Thursday, May 26, 2022

Wilson Center, Cucalorus get $250K in Covid-19 relief

Two local organizations receive grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, funded by American Rescue Plan

Dance-a-lorus takes place annually during Cucalorus Film Festival, combining the work of filmmakers, choreographers and dancers for a multi-media artistic experience. Cucalorus received $100,000 from the National Endowment of the Arts American Rescue Plan grants. (Courtesy Cucalorus)

WILMINGTON — The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced Thursday it will grant almost $58 million to a multitude of arts organizations across the nation. The money is part of $135 million NEA received from the American Rescue Plan last April to funnel into the arts and culture sector across the nation, in an effort to boost economic recovery from the pandemic.

Two local organizations will benefit from the influx of capital.

Cape Fear Community College’s Wilson Center, a performance venue and student learning laboratory on Third Street, will receive $150,000. According to CFCC, the money will help the center support its programming, including numerous concerts and Broadway tours. More so, it will strengthen educational and engagement activities, particularly enrichment programs for New Hanover and Pender counties’ school systems, youth organizations and other nonprofits.

“The arts, when partnered with education, have the unique power to inspire young people and transform communities,” CFCC’s vice president of advancement and the arts Shane Fernando said in a release.

The Wilson Center was shuttered from March 2020 until April 2021 because of Covid-19. 

This is the third round of the NEA ARP funds allocated to arts organizations since April 2021, but it’s the first time any of the money has gone to the Wilson Center, Fernando added.  

NEA first distributed 40% of the $135 million ARP money to regional and state agencies to distribute through their programs. The second round in November distributed $20.2 million to 66 agencies to subgrant to community organizations. The financial boosts are aimed to “save jobs and fund operations and facilities, health and safety supplies, and marketing and promotional efforts to encourage attendance and participation.”

Cucalorus Film Festival, hosted in Wilmington every November, also is a beneficiary of the grant. Executive director Dan Brawley said the organization received $100,000 and may use the money for marketing, job retention or other operational costs for the 2022 event.

“We are delighted to receive support from NEA to help us to continue to amplify the work of filmmakers and artists that we showcase at the Cucalorus Film Festival,” Brawley said in a press release.

The noncompetitive festival was forced to go virtual in 2020 because of the pandemic and relaunched in person last fall. It hasn’t officially announced dates yet for its 28th year. However, it has posted job listings for a communications manager ($40K a year, plus a health stipend) and programming coordinator ($37K a year and a health stipend). The deadline to apply is Friday, Jan. 28.

Cucalorus also received one of NEA’s 1,498 Grants for Arts Projects two weeks ago. $33.2 million was awarded, with Cucalorus receiving $20,000 for filmmakers and performers showcasing new work at the multi-disciplinary fall festival. 

“The arts are crucial in helping America’s communities heal, unite, and inspire, as well as essential to our nation’s economic recovery,” Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson, chair of the NEA, said in a release.  

More information on the NEA’s American Rescue Plan grants, including the full list of arts organizations funded, can be found here. 


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Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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