ARTworks in Beaufort was contacted by the Arts Education Counselor of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) earlier this year to inform staff that ARTworks, the community arts center that is home to the Arts Council of Beaufort County, had been hand-selected for a non-competitive “Arts Education in American Communities” grant.
Now, the NEA has approved ARTworks’ plan for the “Bridging Cultures & Generations through Music” initiative by supporting it with a $10,000 from the NEA, to be matched by funds from the community. The intended outcome is to expose communities to exemplary artists, and provide knowledge and skills in the arts to Americans of all ages.
“We’ve observed that there are racial, cultural and generational audience diversity issues,” commented JW Rone, executive director at ARTworks, “which could be addressed through creative music-based projects. Our bridging initiative is our way of addressing both youth education and audience diversity, of race and age, by enlisting two prominent African-American musicians to perform and teach in Beaufort County in 2012.”
Classical violinist Chelsey Green is based in Washington, D.C., and a 2010-2012 Strathmore Artist-in-Residence. Her band is The Green Project. The classical musician brings a new appreciation of the violin as it relates to the music of today’s youth, including R&B, pop, soul, funk, Latin, alternative, hip hop, go-go, and Gospel. ARTworks is also in negotiations with blues artist Guy Davis.
The goals for the project are: to introduce students and the community to the musicians and their art forms; to inspire young musicians in our community regardless of race and socio-economic status; and to encourage audience diversity and assist in bridging cultural and generational divides.
While in Beaufort, the Bridging musicians will teach master classes for teachers and perform in the schools, and perform one major public performance each. Ultimately, ARTworks hopes to identify students who are inspired by these genre-exploring experiences and help them continue through the long-standing tradition of jam nights with other musicians in the community.
ARTworks is an established arts education leader, and is a Kennedy Center Partner in Education with the Beaufort County School District, hosting Youth Art Month in March every year, and adopting Lady’s Island Elementary School. “We’ve earned a national reputation for quality arts programming,” stated Rone, “as evidenced by the NEA hand-picking ARTworks for this non-competitive grant focusing on arts awareness and education.”
Through its community arts center and partner organizations, ARTworks in 2011 alone has provided the community with:
• 23 weeks of afterschool arts programming reaching more than 175 children.
• Eight concerts through the Street Music on Paris Avenue series in Port Royal, reaching more than 1,900 people.
• Over 45 concert and theater performances in its black box theater.
• Workshops for adults, including writing, basketry, and claywork, to 176 people.
• Four arts-integration workshops for 65 teachers in Beaufort County.
For more information, visit www.ArtWorksInBeaufort.org.