December 14, 2007

Whitehouse Congratulates Newport Dance Company on Federal Award

Island Moving Company Will Receive Funds from National Endowment for the Arts

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) congratulated the Island Moving Company of Newport, Rhode Island, on a $10,000 federal grant to support its 2008 Open for Dancing festival. The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) issued the award as part of its “Challenge America: Reaching Every Community Fast-Track Review Grants” program. 
“While many school districts have been struggling to protect arts programming from budget cuts, the Company has worked extensively in schools, teaching creative movement annually to 2,000 Rhode Island students, some of whom are low-income and may not otherwise have access to arts enrichment programs,” Whitehouse, a member of the NEA’s Council on the Arts, wrote in a letter in support of the program’s grant proposal in July. 
The Island Moving Company, the only professional performing troupe based in Newport, works extensively with young people in schools in the area, where 47% of the school-aged population is classified as low-income. The Open for Dancing festival provides students and other area residents interested in dancing the opportunity to take part in a unique performance that highlights not only the art of dance, but also historic Newport landmarks. 
Open for Dancing 2008 will take place September 17-21, 2008, at Newport locations to be determined by guest choreographers in May. Sites all over historic Newport have hosted performances in the past, including the Preservation Society of Newport, Doris Duke’s Rough Point, Fort Adams, Ballard Park, Trinity Church, the Newport Art Museum, the Newport Historical Society and the Navy Base. Truly a local event, festival partners include the City of Newport, the Visitors Bureau and Salve Regina University. 
“Artistic Director Miki Ohlsen and I are thrilled to gain this recognition from the National Endowment for the Arts and to have the Senator’s strong support,” said Dominique Alfandre, Executive Director of the IMC. “Open for Dancing is an event for the whole community, involving both students and community participants in the creation of original dance works for stunning Newport sites. It is a celebration of Newport’s historic landscapes and its lively cultural life.”
The NEA’s Challenge America grants offer support for small to mid-sized organizations that work to expand access to artistic programming for traditionally underserved populations. This year, the NEA made 136 Challenge America grant awards worth $1.36 million nationwide. 

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