M E D I A A D V I S O R Y
May 9, 2018 – Richmond Virginia – National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $80 million in grants as part of the NEA’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2018. Included in this announcement is an Art Works grant of $10,000 to Richmond Symphony for its planned Big Tent Festivals in Bryan Park (September 2018) and Pole Green Park (May 2019). The Art Works category is the NEA’s largest funding category and supports projects that focus on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and/or the strengthening of communities through the arts.
“The variety and quality of these projects speaks to the wealth of creativity and diversity in our country,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Through the work of organizations such as Richmond Symphony in Richmond, VA, NEA funding invests in local communities, helping people celebrate the arts wherever they are.”
“The Richmond Symphony is grateful for the National Endowment for the Arts and its support of organizations like ours throughout the country” said Richmond Symphony Executive Director David J.L. Fisk. “A $10,000 award, from the NEA, represents a significant endorsement of the Symphony’s work in the Richmond region. It also helps us to leverage funding from other governmental, corporate and philanthropic sources. We are thankful for the federal government’s understanding of the importance of making arts and culture available to all people through the agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.”
Since the 2015 acquisition of its mobile performance stage, the Big Tent, the Symphony has been building partnerships to create multi-day festivals designed to unify residents in underserved and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods through a shared experience of music.
Each Big Tent Festival provides an opportunity to bridge some of the economic, racial, and political separation that segments our city. It accomplishes this not only by bringing music – and a broader audience – into underserved neighborhoods, but also through a philanthropic component that has resulted in an investment into their school music and arts programs that remains after the Festival has left.
Each Festival includes a free performance by the full Richmond Symphony, often incorporating local guest artists. The Big Tent stage is used throughout the Festival to showcase a range of diverse neighborhood performing groups including school ensembles, youth orchestras, church choirs, and local musicians/bands.
For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.
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About the Richmond Symphony
Celebrating its 60th Anniversary Season in 2017/18, the Richmond Symphony is the largest performing arts organization in Central Virginia, and its reach extends throughout the Metro Richmond region and across the Commonwealth from its home downtown in the Dominion Energy Center for the Performing Arts. The organization includes an orchestra of more than 70 professional musicians, the 150-voice Richmond Symphony Chorus and over 260 students in the four ensembles in the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra Program. Each season, more than 200,000 people enjoy its live concerts and radio broadcasts. The Richmond Symphony also provides inspirational and immersive educational programming for over 55,000 students and teachers each year.
Its 40-week season (from September through June, plus an annual July 4th concert and summer concert series) includes the following series and programs under the headings of Classics, Currents and Community: Masterworks, Pops, Metro Collection, Casual Fridays, LolliPops, Rush Hour, Discovery, Come & Play, Messiah, Big Tent community festivals, and annual contracts with Richmond Ballet and Virginia Opera. The Richmond Symphony was recently named as one of 21 American orchestras
selected as a leader in orchestra innovation by the League of American Orchestras through its Futures Fund Initiative. The Richmond Symphony is partially funded by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.