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National Endowment of the Arts announces Grant to WGAE Foundation

NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS ANNOUNCES GRANT TO
WRITERS GUILD OF AMERICA, EAST FOUNDATION

$10,000 grant will support Actors and Writers Book Club

May 19, 2011—New York, NY—Rocco Landesman, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, today announced that the Writers Guild of America, East Foundation has been recommended for a grant of $10,000 to support the Actors and Writers Book Club, which will bring established actors and writers to high schools to read and discuss classic works of literature. The NEA grant will be matched by $10,000 pledged to the WGAE Foundation by an anonymous donor.

The Writers Guild of America, East Foundation is one of 1,145 not-for-profit national, regional, state, and local organizations recommended for a grant as part of the federal agency’s second round of fiscal year 2011 grants. In total, the Arts Endowment will distribute more than $88 million to support projects nationwide.

An independent agency of the federal government, the National Endowment for the Arts advances artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman said, “NEA research shows that three out of four Americans participate in the arts. The diverse, innovative, and exceptional projects funded in this round will ensure that Americans around the country continue to have the opportunity to experience and participate in the arts.”

“We are extremely grateful for the $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts which, along with the matching grant from an anonymous donor, will allow us to expand the work of the Actors and Writers Book Club,” said Book Club Chair Thomas Kelly, a novelist, and writer/producer of CBS Bluebloods. “Studies show that students engaged with literature are more likely to graduate from high school and go on to achieve academic success in college. Consistent readers learn critical analytical skills which bring understanding and confidence that will serve them the rest of their lives.”

The Actors and Writers Book Club plans to travel to several US cities, including Philadelphia, St. Louis, Tucson, and Chicago during 2011-12. In conjunction with the high school’s curriculum, an established actor and writer read from such classics as Their Eyes Were Watching God by Nora Zeale Hurston, A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin, or To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, allowing assembled students to connect with literature through the shared experience of actors and writers they know and admire. The program’s goal is to provide the deepest possible experience of the books selected---one that encourages the high school reader to explore other books, to enjoy the pleasures that reading brings, and to think about the positive effects that literature can have on both their professional and personal lives. For more information on the Actors and Writers Book Club. contact WGAE Foundation Executive Director Marsha Manns at mmanns@wgaeast.org

Please click here to read more about the Access to Artistic Excellence and other grants awarded by the NEA.

The Writers Guild of America, East Foundation is the charitable foundation of the Writers Guild of America, East, the labor union representing writers in motion pictures, television, cable, digital media, and broadcast news. The WGAE Foundation’s mission is to perpetuate the art and craft of storytelling, either by professionals or amateurs, through education and practical experience, on local, national and global levels; to find the next generation of writers in fiction, non-fiction, television, radio, film, theatre, and new media; to encourage WGAE members and staff to contribute their expertise to Foundation activities, thereby expanding the base and breadth of knowledge, as well as increasing the solidarity and power of the writing community in the larger world; and to work with other like-minded organizations in order to facilitate and expand the needs and goals of writers everywhere. The Foundation’s programs include: the Helen Deutsch Writing Workshops, Actors and Writers Book Club, PencilPALS, The Michael Collyer Memorial Fellowship in Screenwriting, and The Mentor Group. For more information on the WGAE Foundation, visit www.wgaefoundation.org.

The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. To join the discussion on how art works, visit the NEA at arts.gov.