July 12, 2012 -- For Immediate Release
For more information contact:
Richard Bryant, 973-886-5118;
Danni Rumsey, 732-499-0441
National Endowment for the Arts Announces
2012 Our Town Grant Recipients
Rahway’s Union County Performing Arts Center/Hamilton Stage
One of 80 Grantees Selected Nationwide
Rahway, NJ --- The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) today announced 80 Our Town grant awards totaling $4.995 million and reaching 44 states and the District of Columbia. Union County Performing Arts Center is one of the grantees and will receive $75,000 to fund RAHWAY ARTsPART -- an 18-month initiative to plant innovative programming that fosters community interaction as the guiding principle of Union County Performing Arts Center and its new Hamilton Stage, the City of Rahway's Redevelopment Agency, Arts Guild New Jersey, LuceGroup, Rahway Arts District, and a wide array of artistic and community partners.
Through Our Town, the NEA supports creative placemaking projects that help transform communities into lively, beautiful, and sustainable places with the arts at their core. The grantee projects will improve quality of life, encourage creative activity, create community identity and a sense of place, and help revitalize local economies. All Our Town grant awards were made to partnerships that consisted of a minimum of a not-for-profit organization and a local government entity.
RAHWAY ARTsPART is designed to harness the opening of Hamilton Stage and the arrival in Rahway of seven performing arts companies to 1) provide innovative, exceptional artistic programming that reflects the community; 2) engage people of all ages, ethnicities, and abilities in the arts; 3) encourage direct participation in the arts; 4) teach students to make and appreciate the arts and share their talents with the community; 5) help grow artists, art organizations, and affiliate companies by helping them find paying customers and additional work, and; 6) further establish Rahway as a vibrant arts destination.
Highlights of the RAHWAY ARTsPART include one or more major outdoor arts festivals along Rahway’s new Arts Riverwalk; international convenings in the field of dance and beatbox; a variety of high-end performances and social arts activities in non-traditional community settings like restaurants, rooftops, civic facilities, and one of New Jersey’s busiest train stations; and a variety of visual arts programs around the city provided by Arts Guild New Jersey.
The Rahway School District is a principal partner and will collaborate on cross-cultural, semester-long artist teacher residencies in every Rahway public school, resulting in a showcase of the work of student artists for the community and the establishment of an inter-school jazz band that performs with professional artists for students and the public.
"Cities and towns are transformed when you bring the arts - both literally and figuratively - into the center of them," said NEA Chairman Landesman. "From Teller, Alaska to Miami, Florida, communities are pursuing creative placemaking, making their neighborhoods more vibrant and robust by investing in the performing, visual, and literary arts. I am proud to be partnering with these 80 communities and their respective arts, civic, and elected leaders."
“The NEA received 317 applications for Our Town that were assigned to one of three application review panels based on their project type; arts engagement, cultural planning and design, or non-metro and tribal communities. With only 80 grants emerging from the 317 applications, or a success rate of 25 percent, competition was strong, a testament to the artistic excellence and merit of RAHWAY ARTsPART.”
“We are deeply gratified that our long-term drive to transform Rahway through investment in the arts, culture, and creativity has now gained sufficient traction to garner national attention and support,” said UC PAC Executive Director Samson Steinman. “With the opening of our new Hamilton Stage just two months away, the timing could not be better. Not only will this grant help us continue to build a more vibrant community and engage more artists, it will also assure we can provide high-quality artistic programs in every Rahway Public School and at Rahway’s JFK Center.”
For more than a decade, the City of Rahway has made the primary thrust of its redevelopment activities the creation of an arts district and the further development of artistic infrastructure and policy conducive to providing arts spaces; attracting artists and companies to work and live in Rahway; and further establishing Rahway as an artistic destination for the surrounding region.
The instrument of Rahway’s arts-driven development policy is the Rahway Redevelopment Agency, which is fully operated and funded by the City of Rahway government. Rahway Redevelopment Agency is the “Consortium Partner” for this NEA Our Town initiative.
Planning and facilitation of the UC PAC/Hamilton Stage Our Town initiative has been provided by Front of House Services of Madison, New Jersey, Richard T. Bryant, president.
For a complete listing of projects recommended for Our Town grant support, please visit the NEA website at arts.gov.
MORE ABOUT UNION COUNTY PERFORMING ARTS CENTER
The Union County Performing Arts Center is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation operating in the historic Rahway Theatre, originally built in 1928 and fully restored in 2008. It is the heart of the Rahway Arts District, which has been the focus of significant construction, restoration, and adaptive re-use over the past decade, including the investment of more than $1 billion in a new NJ Transit rail center with a first-class hotel, class A residential housing, expanded retail space, restaurants, improved streetscape, and other amenities.
In September 2012, Rahway’s new Hamilton Stage for the Performing Arts will open its doors to the public for its inaugural season, welcoming audiences to the city’s new artistic era. This beautiful theater complex will be home to an extraordinary group of artistic affiliates: American Repertory Ballet, American Theater Group, Ballets with a Twist, Good Music – Mostly Classical funded by RSI Bank as part of its classical music initiative, Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company, StrangeDog Theatre Company, Vital Theatre Company, and as well as special events and educational programs.
The opening of Hamilton Stage is a significant expansion of UC PAC, which will govern and operate Hamilton Stage as part of its growing campus. With its intimate 199-seat Theater and 60-seat Front Room Theater/Rehearsal Hall, Hamilton Stage is the perfect complement to UC PAC’s 1365-seat Mainstage, the 50-seat Loft Theater, and the adjacent 60-seat LightSoundSpace concert venue. When combined, these five performing arts spaces make the UC PAC campus one of the most versatile creative spaces in the state.
UC PAC and Hamilton Stage and Arts Guild New Jersey are six blocks from NJ Transit’s Rahway Station, which is located on the northeast rail corridor 30 minutes from New York Penn Station. Rahway Station is the junction point for all trains leading to and from the Jersey Shore. The Rahway Arts District can be reached by taking exit 135 from the Garden State Parkway or exit 12 from the NJ Turnpike.
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ADDITIONAL PHOTOS AND INTERVIEWS FURNISHED UPON REQUEST
For further press information please contact:
Hamilton Stage for the Performing Arts
Richard Bryant, 973-295-6530; firstname.lastname@example.org
Union County Performing Arts Center
Danni Rumsey, 732-499-0441, ext. 221, Danni@ucpac.org