Bellingham's Kuntz and Company, run by Western Washington University dance instructor Pam Kuntz, is one of 163 nonprofit organizations nationwide to receive an National Endowment for the Arts Challenge America grant.
Kuntz and Company is recommended for a $10,000 grant to support three dance residencies by artists from different cultures. Artists under consideration include choreographer Etienne Cakpo from Benin, West Africa; artist Silvio Aleixo Dos Reis, who specializes in capoeira, a Brazilian art form; and a company devoted to Bhangra, a dance tradition from the Punjab region of India and Pakistan.
"I'm pleased to be able to share the news of our support through Challenge America, including the award to Kuntz and Company," said NEA chairman Jane Chu in a press release. "The arts foster value, connection, creativity and innovation for the American people, and these recommended grants demonstrate those attributes and affirm that the arts are part of our everyday lives."
Kuntz called the grant an honor and an opportunity.
"We are excited to share these dance traditions with our community here in Whatcom County," she said.
With another $10,000 in matching contributions, the residencies promise to be rich experiences for many. At this time, partners in the grant include Carl Cozier Elementary, the Whatcom Family and Community Network, Allied Arts, the College of Fine and Performing Arts at WWU, Sterling Meadows and several individuals.
The Challenge America category supports projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics or disability. The NEA received 347 eligible Challenge America applications and will award 163 grants for a total of $1.63 million.
For a complete listing of projects recommended for Challenge America support, visit the NEA website. Follow the conversation about this and other NEA‐funded projects on Twitter at #NEAFall2014.
For more information about "Bringing World Dance Traditions to Whatcom County," contact Pam Kuntz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-510-4711. Specific dates, locations and artists will be announced in early February.