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    Thursday, August 11, 2022

    ARPA funding announced for arts and culture projects

    The New London Community Orchestra is offering free after-school string-instrument music lessons to marginalized children. Chestnut Street Playhouse and the Hispanic Alliance of Southeastern Connecticut are creating a bilingual summer theater program for high school students. Artist Jessica Cerullo is sharing New London County's pandemic experiences and honoring caregivers through a book of poetry and a community dialogue happening in October.

    These projects are among the 38 grants the Southeastern Connecticut Cultural Coalition awarded to 20 artists, 13 nonprofits and five for-profit creative businesses across Norwich, New London and Stonington, using federal American Rescue Plan Act funds. The grants total $258,163.

    These three municipalities partnered with the Norwich-based nonprofit coalition to manage and administer a portion of their ARPA funding.

    Executive Director Wendy Bury said late last year that this came about because towns don't have arts and culture departments, and municipal leaders told her they didn't know if they'd be the best people to decide where money should go for arts and culture.

    In Norwich, the Norwich Arts Center and Blooming into Greatness are getting $9,000 to create a step-dancing team, and artist Faith Satterfield will use her $8,850 for materials, labor and studio space to create a mural on the Sunlight Building on Franklin Street.

    Some artists are getting funding to support their rent and utilities for their shops and studios.

    The Norwich Rotary Foundation is getting $4,000 to revive its Celebrate Cultural Diversity event at Howard T. Brown Park.

    One of the for-profit businesses getting a grant is Norwich Camera Company, which intends to start film developing workshops, host walks throughout the city to teach photography and restart its initiative offering photographic services to veterans and their family members free of charge.

    New London's Oasis Pub at 16 Bank St. and the Social Bar + Kitchen at 208 Bank St. are getting $9,080 for equipment to support live entertainment, and Dessa Lea Productions is receiving $7,700 to create seasonal promotional street banners for events and attractions in Stonington Borough.

    The grant for Be Well Productions will support a work-in-progress reading of local playwright and actor Emma Palzere-Rae's one-woman play based on the life of Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron, scheduled for the fall at Lyman Allyn Art Museum, 625 Williams St. in New London. The New London Drone Orchestra plans to hold a free concert at Evans Hall at Connecticut College in October. The Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra is getting $7,000 for an outdoor concert.

    Included in the $258,163 is $28,000 for professional development, which was optional for grant recipients, and 74% of grantees will participate. The Professional Development Cohort requires a one-year commitment to participate in a series of workshops and meetings. The Cultural Coalition is developing the program in partnership with Mass MoCA's Assets for Artists, Women's Business Development Council, Global City Norwich, CT Office of the Arts and CT Humanities.

    To view a full list of the ARPA grants for arts and culture, visit bit.ly/arpaculture.

    e.moser@theday.com

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