NEA, state grants aid New WORLD Theater

June 10, 2004

New WORLD Theater has received $60,000 in federal and state grants to support Project 2050, a multiracial program in which area youths, artists and scholars explore pressing social issues.

A $55,000 award from the National Endowment for the Arts’ Learning in the Art program will help support Project 2050’s summer institute, which will be held July 1-11 at UMass Amherst and Amherst College. The program, which involves 45 teenagers from 11 Western Massachusetts communities, uses informational dialogues and workshops to develop an original theater work expressing the participants’ ideas and identities in words, music and dance. The project draws its name from the year when demographers predict there will be no clear racial majority in the U.S.

This year’s Project 2050 theme is “Environmentality,” an investigation of environmental justice and quality of life in urban and rural settings.

The remaining grant, $5,000 from the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities, will underwrite the participation of scholars in the Project 2050 summer retreat. In daily “Knowledge for Power” sessions, guest scholars provide the social and historical context for understanding contemporary conditions and their implications for the future.

“We are honored and extremely gratified to receive these grants,” said Talvin Wilks, NWT’s interim artistic director. “Besides giving crucial practical assistance to our program, they represent strong confirmations of the value of our work. I am particularly gratified because in both cases the granting process was highly competitive and rigorous.”