The D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities recently named the recipients of its annual grant awards, distributing $195,250 to 70 local artists and arts organizations.
The grants, ranging from $250 to $10,000, will help support established Washington institutions such as the Folger Theater Group and the Theatre Chamber Players as well as relatively new community-based groups including the Gala Hispanic Theater and the Urban Philharmonic.
The money is provided by an annual allotment from the National Endowment for the Arts.
The largest grant $10,000 was awarded to Positive Productions, Inc., to complete work on a 90-munute documentary film on political prisoners in the United States, with an emphasis on the Wilmington 10. According to the film's producer Imani Kazana, the grant will cover lab fees and final production costs of the film, which has been in the works for two years at a cost of about $55,000.
Kazana said the film will be distributed to schools, churches and political organizations throughout the country "to give concrete and factual examples of how people are victimized in this country."
The film has had another educational purpose, "teaching minorities the arts of film-making," she said. The Positive Productions film crew is made up of students at Howard University, other aspiring D.C. film-makers and members of the National Wilmington 10 Defense Committee, who also have been involved in the recent campaign for District of Columbia voting rights in Congress.
More than 150 applicants submitted grant proposals, which were screened by eight panels - such as dance, music, theater - made up of D.C. citizens with expertise in those fields.
The criteria used to select grant recipients included artistic quality and past performance, how many people would be reached in terms of both participants and audience, and the availability of comparable services in the same geographic area.
John Harrod, a commission member and chairman of the media panel, said that the commission had a commitment to investigate new projects and also to provide much-needed support to established "community-based groups that are making a real contribution to the community and whose work is well-respected but who are not getting money from corporations and foundations."
This year's list includes one-time grants, such as the one to complete the Positive Productions film on the Wilmington 10, as well as grants to support ongoing programs including the arts instruction at Sign of the Times ($6,000) and the Washington Community School of Music ($6,671).
A $6,000 grant to the Urban Philharmonic will serve as "seed money" to launch a concert series at a church in Northeast Washington.
The series, said conductor Darrold Hunt, will include chamber orchestra, choir and ensemble concerts featuring music by black composers as well as standard material. While the grant covers less than a third of the project's estimated costs, Hunt says "it shows the community that the commission has faith in what we are doing and gives us something to work with in raising (additional) money."
An increase in the commission's fiscal year 1979 budget has enabled it to offer more grants to individual artists than it has in the past. While organizations are required to match their grants dollar for dollar, the commission itself must match each dollar it awards to an individual. This year, 10 individual artists were given funds.
"Very often, major works of art are generated by individual artists as opposed to institutions," said Larry Neal, executive director of the commission, who believes more funds should be targeted to individuals. "In order for an organization to do a play, a playwright had to have the time to sit down and write it . . . but traditional funding patterns tend to favor the institution."
An $300 grant, said sculptor Eva Montville, means less time driving a taxi and more time working on a one-person show she has planned for a local gallery this winter. The money, she estimates, will cover the cost of materials, mostly wood, she needs for the show. Montville assisted in carving the sculpture for the West Front of the National Cathedral and has been driving a taxi since the work was completed.
For Chasen Gaver, a $1,416 grant means money to pay dancers and a choreographer, buy props and costumes and reimburse himself for the writing time involved in staging two concerts of his "performance poetry." He plans to use the remaining funds to put out a chapbook of his poetry. A $4,258 grant will enable Reena Kazmann to teach needlework to students at Fillmore Elementary School and to handicapped children at a D.C. recreation center, places that might not be able to afford her program otherwise.
A complete list of the grant awards follows: Media, $29.740
Positive Productions Inc., $10,000: Git Down Media Inc., $7,500: Osiris Productions, $6,240: Talent Line, $3,000: Washington Review of the Arts, $3,000. Literature, $11,759
Charles R. "Chasen" Gaver, $1,416: Word Works Inc., $1,930: Mary MacArthur Gallimaufry, $2,313; Watershed Foundation (Black Box), $4,500: Washington Writer's Publishing House, $1,600. Dance, $25,861
African Heritage Drummers and Dancers, $3,500; Capitol Ballet Guild Inc., $5,311: Capitol Hill Arts Ensemble Inc., $1,860: Dance Project. $3,500; Dance Exchange, $4,125; Modern Dance Council, $1,700; Washington Ballet, $3,625; Annette's Theatre of Dance, ASAFO. SE Cultural Institute for the Arts, $420; Immaculate Conception, Pamela Lasswell, $450. Music, $42,671
A Newe Jewell, $1,100: National Jewish Music Art Foundation, $1,700: St. George's Youth Ministry, $4,500: Theatre Chamber Players $1,600: Twentieth Century Consort, $1,600: Washington Community School of Music. $6,671: American Camerata for New Music. $1,700: Contemporary Music Forum. $1,700: D.C. Community Orchestra Association. $4,500: D.C. Youth Orchestra. $1,600: D.C. Music Center. $3,500: Georgetown University Orchestra. $2,200: Inter-American Choral Society. $2,200. Urban Philharmonic. $6,500: Washington Chamber Orchestra. $1,600. Visual Arts, $40,084
Kuumba Learning Center, $4,000: Holistic Design Guild. $2,000: Touch Toys, Capitol Children's Museum. $3,000: National Conference of Artists, $1,000: Sign of the Times, $6,000: El Centro De Arte. $5,384: Asian Benevolent Corps. $2,000: Fondo Del Sol. $4,000: Washington Women's Art Center. $4,000: Tomorrow's World Art Center. $4,000: Sylvia Snowden Butler, Carol Nordgren. Eva Montville, Leon Collins. Ron Martin. $800. Theatre, $31,033
Folger Theatre Group. $4,750: Living Stage. $4,750: New Playwrights' Theatre. $4,750: The Company Inc., $3,783: Gala Hispanic Teatro. $3,000: Minority Arts Ensemble. $3,000: The Rep Inc. $2,000: New Theatre School, $2,000: American Society of Theatre Arts (ASTA). $1,000: The Attic Theatre. Joseph Kennedy "Lerato," Pro Femina Theatre. George Washington University (Street Theatre) $500. Crafts, $7,758
Reena Kazmann. $4,258: Alfredo Hijar. $3,500. Special Panels, $6,344
Duke Ellington High School for Performing Arts. $3,755: WashingtonCommunity of Art Worker Organizations. $2,589.