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Artists to help others succeed

In recent years, the artistic talent in the Black Belt has gotten a lot of attention.

Tuesday, March 28, they will also have their first opportunity to learn how to get funding.

The Alabama State Council on the Arts, in partnership with local art organizations such as the Coleman Center for Arts and Culture in York and the Society of Folk Arts and Culture in Eutaw, plan to hold workshops to provide an overview of the council’s grant programs.

Barbara Edwards, Deputy Director of the Council, said the group will have a series of workshops, but two will focus on local art.

“We are going to do four workshops and two of them are going to be in the Black Belt,” Edwards said. “This is all part of our Black Belt Initiative and it gives us a chance to tell people about some of the grants that are available and hear about some of the things they have going on. It’s a great networking opportunity.”

The council will be at the Coleman Center Tuesday, March 28 from 4 to 6 p.m. and in Eutaw at the James C. Poole Library from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 2.

The council is working with Gov. Bob Riley’s Black Belt Action Commission to raise interest on the arts in our local schools. This year, Edwards said, they plan to put funding behind bringing new programs to Black Belt schools.

“We are going to provide each school system with $8,000 grants to bring arts into the schools,” Edwards said. “We re a firm believer in arts in education and we feel it is our duty to bring them to the Black Belt.”

Last year, Edwards said, $129,000 in grants was provided to Black Belt schools and in the future, they hope to provide more and more assistance.

The grant writing workshops, Edwards said, are just another effort to assist growth in the Black Belt region.

The council is able to provide their assistance with help from an annual appropriation from the Alabama legislature and funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, which is a federal agency.

For more information on grant writing workshops, contact Randy Shoults, Community Arts Program Manager, at (334) 242-4076 extension 242. He can also be reached by e-mail at randy.shoults@arts.alabama.gov.