Federal grants enable arts to thrive
By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Entertainment Writer
By Wayne Harada
Eight arts and culture organizations in Hawai'i have won nearly $795,000 in grants from the National Endowment for the Arts to support arts education programs and missions.
The State Foundation on Culture and the Arts will receive $588,900, the largest sum to a Hawai'i agency, which will enable SFCA to continue and carry out its programs and grants statewide, said Ronald Yamakawa, foundation executive director.
"What we get is a partnership grant," said Yamakawa. "The NEA is a federal agency and the grants have to be matched (locally), dollar for dollar," he said.
Still, said Yamakawa, the grants will allow the state to reach "underserved communities and help with arts education."
Yamakawa said that a visit here last year by Dana Gioia, NEA chairman, was a tangible means to enhance visibility of what is happening in Hawai'i's arts and culture community. "Our arts and culture people got first-hand access to him; and his visit heightened awareness with what's being done with the federal grants we receive."
The Honolulu Theatre for Youth, Hawai'i's only theater group that maintains a paid roster of actors, will receive a $40,000 NEA grant.
Dan Kelin, HTY's education director, said the grant enables the group to expand its consortium project for ESL, or English as a second language, students at West Hawai'i schools on the Big Island, where he was teaching this week.
"We've had a nice relationship with ESL in West Hawai'i, and the grant will extend the program to another level," said Kelin. "West Hawai'i does an annual speech festival for the ESL program; (the grant) gives us a chance to expand the speech festival to include first-time dramatic pieces that target the fourth- to sixth-grade level."
Hawai'i received a total of $794,800 in grants, part of $63 million in awards to 970 nonprofit arts organizations. The total includes $21,409,500 through four grant categories and $42,230,200 to state, jurisdictional and regional arts agencies.
Reach Wayne Harada at firstname.lastname@example.org.