ASC Awarded $20,000 by the National Endowment for the Arts

National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $82 million to fund local arts projects and partnerships. Included in this announcement is an Art Works award of $20,000 to the Atlanta Shakespeare Company (ASC) to fund residencies at Atlanta Public Schools. The Art Works category supports the creation of work and presentation of both new and existing work, lifelong learning in the arts, and public engagement with the arts through thirteen arts disciplines or fields.

“The arts are all around us, enhancing our lives in ways both subtle and obvious, expected and unexpected,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Supporting projects like the one from the Atlanta Shakespeare Company offers more opportunities to engage in the arts every day.”

The Art Works grant will allow the Atlanta Shakespeare Company to continue its eight-year educational partnership with Atlanta Public Schools, an underserved school system with limited funds for theatre programs. ASC’s professional teaching artists will lead residencies, eight to ten weeks of carefully curated academic and artistic investigation of a Shakespeare play, at two middle schools and two high schools. These engaging and creative after-school programs will provide participants with training not just in acting basics, safe stage combat, and Elizabethan history, but also in critical workplace skills like time management, effective communication, and the ability to work as part of a team to see a project to completion. The residencies will culminate with participants performing their own production of a Shakespeare play, both for their classmates in the school auditorium and for the public at ASC’s Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse. Residencies help students meet Georgia’s English Language Arts Standards of Excellence for analyzing and discussing literature, encouraging students to make strides in the classroom while they make personal achievements in self-expression and self-confidence. ASC Director of Education and Training Laura Cole commented on the positive impact the NEA Art Works grant will have on APS students: “Watching Atlanta Public Schools student casts speaking Shakespeare on our professional stage for family and friends, and for classmates at their schools, with authority, passion and understanding is one of the high points of our theatre company’s season every year. The art our professional Teaching Artists/Actors facilitate with the kids is surprising, entertaining and relevant to the kids’ lives. It also means they then have advanced knowledge of an oft-studied but often dismissed giant of literature, Shakespeare, and true ownership of the themes, words and ideas that makes his literature so relevant in our schools, homes and cities. We are so pleased to be able to work even more in-depth with the students, teachers and administrators of APS, which is what the NEA awards enables.”

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