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La Jolla Playhouse, Museum of Contemporary Art Win NEA Awards

Michael Benjamin Washington and Jacques C. Smith in La Jolla Playhouse’s DNA ...

Photo by J. Katarzyna Woronowicz.

Above: Michael Benjamin Washington and Jacques C. Smith in La Jolla Playhouse’s DNA New Work Series workshop of "Blueprints To Freedom." The DNA series was just awarded grant funding from the National Endowment of the Arts.

Nine local arts organizations will receive funds from the federal agency for programs in 2016.

The National Endowment for the Arts announced awards Tuesday totaling more than $27.6 million.

Nine local arts organizations will receive funds from the federal agency for programs in 2016. Awards ranged from $10,000 to $30,000. The latter was the largest gift and went to the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego for an upcoming photography exhibit. Awardees included two local film festivals, a photography project involving refugees, and the La Jolla Playhouse’s program for developing new stage works. See the full list and funded projects below.

La Jolla Music Society

$15,000 — La Jolla

To support SummerFest, a chamber music festival. Under the direction of violinist and Music Director Cho-Liang Lin, artists proposed for the festival include the Danish String Quartet, violinist Martin Beaver, cellists Mischa Maisky and Felix Fan, clarinetists John Bruce Yeh and Burt Hara and violist Cynthia Phelps. In addition, local artists will be featured including musicians from the San Diego Symphony. The concerts will be accompanied by a variety of educational activities including open rehearsals and a lecture-demonstration series.

Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego (aka MCASD)

$30,000 — La Jolla

To support the exhibition and catalogue, "Uses of Photography: Reinventing a Medium." The exhibition will examine a group of artists from San Diego in the 1970s such as such as Eleanor Antin (b.1935), Fred Lonidier (b. 1942), Martha Rosler (b. 1943), and Allan Sekula (1951-2013). Their work shared themes related to contemporary social issues and themes of everyday life. Working within the framework of Conceptual art, these artists introduced urgent social issues and themes of everyday life with photographic works that took on hybrid forms, from books and postcards, to video and text and image installations. A panel discussion, bringing artists and scholars together, as well as a film series showcasing videos related to the exhibition will help demonstrate the creative process associated with the works.

Theatre & Arts Foundation of San Diego County

(aka La Jolla Playhouse)

$20,000 — La Jolla

To support the DNA New Work Series at La Jolla Playhouse. The project provides an extended residency period for playwrights and directors to create and develop new plays and musicals on site at the playhouse before presenting them at public readings or workshops. Participating artists will be provided with rehearsal time, space and resources, including casting and dramaturgy. Past projects featured in the program include "The Who & the What" by Ayad Akhtar, "Chasing the Song," with book and lyrics by Joe DiPietro and music and lyrics by David Bryan, and "Blueprints to Freedom" by Michael Benjamin Washington.

Bach Collegium San Diego

$10,000 — San Diego

To support historically informed concerts and related educational activities. Plans include performances of music found in Latin American cathedral archives and Monteverdi's 1610 Vespers. The archive program will feature music from colonial Latin America, including works by native composers alongside Spanish cathedral music sent to the continent. The program will explore the nexus between the musical languages of Spain and the New World. For the Monteverdi Vespers, professional singers will be paired with college music majors for rehearsals and performances. Brass ensemble Tesserae will join the collegium's period instrument orchestra for the performance. Lectures and demonstrations will support both programs.

Media Arts Center San Diego (aka Media Arts Center, MACSD

$25,000 — San Diego

To support the 23rd San Diego Latino Film Festival (SDLFF). Held in the spring, the event features film screenings, music and a celebration of Latino culture and tradition. In addition, SDLFF offers educational programs for school groups, programs for families with children and workshops for independent filmmakers.

Outside the Lens

$10,000 — San Diego

To support Finding Identity, Living Memory, a media arts and photography project intended to serve low-income youth who are refugees, immigrants, or first-generation Americans residing in the City Heights neighborhood of San Diego. In partnership with the United Women's East African Support Team, the project will bring together emerging artists such as documentary filmmaker Alyssa Lucca; filmmaker, multimedia journalist and photographer Tara Pixley; and photographer, producer and curator Rebecca Webb. The guest artists will provide media arts workshops for youth, the participants will create films that will be screened for the public and the guest artists' films and photography will be exhibited for public viewing. Both the guest artists and youth participants will enagage in question-and-answer sessions after film screenings

Pacific Arts Movement (aka Pacific Arts)

$25,000 — San Diego

To support the 17th San Diego Asian Film Festival. Held in November, the festival will premiere narratives, shorts, and documentary films. Dedicated to developing, promoting, and increasing awareness of Asian and Asian-American cinema, the festival will host free screenings for students, seniors and veterans. Additionally, the festival will organize a series of special events allowing first-time filmmakers the opportunity to learn more about Asian and Asian-American cinema, network with veteran filmmakers and engage with the local community.

San Diego Dance Theatre (aka Jean Isaacs San Diego Dance Theater)

$10,000 — San Diego

To support a series of site-specific dance performances and related outreach activities. In partnership with the Metropolitan Transit System, the project is intended serve economically disadvantaged ethnic minorities. Performances will feature modern and post-modern choreography and performance art, and will occur in transit-accessible locations within underserved communities in San Diego. Proposed choreographers Jean Isaacs, Bill Shannon, Zaquia Mahler Salinas, Monica Bill Barnes and Jess Humphrey will also engage underserved youth by visiting local schools to provide choreography workshops.

San Diego Repertory Theatre (aka San Diego REP)

$10,000 — San Diego

To support the commission, development, and world premiere presentation of "Beachtown," an interactive theatrical work by Herbert Siguenza. Developed in collaboration with ensemble members from dog and pony dc, the work will be based on field interviews with residents of La Jolla, Imperial Beach and Oceanside, California. Using dog and pony's methodology of creating audience participation through a town hall setting, the play will invite audience members to become active citizens who vote on issues related to the future of their town in the second act. The production will be staged in site-specific locations throughout San Diego County, and will be designed to explore the extensive social, political, and ethnic diversity of Southern California beach towns.


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