No need to rehash the value of a vibrant arts community for this or any state. Kudos to Governor Markell and the General Assembly for providing level funding while the National Endowment of the Arts has reduced their offerings to us by 10%. (One wonders how many Tomahawk missiles cascading down on Gadhafi and costing $1 million each that 10% would take up...1,maybe 2?)
In reviewing the Aisle Say column from 2009 on the grants, here are some comparisons:
'09 – 88 organizations received 118 grants. This year the total was 99 grants from about the same amount of money; $1.5 million.
DE Center for Contemporary Arts received a total of $95,000.00 in three categories, $9,000.00 less than The Grand. Relative to total traffic between the two, there is disproportion there.
Opera Delaware received $63,000.00; DAM, $98,000.00; DE Symphony, $99,000.00
Joyful surprises :-) : The always innovative DE Theatre Company, maximizing their tiny black box stage to hallucinogenic proportions, received a whopping $95,000. Wilmington Drama League, an energetic community theatre here for 7 decades, $33,000.00. The UD's PTTP REP, the best theatre in the state and running in parallel universe to the best in NY, was the recipient of $17,000 for “Project Support”. With the quality they provide in every aspect, that money probably covers the cost of costumes for 2 shows.
Morose surprises :-( : New Candlelight Musical Theatre must not have applied. With the Twiggy sized margin they work in, they need – and deserve the money...more than, say the DE Dance Studio, which for years running has received $32,000. Same this year. They scarcely have an impact past the mums and dads and grandparents that sit through the yearly recitals. I am calling for Beau Biden to investigate this. This grant has inside job, “Bridge to Nowhere” written all over it. YMCA Delaware, catering to thousands upon thousands more, received $2,000.00 for their dance and drama program. First State Ballet received only $17,000.00; not much for DE's only professional ballet company. (Perhaps they should hire DE Dance Co's bag man.)
More morosity: Dover's Schwartz Center, a rehabilitated Victorian Grand Opera House-like theatre (with not much grand about it) was a public private initiative 15 years ago. “Rehab it and they will come.” They didn't. It sits empty the majority of the time yet still received $41,000.00, I assume to pay energy costs.
Soon the theatre season starts with a vengeance. UD's REP Ensemble opens with Lillian Hellman's classic, “The Little Foxes”. The second show is “Noises Off”, a play-within-a play offering the hysteria of Groucho, Chico and Harpo. Lola will get what she wants at New Candlelight in Sept with “Damn Yankees.”
Opera Delaware's main stage productions are “THE MAGIC FLUTE” Oct. 30m, Nov. 4 & 5, 2011 and “PORGY AND BESS” May 6m, 11 & 12, 2012. The NY Times reported a new version of “Porgy” will open at The American Repertory Theatre in Boston and move to Broadway. Written in 1934 by a man the likes of Irving Berlin called 'The Master”, this first and greatest American opera broke more boundaries than Jesse Owens. The songs are transcendental.