NEA Grant Support Dance, Poetry at CFA

A  $50,000 grant to Wesleyan from the National Endowment for the Arts will support dance programs at the Center for the Arts and poetry initiatives at Wesleyan University Press.

The award, announced by the NEA Dec. 11, recognizes the university’s commitment to the arts across all forms of artistic expression. It includes a $30,000 grant to the CFA, the ninth NEA award to the dance programs. That represents a 50 percent increase over the 2012-2013 season grant supporting the Breaking Ground Dance Series.

“Support from the National Endowment for the Arts has been central to our ability to fulfill our mission to become a vibrant center for dance in the state, and to bring contemporary dance to audiences who might not otherwise be able to access it,” said Pamela Tatge, director of the CFA. “We are grateful for the vote of confidence that this grant implies.”

The Breaking Ground series, now in its 14th season, features cutting-edge choreography, world-renowned companies, and groups that push the boundaries of the art form. Past companies featured in the series include Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company, Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE, Chunky Move and Compagnie Marie Chouinard.

The $20,000 earmarked for Wesleyan University Press will support the publication and distribution of books of poetry, to be promoted through author tours, book trailers, social media and free online teaching guides.

“We are delighted with this grant to support the poetry list,” said Suzanna Tamminen, director of the Press. “We currently publish six poetry titles per year and try to maintain a mix of established and new poets, and translations of contemporary and modernist poetry.”

In 2013, Tamminen said, Wes Press will publish The Tatters, an elegy for the end of the pristine natural world, by Brenda Coultas; In Defense of Nothing: Selected Poems, 1987-2011, the first “selected” volume by critically acclaimed poet Peter Gizzi, and Favor of Crows,  a collection of original haiku from a preeminent Native American poet and novelist, Gerald Vizenor.

Poetry was among the first areas that Wesleyan University Press published in when it was established in 1957. Since the beginning, the press has been committed to pushing the boundaries of both poetic form and the imagination, and over the years, Wesleyan poets have earned many honors including Pulitzer Prizes and National Book Awards.

The grant counts toward Wesleyan’s multi-year $400 million fundraising effort supporting access, inquiry and impact across university programs.