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Pioneer Museum, Johnson Center benefit from Arts grants

The Alabama State Council on the Arts has awarded 137 grants totaling $2,290,710 to 113 grantees across the state. Organizations providing public programs in arts education, folk arts, community arts, literary arts, dance, music, theatre, and visual art forms received support through this competitive process.

Locally, the Pioneer Museum of Alabama and the Troy-Pike Cultural Arts Center were among the grantees that were announced at the ASCA September meeting.

The Pioneer Museum of Alabama received $4,500 for its annual, two-day Pioneer Days event. The Troy-Pike Cultural Arts Center received $2,400 for the center’s “Let’s Rock with Artist Enid Probst” workshop.

Barbara Tatom, director of the Pioneer Museum of Alabama, said, without the support of the ASCA grant, it is doubtful that the museum would have been able to host Pioneer Days in October.

“The museum was closed for 10 weeks due to COVID-19 and that hit us hard financially,” Tatom said. “It also deprived a lot of school children of field trip opportunities to learn, first hand, more about pioneer life. The ASCA grant gives us the assurance of being able to host Pioneer Days in early October.”

Tatom said most of the demonstrations and events are outdoors and social distancing will occur almost naturally.

“We will have a variety of demonstrators, craftsmen and also re-enactors of the War of 1812,” Tatom said. “Food will be served from an authentic chuck wagon and the Montgomery Dulcimers will perform. Of course, the museum will be open throughout the day. It will be two days for people of all ages to step back in time and learn more about Alabama pioneer life.”

Tatom express appreciation to Elliot Knight, ASCA executive director, and the council for its continuing support of the arts in Alabama.

Brenda Campbell, Johnson Center for the Arts director, said the Troy-Pike Cultural Arts Center (JCA) has been greatly affected by governmental closings and the resulting loss of revenue. Walk-in traffic has been slow since the re-opening of entertainment centers, she said.

“We greatly appreciate ASCA’s grant support that will help make the ‘Let’s Rock with Artist Enid Probst’ workshop possible,” Campbell said.

“The workshop will accommodate 190 people, teachers and third graders, from the schools in Pike and Crenshaw counties. The two-day workshop will facilitate the integration of art into the elementary science curriculum through the STEM initiative, encourage people to reconnect with the Center and increase visibility of The Studio space.  The workshop will also develop a sense of community among the counties and will offer training for university students.”

Campbell said the workshop is made possible by the ASCA grant award.

“We are very appreciative of ASCA’s support,” Campbell said. “Without that support, we would not have been able to provide this outstanding learning opportunity for these third-grade students that will be facilitated by Enid Probst, an outstanding teacher and artist.”

Funding for the Council on the Arts is provided by the Alabama State Legislature and the National Endowment of the Arts, a federal agency.

Support for arts programming is critical for a vibrant creative community, which results in a thriving arts economy, a workforce ready for innovation, and a high quality of life for all residents. However, the needs of the arts sector

are greater than the Council has the ability to fund, with the requested amount in this grant cycle totaling $4.3 million.

Jim Harrison, council chair, said ASCA is pleased to support educational groups, community organizations and arts institutions with these approved grants. Funds awarded through the Council’s granting process provide a better education for students, nourishing imagination and preparing them for the workforce of tomorrow.

“These important grants also strengthen cultural expression and attract new industry to our colorful and vibrant state.”