Arts Desk

D.C. Arts Commission Grants Are Totally Funding Simpsons Events and Tweed Rides

This post has been updated.

It’s the time of year when arts organizations are either sighing in relief or adding bank robbery as a revenue stream. The District’s Commision on the Arts and Humanities announced last week its annual slate of awards, which totals $3.7 million spread over 227 grants.

There are fewer categories now, too: In August, the arts commission reduced its number of grant programs from 16 to 9, although some categories were consolidated.

And it's more competitive: For the first time this year, DCCAH opened its Grants-in-Aid program to organizations that also receive federal aid through the National Capital Arts and Cultural Affairs grant program. Provided the recipients can raise the requisite matching funds, the city awards should mitigate the sting of the 70 percent cut in the NCACA program enacted earlier this year, but the move also adds some new competition for organizations that rely more on local funding. Of the $715,000 pledged as Grants-in-Aid, $190,000 went to NCACA groups like the Phillips Collection and Kennedy Center, which have long received other city grants for programming, but not for general operational support. It might be telling that some smaller organizations saw their Grants-in-Aid decline from 2011, such as the gallery Transformer, which got $17,100 last year but only $6,250 for fiscal 2012. The D.C. Film Alliance, which runs the D.C. Shorts Film Festival, didn't receive any Grants-in-Aid money this year although it took in $19,000 from the program last year. Still, other small non-NCACA groups saw an increase, like Taffety Punk Theatre Company, which went from $2,098.55 to $5,000. It's worth noting that not every group that typically gets NCACA funding applied for Grants-in-Aid money.

Here are a few other items that, um, stand out:

$5,000 for Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, which plans to host a series of “multidisciplinary arts experiences which examine and celebrate THE SIMPSONS and its impact on American pop-culture psyche”—this in conjunction with Anne Washburn’s dystopian Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play. Excelllent.

$7,335 for Mayor Vince Gray’s favorite recreational activity. The National Hand Dance Association will use its grant to sponsor youth and senior workshops in wards 7 and 8.

$8,000, or $349 adjusted for 1913 dollars, to the group Dandies and Quaintrelles, for its “Seersucker Social and Moonlight Rides.” Will taxpayers be happy footing the bill for poppycock like licorice bootlaces, penny whistles, paisley bowties, and mustache wax? Balderdash!

$40,000 to renovate the lobby of the Howard Theatre, the historic Florida Ave. NW venue that is set to reopen next April.

$50,000 for renovations to Studio Theatre, including improvements to make the Zinoplex more green.

$50,000 for the trustees of the Corcoran, for a new modular chiller system to control cooling and relative humidity and help preserve the museum’s art. Or: Art HVAC!

We'll continue combing this year's arts grants, which you can scan and download below. Take a read and help us out:

FY2012 Grantees and Projects

The article originally misidentified the decrease in arts grants compared to last year.

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  • Nicole

    Insulting arts organizations and groups that make a difference to the community, such as D&Q will not get you more readers. Being inflammatory just for the sake of it is not journalism, it's pathetic. Did you even take the time to ask these organizations where the money goes? No, you didn't. The City Paper has been pursuing a negative slant for years now and it should be embarrassed.

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