National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Rocco Landesman announced this week that Chicago's About Face Theatre is one of 832 non-profit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Art Works grant. About Face is recommended for a $20,000 grant to support a year-long exploration of the queer experience as seen through the eyes of LGBTQ men of color.
The project, titled HERE TODAY: Queer Men of Color will take place during 2013 and span across About Face Theatre's programming. The 2013 XYZ Festival of New Works, now in its third year, will be headlined by workshop performances of new works by Paul Oakley Stovall and Harrison David Rivers. Additionally, AFT Artistic Associate Arturo Soria will teach the art of solo performance to LGBTQ youth involved in About Face Youth Theatre. Finally, About Face will commission an artist of color (to be announced) to develop a new play. HERE TODAY: Queer Men of Color will begin conversations about the relationship between gender, race and sexual identity within the theatre and the larger community through the diverse work of four extremely talented gay men of color.
"I'm proud to announce these 832 grants to the American public including About Face Theatre's HERE TODAY: Queer Men of Color," said Chairman Landesman. "These projects offer extraordinary examples of creativity in our country, including the creation of new work, innovative ways of engaging audiences, and exemplary education programs."
"We are honored that the NEA has recognized the unique artistic impact of the XYZ Festival of New Works here at About Face," adds AFT Artistic Director Bonnie Metzgar. "With this prestigious grant, About Face will identify and develop the most innovative artists exploring issues of sexuality and gender and continue its commitment to provide artistic opportunities for LGBTQA artists of color in Chicago."
In March 2012, the NEA received 1,509 eligible applications for Art Works requesting more than $74 million in funding. The 832 recommended NEA grants total $22.3 million, span 13 artistic disciplines and fields, and focus primarily on the creation of work and presentation of both new and existing works for the benefit of American audiences. Applications were reviewed by panels of outside experts convened by NEA staff and each project was judged on its artistic excellence and artistic merit.
For a complete listing of projects recommended for Art Works grant support, visit the NEA website at www.arts.gov.
About Face Theatre (Bonnie Metzgar, Artistic Director; Jason L. Held, Executive Director) is one of Chicago's most acclaimed theatre companies, and is a national leader in the development of new work exploring gender and sexual identity. Since its founding by Kyle Hall and Eric Rosen in 1995, the company has premiered more than 45 world premieres by writers and directors who have been recognized with several Tony Awards, The Pulitzer Prize for Drama, The MacArthur Fellowship and dozens of Joseph Jefferson Awards.