The Harlem Arts Alliance held its first Membership Celebration Monday night at the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial Education Center. At the event, 19 recipients were awarded grants for the first cycle of the Harlem Community Arts Fund. The fund was developed to support the needs and aspirations of Harlem’s creative community and to further the organizational and artistic development of artists and art organizations. The Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone provides the funding.
In the first funding cycle, grants are being provided to applicants for programs that support community arts and activities open to the public and for art projects that strengthen small and emerging arts organizations. The awards were given in areas including film, visual arts, music and multimedia.
Those who received grants were divided into three categories. They are Individual Artist Support, Arts in the Community and Capacity Building. Recipients on Monday night for Individual Artists Support included James Gillard, Naomi Hass and Edward Hillel.
The Harlem Opera Theater, the ImageNation Film Festival and the New York African Chorus Ensemble were among those that received grants in the Arts in the Community category.
In the Capacity Building category, African Voices, Harlem Textile Works and Yaffa Cultural Arts all received grants. The HAA announced earlier this month its partnership with Experience: Harlem. Together HAA and Experience: Harlem have produced “See! Hear! Taste! The Winter 2009 Experience: Harlem Culture and Dining Guide.” The guide provides details about happenings in Harlem and downloadable discount coupons and gift certificates.
Michael Unthank, HAA executive director, said, “HAA is committed to strengthening the arts in Harlem through improved services and partnerships. These new initiatives are perfect examples of our efforts to enhance Harlem’s posture as a cultural center.” In the upcoming months, HAA is providing workshops about how artists and organizations can get their own funds available through grant support. There will also be work-shops on grant writing, legal issues and non-profit incorporation and tax exemption.