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NEA awards grants to Opera Tampa, Dalí Museum

Opera Tampa received some good news this week from the National Endowment for the Arts in the form of a $22,500 grant that will support its New Artists Professional Training Program.

In partnership with VOICExperience and housed at the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, participating artists in the program will receive coaching from opera professionals and will have several opportunities to give performances. The money will be used to help pay for expenses associated with the program, such as housing costs and transportation, among other things.

The news happens to coincide with the Vocal Arts Festival going on now at the Straz, in which aspiring singers participate in workshops, work with renowned artists and give performances. It's ongoing through Aug. 20, when it will present a final concert. (See for more details; search key word "Vocal Festival.")

VOICExperience was founded by Sherrill Milnes, an opera legend and Opera Tampa artistic advisor, and Maria Zouves, vice president and associate general director of Opera Tampa. It's a non-profit organization dedicated to career development for singers of all levels.

"We are so thrilled that our program has been acknowledged by the NEA," Judy Lisi, president and CEO of the Straz Center, said in a news release. About to begin its fifth year, the Opera Tampa new artist program is "one of the jewels in our artistic crown and is certain to produce the next generation of opera luminaries."

The news of this grant comes on the heels of May's announcement that the city of Tarpon Springs had received $40,000 to establish the Gulf Coast Folklife Center, which will be based in what is now known as the Tarpon Springs Cultural Center.

Programming for the center will include information on the city's Greek heritage and culture, but will be expanded to encompass other aspects of Florida folklife and maritime history.

One other Tampa Bay arts institution also received a grant. The Dalí Museum was awarded $44,000 to support conservation of paintings in the museum's permanent collection, according to the NEA's website. Project plans include the conservation of 53 oil paintings by Dalí, with conservation of larger-scale paintings performed on-site, in the museum's new facility.

It has been a rarity for local museums to do their own restoration work. The nearest restoration facility is at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota.

The NEA grants in this round focused on two themes: access to the arts and preservation activities. A broad range of activities are funded in the disciplines of dance, design, folk and traditional arts, literature, media arts, museums, music, musical theater, opera, presenting, theater and visual arts. This particular category of grant is just one of several that the government agency, established in 1965, gives out over the course of a year.

In all, 789 grants out of 1,415 eligible applications were recommended for funding for a total of $24.9 million.

Information from Times files was used in this report.

Who in Florida got a grant?

These are the places and amounts that are listed on the NEA website (, as described in their application:

Sarasota Opera Association, Inc. (Consortium)

Sarasota, $28,000

To support workshop activities for the youth opera Little Nemo In Slumberland by composer Daron Aric Hagen and librettist J.D. McClatchy. In partnership with the University of Kentucky Opera Theatre, the two-act, 90-minute opera will incorporate innovative techniques and technologies in production design and will be designed as a vehicle for young voices.

Florida Grand Opera, Inc. (Consortium)

Miami, $75,000

To support a production of Federico Moreno Torroba's Luisa Fernanda. A partnership with the SaludArte Foundation, the project will include a dress rehearsal that will attract up to 1,200 students from more than 40 Miami-Dade County public high schools.

Tigertail Productions, Inc. (Consortium)

Miami, $10,000

To support danceAble XII, a series of performances, workshops, panels, and film screenings exploring and promoting dance for people with disabilities in Tampa and Miami, Florida. In partnership with the Florida Dance Association as co-producer, the project will involve AXIS Dance Company (Oakland, Calif.) in a Tampa residency and a performance of a new work by Marc Brew.

Florida Division of Historical Resources (on behalf of Florida Folklife Program)

Tallahassee, $30,000

To support the Florida Folklife Program and an outreach coordinator. Projects of the Folklife Program include a fieldwork survey, an apprenticeship program, festival outreach, and a series of folklife forums.

Historical Association of Southern Florida Inc. (aka HistoryMiami)

Miami, $35,000

To support the Guayabera Preservation Initiative, a research project on the traditional garment known as the guayabera, or Mexican Wedding Shirt, which is popular in Latin America and the Caribbean. The project will explore the shirt's origins and construction, collect samples, and culminate in an exhibit and a series of programs.

City of Miami Beach, Florida (on behalf of Department of Tourism and Cultural Development)

Miami Beach, $40,000

To support Sleepless Night 2011, a series of performances and exhibitions to take place from sundown to sunrise. Inspired by Paris's Nuit Blanche, the third edition of the citywide celebration will include art installations, performances, exhibitions, architectural tours, and other cultural offerings.

Broward County Board of County Commissioners (aka Broward County Cultural Division)

Fort Lauderdale, $35,000

To support the Mini-Grant and Cultural Diversity Programs. These subgranting programs support cultural activities presented by artists and community-based cultural organizations and provide assistance for small, not-for-profit cultural organizations serving diverse ethnicities.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools (Consortium)

Miami, $30,000

To support the educational outreach program Passport to Music: Porous Borders, using music and storytelling to explore the roots and range of Cuban music. A partnership with the Cleveland Orchestra, the project will include activities for teachers and students from elementary to high school grade levels.

Teatro Avante Inc.

Miami, $25,000

To support the production and presentation of the award-winning XXV! International Hispanic Theater Festival of Miami, with accompanying educational activities. Producing Artistic Director Mario Ernesto Sanchez will direct the festival, which includes multi-lingual productions by internationally renowned companies from Europe, Latin America, and the United States.

NEA awards grants to Opera Tampa, Dalí Museum 07/28/11 [Last modified: Thursday, July 28, 2011 12:46pm]
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