Wesleyan University's Center for the Arts has received an unsolicited national grant award of $400,000 from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. The Foundation, which supports performing artists in contemporary dance, jazz, and theater with the creation and public performance of their work, and the organizations that nurture, present and produce them; has announced today that five arts organizations will receive a total of $3.5 million in funding to help them further develop their long-term capacity to respond to changing conditions in the performing arts sector and the world at large, including those related to demographics, audience behavior and the impact of technology.
Wesleyan’s Center for the Arts is one of the five grantees. The other four organizations are the American Repertory Theater (Cambridge, Massachusetts), the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (Ashland, Oregon); the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company (Washington, D.C.); and On the Boards (Seattle, Washington).
“This initiative recognizes and supports organizations that have proven, time and again, that they are leaders and innovators in their fields," said Ben Cameron, Program Director for the Arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. "We understand that most organizations do not have enough, if any, ‘change capital’—funds that they can devote to maximizing their adaptability. With that in mind, these awards are intended to further fuel the ability of these five organizations to position themselves to respond to changes in their respective environments.”
“This exciting award really speaks to the CFA’s tradition – 40 years and counting – of building a community of creativity and experimentation,” said Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth. “Under Pamela Tatge’s leadership our Center for the Arts has found ways to engage an increasingly diverse audience. An award like this also recognizes and supports Wesleyan’s extraordinary commitment to the arts.”
Notable recent initiatives of the Center for the Arts include the Creative Campus Initiative (http://www.wesleyan.edu/creativecampus/crossingdisciplines) including the Feet to the Fire program (http://www.wesleyan.edu/creativecampus/crossingdisciplines/feettothefire), and the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance (http://www.wesleyan.edu/icpp).
The grants were not open for application. Instead, an anonymous panel identified five organizations that have demonstrated a sustained appetite to innovate and experiment in ways that inform and lead their respective fields. Each organization will go through an organizational self-analysis, followed by an external assessment. Then they will develop and implement strategies and tactics to best enhance their long-term capacity to adapt.
The grantees will receive support over a period of up to four years. Appropriate uses of this money include, but are not limited to, staff expansion, creation of capital reserves, professional development, technology, board and staff retreats, convenings and consultants.