|Showcasing State Arts Agency Ingenuity|
Facebook Contest to Rename Grant Programs
Naming grant programs is an exercise in promotion and reflection for state arts agencies, but it also can be a means of constituency engagement. When the Wyoming Arts Council (WAC) had a new grant program to name as well as two existing programs to rename, it decided to crowdsource the christenings. Through its Facebook page, WAC held a Name the Grant Category Contest. By asking its stakeholders what the new names should be, WAC not only challenged them with a bit of public policy but also indirectly conducted a survey about their expectations for the grant programs. WAC received suggestions for 41 names and categories, including those with great acronyms (POP for "Project or Program" grants) and those that reach back to the Old West ("Barn Raising" and "Wagon Wheel" operating support grants). WAC staff will select winning entries by the end of June, choosing from those recommended by WAC's board of directors. Winning entrants will receive a swag bag of books, note cards, DVDs and CDs by Wyoming artists. For more information, contact WAC Marketing and Communications Specialist Michael Shay.
Signers for the Arts Grants
The Nebraska Arts Council (NAC) has a new grant program that increases the accessibility of arts events and programs by underwriting the addition of licensed American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters. Signers for the Arts Grants (SFA) provide nonmatching funds up to $250 for ASL interpreters for music, dance and theatre performances as well as art exhibitions, museum functions and other cultural programs. Eligible grant applicants are incorporated nonprofits, schools, religious groups and subdivisions of government agencies. NAC helps connect ASL interpreters with arts events by including a link on its web page for the SFA grants to the Nebraska Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, which has an interpreter-referral service. In awarding the SFA grants, NAC gives priority to underserved populations whose access to arts and culture is limited due to geography, economic conditions, ethnicity or disability. To find out more, contact NAC Heritage Arts/Accessibility Manager Deborah Bunting.
Mississippi Blues Trail Curriculum
The Mississippi Blues Trail Curriculum is a new initiative of the Mississippi Arts Commission (MAC) that integrates the history, culture and art of Mississippi blues music into the state's classrooms. The curriculum has 18 lessons, three each for six subject areas—music, meaning, cotton, transportation, civil rights and media. While the curriculum was developed for 4th-grade Mississippi-history students, it can be adapted for students as advanced as the 12th grade. The curriculum is tied to the Mississippi Blues Trail (a project of the governor-appointed Mississippi Blues Commission), and teachers are encouraged to use the trail's website as a resource for images, maps, films and more. In addition, the Blues Trail Curriculum has a host of on-line teacher resources for all six subject areas, including many field recordings, interviews and videos from the William R. Ferris Collection at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and the Alan Lomax Archive. To facilitate teachers' hands-on experience with the curriculum, MAC is holding four day-long workshops this fall. MAC developed the new curriculum with the support of an NEA Folk Arts Infrastructure Grant. Learn more about the project by contacting MAC Folk and Traditional Arts Director Mary Margaret White.