Press Release: NEA Awards $135,000 to Memphis Arts Groups

For immediate release

MEMPHIS, TN (April 24, 2013) – Four Memphis arts groups – ArtsMemphis, Opera Memphis, Soulsville Foundation, and Binghampton Development Corporation – have received $135,000 in grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, which is nearly half of the total sum given by the NEA to arts organizations throughout Tennessee.

The NEA awarded these grants to the four Memphis arts groups based on their contributions to create vibrant communities and “memorable opportunities for the public to engage with the arts.’’

  • ArtsMemphis received $40,000 to support its Arts Education & Outreach grant initiative. The program funds arts outreach programming by museums, performing arts companies, visual arts centers, and other arts groups in Shelby County for the benefit of underserved audiences.
  • Opera Memphis received $15,000 to support the second year of "30 Days of Opera."  Throughout the month of September, the company will present over 50 free performances at more than 40 different locations, all across the Memphis region.  These "sample-sized" events will introduce opera into the daily routines of local residents –  at farmers markets, restaurants, schools, and street corners.
  • The Soulsville Foundation received $15,000 to support the Stax Summer Music Experience. Students will receive instruction in music history, theory, production, and performance from experienced music educators and veteran soul musicians from the culturally significant STAX Records.
  • Binghampton Development Corporation received $65,000 to support artists' installations along the Overton Broad Connector, a two mile bicycle and pedestrian trail. Artists will be selected through an open call to create permanent works of art that reflect the character of different neighborhoods connected by the trail.

The local arts groups are among 817 nonprofit organizations throughout the nation that received the NEA Art Works grants that total $26.3 million and span 13 artistic disciplines and fields. Applications were reviewed by panels of outside experts convened by NEA staff and each project was judged on its artistic excellence and artistic merit.

“It is thrilling to see the NEA recognize and support the valuable, innovative work that is happening in the arts and culture in Memphis,” said Susan Schadt, President & CEO of ArtsMemphis. “These awards will advance the vitality of our neighborhoods and provide meaningful opportunities for education and engagement with the arts.”

For a complete listing of projects recommended for Art Works grant support, please visit the NEA website at

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