Facebook66Tweet0Pin1Submitted by The Washington Center for the Performing ArtsNational Endowment for the Arts Acting Chairman Mary Anne Carter has approved more than $27 million in grants as part of the Arts Endowment’s first major funding announcement for fiscal year 2019. Included in this announcement is a Challenge America grant of $10,000 to the Washington Center for the Performing Arts. Challenge America grants support projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations—those whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability.“The arts enhance our communities and our lives, and we look forward to seeing these projects take place throughout the country, giving Americans opportunities to learn, to create, to heal, and to celebrate,” said Mary Anne Carter, acting chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.Jill Barnes, Executive Director of the Washington Center, says, “The importance of the NEA cannot be understated. Artists and arts organizations rely on a diverse stream of funding. This grant will expose students and youth to different cultures and explore new types of artistic expression. This is how students learn and grow, and enhances their education.”The Washington Center will use NEA funding to support their Creative Connections program, which links underserved Thurston-County students with professional touring artists. Upcoming performances with educational student programs include a private classroom Q & A with Ira Glass, and virtuoso ukulele performer Taimane on May 16. Taimane has the ability to morph genres – from classical to rock to flamenco – and stretch her instrument far beyond the familiar melodies of Hawaii, where she grew up. Gardner’s musical experience will convey to students that one can transcend expectations of what anyone, or any instrument, can and should do.The Washington Center partners with local school districts to engage Title 1 schools and K-12 students in the Olympia area as well as local institutions of higher learning. Free tickets to economically disadvantaged families will be available for the associated public performances through area service organizations.For more information on this National Endowment for the Arts grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.