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NEA awards grants to 8 NC communities

RALEIGH — Eight North Carolina organizations received grants totally $297,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts last week for a variety of programs, including funds to train Gates County schools in arts integration, making the system the first school district in the state to have all of its schools in the nationally recognized A+ Schools Program.

The Gates County Board of Education, based in Gatesville, will receive $36,000 to support a professional development program that provides whole school training in arts integration. This training, scheduled this summer, will qualify the school system to become part of the A+ Schools Program network, which includes 40 active schools across North Carolina.

Established in N.C. in 1995 by the Kenan Institute for the Arts, the A+ Schools Program is a whole school reform model that views the arts as fundamental to teaching and learning in all subjects. In July 2010, the A+ Schools Program became part of the N.C. Arts Council, an agency of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.

The Gates County schools system includes three elementary schools, one middle school and one high school. At the conclusion of the training, scheduled to begin this summer, all schools will be part of the A + Schools Program, a first for North Carolina.

NEA Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa also announced plans for seven other grants to North Carolina organizations listed below. Nationally, the NEA plans to award $26.3 million in grants to nonprofit organizations. These grants support exemplary projects in thirteen artistic disciplines and fields: arts education, dance, design, folk and traditional arts, literature, local arts agencies, media arts, museums, music, opera, presenting, theater and musical theater and visual arts. Grant amounts range from $4,000 to $125,000 with an average grant amount of $32,122 and a median of $25,000. All NEA grants must be matched at least 1:1 with non-federal support.

North Carolina grants

Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation: $25,000

City of Wilson: $59,000

Design Corps: $40,000

Gates County Board of Education (also known as the Gates County schools): $36,000

Mint Museum of Art, Inc. (also known as the Mint Museums): $40,000

Mitchell County Board of Education (also known as the Mitchell County schools): $12,000

North Carolina Folklife Institute: $40,000

UNC Chapel Hill: $45,000

For more information visit

-Press release from the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, shared April 26.

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Angie Newsome is the executive director and editor of Carolina Public Press. Contact her at (828) 774-5290 or e-mail her at

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