The National Endowment for the Arts approved nearly 900 thousand dollars in grants for five South Dakota organizations. Some local groups received money for the first time to pursue work in education, performance and preservation work.
The First People’s Fund is being awarded 70 thousand dollars for two projects. Cecily Engelhart is the Communications Manager with the First People’s Fund. She says one grant will help the organization fund a new workspace in Kyle to help Native artists hone their skills.
“It’s not only dedicated to the passing on of traditional knowledge but also to creative work like, there’s going to be recording studio, a sound booth and computer lab for creative things like film editing. So there’s those different creative components of what that means to create art in Native communities, but also that financial support and network building that we think is really intregul.”
Engelhart says plans also include a Lakota Federal Credit Union storefront to support local artists. The Chamber Music Festival of the Black Hills is receiving 15 thousand dollars. Michael Hill is the executive director.
“It’ll go towards all of our programing support. It will assist us in our educational programing. We provide anywhere from 35 closer to 43 education programs this year. We are expanding our programing from preschool through high school. And we’re expanding and developing more into the sensory disabilities.”
Hill says studies have shown that learning to play an instrument can aid in healing and education. The South Dakota Arts Council received the largest amount of money, totalling more than 700 thousand dollars. That money is matched by funds from the state tourism tax and distributed to arts organizations.