Just days after Christmas, the Averitt Center for the Arts can celebrate a gift of its own. The center was announced this week as a recipient of a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
The Statesboro Arts Council that supports the Averitt Center was named a winner of the Endowment's "Challenge America Fast-Track" grant, joining 21 other Georgia award recipients.
"We've never been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts grant in the past. We have received grants from The Georgia Council for the Arts and The Southern Arts Federation, but never an NEA award," said Tim Chapman, executive director at the center. "We're very excited about it."
"We were completely stunned. It's very difficult to write a grant that is approved by the National Endowment," said Melinda Roell, Averitt Center development consultant, who authored the grant. "We are very, very pleased."
The grant is generally geared toward rural communities, according to Chapman. It is an opportunity to be host to projects that emphasize the potential of the arts in community development.
The Averitt Center was chosen by the NEA for an exhibit that, with the grant, can now be featured in Statesboro.
"The grant will bring Greg Mort, an international artist commissioned by NASA and several others, to Statesboro in the spring," Chapman said. "The particular exhibit we will be doing is ‘The Art of Stewardship.' The goal is to feature an international artist in our community, and convey the importance of living sustainable lifestyles."
"It is a good deal of money that will not only allow us to showcase the works of the artist we have coming, but have him work with local students and artists as well," Roell said.
An opening reception for The Art of Stewardship will be held at the Averitt Center March 4. The exhibit will open that same day and continue through April 29.
"We hope [winning the grant] lets the community know that the Averitt Center is continuing to strive for excellence in our productions and exhibits," said Roell. "With a partner like The National Endowment for the Arts, it shows that they recognize and appreciate the quality of what we are trying to bring to Statesboro."