U.S. Rep. Sam Farr Hosts NEA Chairman Dana Gioia
Monterey, CA – U.S. Representative Sam Farr of California's 17th District today hosted a special grants workshop conducted by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) for local nonprofit organizations. The workshop, held at the National Steinbeck Center, was part of the NEA's outreach to California organizations about federal funding opportunities and the process of applying for Arts Endowment grants. In addition, at a news conference prior to the workshop, Rep. Farr and NEA Chairman Dana Gioia announced grants to three California organizations as part of the NEA's Big Read: The Poetry of Robinson Jeffers, a celebration of the poet and of Tor House, Jeffers's self-built family home in Carmel.
The Robinson Jeffers Tor House Foundation, the National Steinbeck Center, and the University of California, Santa Cruz will each receive a grant to host a range of activities centering on Jeffers's life and work. A component of the NEA's national reading program The Big Read, these grants are part of a pilot initiative in partnership with the Poetry Foundation to celebrate the nation's historic poetry sites.
NEA Chairman Dana Gioia said, "I am delighted to partner with the Poetry Foundation to celebrate the great American poet Robinson Jeffers and his deep connection to California and to our nation's Pacific coast. Jeffers's hard-edged yet musical poetry continues to challenge and inspire all Americans to greater care and stewardship of our natural resources, and it's fitting that we announce these grants here in the landscape that he so loved."
"The Central Coast has a rich history of literary genius, from the powerful works of John Steinbeck to the moving poetry of Violet de Cristoforo," said Rep. Sam Farr (CA-17). "The NEA's support for these programs highlighting the life and work of Robinson Jeffers helps build on this tradition. It's important to our communities to keep our history alive, and there is no better tool to instill an appreciation for art in our youth than to let them experience just how moving it can be."
The Robinson Jeffers Tor House Foundation will receive a grant of $15,000 to support a month-long, multi-generational, bilingual celebration of Jeffers throughout Monterey County. The National Steinbeck Center will receive a grant of $17,000 to support an exhibition showcasing Jeffers's poetry along with photos of the poet, Tor House, and California. A third grant of $5,000 will go to the University of California, Santa Cruz, to host a symposium on the work of Jeffers.
The NEA will provide all three sites with its educational and promotional materials -- underwritten by the Poetry Foundation -- similar to those created for the national Big Read program. These materials, which will also be distributed to local schools, include reader's and teacher's guides to Jeffers's works and a poster.
The news conference and grants workshop were both held at the National Steinbeck Center. David Kipen, NEA Director of Literature–National Reading Initiatives, led the free grants workshop, which included a discussion of grants for projects that:
provide hands-on learning in the arts for children and youth (pre-K to Grade 12) in schools, arts organizations, and community centers;
help preserve cultural traditions through documentation, publications, exhibits, apprenticeships, and conservation;
provide access to the arts in underserved communities; and
involve the creation or presentation of works of art, including performances, exhibitions, and festivals.
Following the press conference, Rep. Farr and Chairman Gioia toured the National Steinbeck Center and then spoke at a luncheon for the Rotary Club of Carmel Valley. In the afternoon, Rep. Farr and Chairman Gioia toured the Monterey Museum of Art and the Youth Arts Collective, and then toured the Robinson Jeffers's Tor House.
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, please visit www. poetryfoundation.org.
The NEA is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts - both new and established - and providing leadership in arts education. Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Arts Endowment is the largest annual national funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, and U.S. territories, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases.
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