The City of Lone Tree has received a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts for the seventh straight year. The city received a $15,000 grant from the NEA for the Lone Tree Arts Center, the …
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The City of Lone Tree has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for the seventh straight year.
The city received a $15,000 grant from the NEA for the Lone Tree Arts Center, the city's cultural hub, June 11. About half of all applicants for an NEA grant are awarded one. Twenty-one Colorado arts organizations received more than $2.8 million total from the NEA this year.
Michelle Sosa-Mallory, the Lone Tree Arts Center's corporate and foundation manager, said the money will be spent on the center's multi-generational programming — often daytime programs for seniors, children and those who require sensory-friendly shows. The center won the Rex Morgan Award from the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District for its sensory-friendly programming in 2018.
“We're always really excited for this,” Sosa-Mallory said.
Sosa-Mallory facilitated each of the past four grants from the NEA.
“It always really increases our visibility … not necessarily for the arts center, but for the work that we're doing," she said.
Usually under $10, the programs range from $3 to $25, depending on the program.
“These are targeted audiences that we've defined as being underserved by the arts industry,” Sosa-Mallory said. “We're trying to provide access and we do that by the type of program and the time of day … the cost is also very important.”
Sensory-friendly programming consists of shows designed for people with disabilities who may need to talk during a performance, are sensitive to certain types of lighting or sound, or who require some specification in order to sit through a performance. The center also offers a program for people with mental disabilities to train to become ushers at the arts center for the sensory-friendly shows, which provides them job skills for the future.
“We go out of our way to make sure they feel we want them to be here as patrons,” Sosa-Mallory said.
The grant will also fund programs such as the center's Seedlings program, for infants and toddlers to gain early exposure to the arts, and the Passport to Culture, for children ages 4-10. The Passport to Culture program predates the center itself and provides children a chance to learn about a different culture through activities like stories and dances. There are national touring artists like Dr. Kaboom, an entertaining physicist, and National Geographic Live shows.
For older art patrons, the arts center also provides matinee performances for seniors and aging crowds. That includes the SPARK! program, a small show catered to seniors with Alzheimer's to enjoy the arts in a more intimate setting. The program helps trigger memory or conversation.
“We do a lot during a day when you would expect the arts center to not be so busy,” Sosa-Mallory said. “For the NEA to provide that funding and that recognition that those audiences need and desire to be supported through … is really important to us and our philosophy that arts are for everyone.”
The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that arts and cultural production accounts for more than $14.5 billion, or 4.4 percent, of the Colorado economy and supports 103,274 jobs. Colorado ranks No. 1 in the percentage of residents who personally perform or create artworks.
“Reflecting the diverse artistic richness of our nation, these arts endowment-funded projects are varied in their size, scope, and artistic discipline,” said NEA Acting Chair Mary Anne Carter. “The projects also illustrate the unique geographic reach of arts endowment funding, serving Americans in places large and small in all corners of the country.”
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