National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Rocco Landesman announced today that Kentucky Opera (KO) and Actors Theatre of Louisville (ATL) are two of 832 non-profit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Art Works grant. KO is recommended for a $12,500 grant to support the Composer Workshop featuring Paul Moravec and Terry Teachout’s world premiere of The Kings Man and its companion work, Danse Russe; and ATL for a $50,000 grant in support of its 37th Annual Humana Festival of New American Plays.
Kentucky Opera’s Composer Workshop program was started in February 2009 with award-winning composer Jake Heggie and in partnership with the University of Louisville School of Music (UofLSM) and the Music Academy of St. Francis in the Fields (MA). Subsequent composer residencies included Daron Hagen with his New York Storiesand Ben Moore’s Enemies: A Love Story. As envisioned, the Composer Workshop promotes the development of new opera works by giving composers access to young singers and musicians from the partner groups. Composer Ben Moore says, “It’s an invaluable benefit for any opera composer to see their work realized at various stages of development. The opportunities for that are rare, however, because of the talent and resources opera requires.” The KO Studio Artists and students from UofL SM and MA also benefit by working and developing relationships with living composers.

KY Opera Executive Director David Roth.

KO’s General Director David Roth says, “We have received national attention for the Composer Workshop by building a useful tool for composers, while we have increased the validity of our Studio Artist Program for developing young opera artists. The ultimate goal for both programs is to leverage each into the presentation of these new works as fully staged productions through our Contemporary Opera Series, which we launched this season with Benjamin Britten’s The Prodigal Son. This NEA Art Works grant will enable us to achieve that goal.”

Actors Theatre Artistic Director Les Waters.
“Actors Theatre is proud to be the recipient of this grant, and we are delighted to have our continued commitment to the American playwright and the development of new work recognized by the National Endowment of the Arts,” said Actors Theatre’s Artistic Director Les Waters.  

Recognized as one of the nation’s most prestigious new play festivals and attracting audiences of up to 40,000 each year, Actors Theatre has grown the Humana Festival from a trailblazing theatre event into one of the most important showcases of new work in the country. It boasts a legacy of having introduced more than 400 plays into the American theatre repertoire and remains a vital platform for launching new plays and playwrights to the national stage with an impressive track record of numerous subsequent productions. The 37th Humana Festival will run February 27 – April 7, 2013and will feature fully-produced world premieres by Jeff Augustin, Mallery Avidon, Will Eno, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and Sam Marks; a suite of three one-act plays by Rinne Groff, Lucas Hnath and Anne Washburn commissioned by Actors Theatre and performed by the Acting Apprentice Company; and an evening of ten-minute plays featuring a new play by Sarah Ruhl, among others yet to be announced.

Additionally, Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3) announced that the Louisville-based Council on Developmental Disabilities has received a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to fund an innovative new art show next year.

The grant, part of the Challenge America Fast-Track program, will go toward the production of The Striped Show, a group exhibition that will include works created by artists with disabilities. The theme of the show is diversity.

“The arts are a powerful driver of economic activity in Louisville, and they contribute immensely to our cultural growth,” Congressman Yarmuth said. “I am proud to support the efforts of the Council on Development Disabilities, and I will continue working to ensure federal recognition of the arts and their ability to broaden understanding in our community and society.”

The Striped Show will open at the Weber Gallery in April. The gallery is a program of the Council on Developmental Disabilities. Exhibitions are collaborations that showcase professional artists and artists with disabilities. But The Striped Show goes a step further, with artists, artworks and the audience participating in a coordinated demonstration of diversity.

In March 2012, the NEA received 1,509 eligible applications for Art Works requesting more than $74 million in funding. The 832 recommended NEA grants total $22.3 million, span 13 artistic disciplines and fields, and focus primarily on the creation of work and presentation of both new and existing works for the benefit of American audiences. Applications were reviewed by panels of outside experts convened by NEA staff, and each project was judged on its artistic excellence and artistic merit.