BTCF Blog | Arts Build Community Initiative Awards $40,000 in Rap

BTCF Blog

Arts Build Community Initiative Awards $40,000 in Rapid Response Grants

By Darryl Gangloff / April 13, 2021 / Community Engagement, News & Announcements
Arts Build Community Initiative Awards $40,000 in Rapid Response Grants
Sarah Trudgeon, pictured above, and Chris Schlegel of The Mastheads will teach poetry-writing workshops for West Side teenagers and adults with support from an Arts Build Community grant. Photo by John Dolan

 

Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation’s Arts Build Community initiative awarded $40,000 to help nine Berkshire County nonprofits test new ideas to engage more year-round residents in the arts and creative experiences.

Through a variety of digital and in-person projects, these organizations aim to address barriers to participating in the arts for Berkshire residents, especially among communities of color, youth, immigrants and residents who would like to take part in programming but face challenges such as cost, transportation and disconnection from the arts.

Our community-based participatory research process identified these barriers through surveys, interviews and focus groups. Local residents who were part of the research team served as members of the grant review committee.  A short decision-making timeline allowed us to provide funding quickly to support these innovative programs.

We launched the Arts Build Community initiative in 2017 with support from the Barr Foundation and generous local donors. Our premise is that a region steeped in world-class arts institutions holds unlimited potential to engage residents in ways that build connections, create understanding and bring forward inclusive approaches that improve community life.

RAPID RESPONSE GRANTEES

'62 Center for Theatre and Dance at Williams College: $3,750 to collect Williamstown community stories for Grey Matter TV, an upcoming television series that will take a critical look at the town’s history and amplify the voices of Black and Indigenous residents, and other people of color. Grey Matter TV is the vision of Williamstown-born performance artist Sacha Yanow and community organizer Bilal Ansari.

Barrington Stage Company: $7,500 to support Black Voices Matter, a creative platform that will feature digital reflections of the Black Lives Matter movement by local artists, a series of short online plays that address Black culture and concerns, and an outdoor summer festival in Pittsfield’s West Side neighborhood that will celebrate artists of color.

Berkshire Museum: $7,500 to plan art, science and community programs for residents who feel disconnected from the region’s environmental and cultural institutions. The initiative aims to advance the role that artists can play in building sustainable communities. Partners include Berkshire Natural Resources Council, City as Living Laboratory, Living the Change, and Word X Word.

Gould Farm: $3,750 to host a series of two-week artist residencies to provide therapeutic workshops that will help guests with mental health challenges move toward recovery and independence.  

Hancock Shaker Village: $4,000 to engage area youth ages 13-17 in an immersive, arts-based experience at the museum that will explore issues of community, equality and identity. Partners include Roots Rising, Rites of Passage and Empowerment (ROPE), and Barrington Stage Company’s Playwrights Mentoring Program.

The Mastheads: $4,650 to launch a series of four poetry-writing workshops for West Side teenagers and adults that will lead to the creation of a collaborative film to ultimately inform community development in the Pittsfield neighborhood. Partners include Roots Rising, the Westside Legends, the Christian Center, and several West Side organizations.

The Mount, Edith Wharton’s Home: $2,500 to produce a Spanish-language audio tour and other translated materials to create an engaging and welcoming experience for the local immigrant population, in collaboration with the Berkshire Immigrant Center.  

Tamarack Hollow Nature & Cultural Center: $2,350 to host a spring drum festival that will give Berkshire County residents the opportunity to experience West African music, songs and culture through in-person and online classes. 

WAM Theatre: $4,000 to reach young people and communities of color through a digital community engagement project for its fall production of “Kamloopa: An Indigenous Matriarch Story,” which will bring together a cast and crew of Indigenous women and women of color.

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