MCC And NEA Grants Announced at Celebration
Amherst, MA - Officials of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) announced new grant awards to the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst and other organizations in western Massachusetts at the museum's annual Emily Dickinson Birthday Lecture on Thursday, December 11.
NEA American Literary Landmarks Grant
NEA Senior Deputy Chair Eileen Mason announced that the National Endowment for the Arts has selected the Emily Dickinson Museum to receive an American Literary Landmarks grant of $15,000 to support a communitywide program celebrating the work of the New England poet. A component of the NEA's national reading program The Big Read, American Literary Landmarks is designed to celebrate great American poets and the nation's historic poetry locales. The NEA presents American Literary Landmarks in partnership with The Poetry Foundation.
NEA Chairman Dana Gioia said, "Though Emily Dickinson never traveled far from Amherst, her small, magnificent poems have gone everywhere the English language is spoken. In partnership with the Poetry Foundation, I am pleased to announce this American Literary Landmarks grant to the Emily Dickinson Museum to help celebrate Dickinson's legacy here in the place which she so loved as well as to introduce her quiet but intensely felt poems to new generations of Americans."
Congressman John Olver said, "We have been very successful over the years at highlighting our area's rich arts and cultural heritage. The Emily Dickinson Museum is a very important piece of that heritage. The museum draws visitors each year from around the world and around the region to learn more about one of the greatest American poets. The museum gives these visitors a very personal glimpse Emily Dickinson's life and work. It is a wonderful resource to have in our backyards."
The Emily Dickinson Museum will kick off its American Literary Landmarks programming next April during National Poetry Month with a talk by Poetry Foundation President John Barr. Other activities planned for spring 2009 include a foursession workshop on "Emily Dickinson for Beginners" in collaboration with the Jones Library, the community's public library; an interpretive biographical ballet developed in collaboration with the local Amherst Ballet school; a new exhibit illustrating Dickinson's habit of considering variant word choices; and a performance of "The White Election," a song cycle of of Dickinson poems, introduced by composer Gordon Getty himself.
"The year 2009 offers an ideal time to enhance awareness and knowledge of one of the world's greatest poets in her own birthplace as the Town of Amherst celebrates the 250th anniversary of its establishment," said Jane H. Wald, executive director of the museum. "NEA support will help to amplify Emily Dickinson's legacy as a poet and especially the significance of her 'home ground' at the Homestead and The Evergreens. Working with our community partners, we will focus on introducing Dickinson's work to new audiences through a variety of artistic media."
With support from the Poetry Foundation, the NEA will provide supplementary materials for the American Literary Landmarks project, including reader's and teacher's guides to Dickinson's works. The Emily Dickinson Museum will distribute these guides free of charge to visitors and the general public throughout the project period.
Massachusetts Cultural Council grants
Anita Walker, executive director of the Massachusetts Cultural Council, announced new investments in the arts and culture in western Massachusetts as part of its Creative Communities Fall Tour. In September, MCC released nearly $9 million in new public funding for organizations, communities, and schools across the Commonwealth, including nearly 75 grants totaling $568,775 in Hampshire and Franklin Counties. "Our state's commitment to public support for the arts and culture allows us to deliver vital support for the organizations, local cultural councils, schools, and artists that are the foundation of our state's thriving creative economy," said Walker. "We're deeply grateful to Congressman Olver, Senator Stan Rosenberg, Vice Chairwoman Story and their legislative colleagues from the Pioneer Valley. Their support allows us to invest in organizations like the Emily Dickinson Museum that make vital contributions to the health and well-being of their communities."
About the MCC
The Massachusetts Cultural Council is a state agency that promotes excellence, access, education, and diversity in the arts, humanities, and interpretive sciences, in order to improve the quality of life for all Massachusetts residents and contribute to the economic vitality of our communities. The MCC is committed to building a central place for arts and culture in the everyday lives of communities across the Commonwealth. The Council pursues this mission through a combination of grants, services, and advocacy for cultural organizations, schools, communities, and artists. The MCC also organizes Poetry Out Loud in Massachusetts with the Huntington Theatre Co.
About the NEA
The National Endowment for the Arts is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts, both new and established; bringing the arts to all Americans; and providing leadership in arts education. Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Arts Endowment is the nation's largest annual funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases. For more information on the National Endowment for the Arts, please visit www.arts.gov.
About the Poetry Foundation
The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. For more information on the Poetry Foundation, visit www.Poetryfoundation.org.
About the Emily Dickinson Museum
The Emily Dickinson Museum, comprising the Dickinson Homestead and The Evergreens, two historic house museums in Amherst, is devoted to the story and legacy of poet Emily Dickinson and her family. Both properties are owned by the Trustees of Amherst College. A separate Board of Governors charged with raising its operating and capital funds oversees the Museum. The Dickinson Homestead was the birthplace and residence of the poet Emily Dickinson (1830-1886). The Evergreens was the 1856 home of the poet's brother and sister-in-law, Austin and Susan Dickinson.
The Emily Dickinson Museum is located at 280 Main Street in Amherst, Massachusetts. The official museum website is at www.emilydickinsonmuseum.org. Hours are Wednesday through Sunday, from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. through December 28; closed major holidays.
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