in a production that will offer three evening performances for general audiences and two school-day performances for middle/high school students. Through this collaboration, the Memphis community will have an opportunity to fully experience the simultaneous delivery of both art forms. "Every Good Boy Does Favour," which cleverly exposes the suppression of political dissidents in communist Russia, is a timeless story that remains relevant in the 21st century as political regimes in countries around the world continue to restrict the freedoms of their own citizens. Playhouse on the Square and the Memphis Symphony Orchestra are reaching out to community partners to offer learning and enrichment activities to complement the messages of the program.

The Art Museum of the University of Memphis -- $10,000

"Heavyweight: Nick Cave and the Memphis Collaborate"

April – October 2011

Nick Cave, a multi-talented, multi-disciplinary artist, is a sculptor, dancer and choreographer and the head of the fashion department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His work includes the use of "soundsuits," sculptural costumes constructed of found and recycled materials that are distant cousins of African ritual masquerade costumes that are danced in traditional societies. Cave initially thought of the suits as figurative sculptures, but since he had used his own body as a form, he found he could get inside and dance, experiencing the characteristic noise made by materials striking against each other. This large-scale project is a community collaboration that will bring together the university's departments of art, theater, dance, and music, students from K-12 schools and social organizations. The project includes costumed performances made by teams of Memphians and an exhibition, curated by Nick Cave with examples of his own works, project costume installations with photo and video documentation of the teams working together and the community performances.

UrbanArt Commission -- $10,000

Public Art Education Technology Enhancement

With the technology enhancement project, the UrbanArt Commission aims to expand the profile of public art in the Memphis community by providing the general public with readily available information about the projects produced during the organization's 14-year history. To accomplish this, the UrbanArt Commission will place new signage with embedded Quick Response (QR) codes at each of its public works of art. When viewers scan these QR codes using the camera function of a smart phone, they will be directed to the UrbanArt website to learn more about the project, the artist, the mission of UrbanArt and the history of the City of Memphis Percent for Art Program, along with other facts about the positive impact of public art on our community.

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