Cape Gazette
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The Freeman Stage at Bayside receives NEA Challenge America grant

Dec 18, 2013
Source: Submitted The Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra performs on The Freeman Stage at Bayside.

National Endowment for the Arts Senior Deputy Chair Joan Shigekawa announced Dec. 11 that The Freeman Stage at Bayside, a program of the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation, is one of 150 not-for-profit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Challenge America Fast-Track grant.

The Freeman Stage is recommended for a $10,000 grant to support and present a collaborative effort between the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra and fifth-grade students from Sussex County in June 2014.

The Challenge America Fast-Track category offers $10,000 matching grants to support projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability. Challenge America Fast-Track grants support two major outcomes: public engagement with diverse and excellent art and livability, or the strengthening of communities through the arts.

In this fiscal year 2014 funding round, the NEA received 294 eligible Challenge America Fast-Track applications requesting $2.94 million in funding. The NEA will award 150 Challenge America Fast-Track grants totaling $1.5 million to organizations in 46 states, including 33 first-time NEA grantees, or 22 percent of all CAFT grantees in this round.

"We could not be more excited to receive this funding and recognition from the National Endowment of the Arts," said Joshua M. Freeman Foundation Executive Director Patti Grimes. "We recognize that access to the arts is sometimes limited by cost and geographic barriers, and with this grant we will be able to bring the talented musicians of the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra directly to a young audience. The final result should be fun and inspirational for all."

"The NEA was founded on the principle that the arts belong to all the people of the United States," said Shigekawa. "We're proud that Challenge America Fast-Track grants bring more opportunities for arts engagement to underserved communities."

See the complete listing of projects recommended for Challenge America Fast-Track grant support at www.arts.gov.

The Joshua M. Freeman Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, was established in 2007 to honor Josh Freeman, the former chair of the Carl M. Freeman Foundation, after his untimely death in December 2006.

The current focus of the foundation is The Freeman Stage at Bayside, an outdoor performing arts venue near Fenwick Island, which attracts an average of 40,000 visitors a year, including 10,000 outreach guests.

For more information, visit www.freemanfoundation.org or www.freemanstage.org or call 302-436-3015.

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