Culture Flash

A dozen NEA grants, an Austinite for State Artist, and Austin High takes state

• Congratulations to the following 12 Central Texas arts groups that have just been awarded 2011 grants from the National Endowment for the Arts: Arthouse: $35,000 to support studio-based art education programs for area high school students Austin Chamber Music Center: $39,000 to support chamber music instruction for students from professional musicians Austin Classical Guitar Society: $35,000 to support educational outreach from classical guitar instructors in up to 14 area schools Austin Film Festival: $8,000 to support a program instructing high school students in story structure, screenwriting, and film production Austin Film Society: $35,000 to support AFS Film Club, an afterschool filmmaking program run in partnership with the Austin Independent School District Ballet East Dance Company: $10,000 to support Hear Me/See Me, a multimedia work by choreographer Sharon Marroquin based on stories of immigrant children and their families living on the Eastside Conspirare: $37,500 to support a tour to Midwestern states of the concert program Spirituals: A Cornerstone of the American Choral Legacy International Tap Association: $20,000 to support Tap History Then & Now, a project furthering documentation of tap dance through digitization and presentation on a website Rude Mechanicals: $10,000 to support the re-creation of Mabou Mines' 1975 play B. Beaver Animation as the second production in the company's Contemporary Classics Series Telling Project: $20,000 to support Telling: Donaldson State Penitentiary, a performance work drawn from incarcerated veterans' stories about their enlistment, deployment, and return to civilian life Texas Folklife Resources: $40,000 to support the second year of "A Place at the Table," a survey of food traditions in Texas Texas State University – San Marcos: $15,000 to support the Texas State Black and Latino Playwrights Conference

• Congratulations to Melissa Miller on being named the Texas State Two-Dimensional Artist for 2011. The associate professor in the University of Texas Department of Art and Art History is one of eight artists receiving cultural appointments from the Texas Legislature for this year and the next. Also honored: Jesús Moroles, Texas State Three-Dimensional Artist 2011; Lyle Lovett, Texas State Musician 2011; David M. Parsons, Texas State Poet Laureate 2011; Karl Umlauf, Texas State Two-Dimensional Artist 2012; Bill FitzGibbons, Texas State Three-Dimensional Artist 2012; Billy Gibbons, Texas State Musician 2012; and Jan Seale, Texas State Poet Laureate 2012. The Texas Commission on the Arts received 126 nominations for 97 different artists to be honored. After panelists review the names and determine the finalists, a committee appointed by the governor, lieutenant governor, and speaker of the House makes the final selection. For more information, visit

• Congratulations to Austin High School's Red Dragon Players on winning the 5A division of the 2011 University Interscholastic League State One-Act Play Contest on Wednesday, May 11. The group took first place with a production of Over The Tavern by Tom Dudzick, directed by theatre teachers Billy Dragoo and Tommy Grubbs. This was Austin High's second win in three years and fifth consecutive appearance at state, tying it with San Antonio Clark High School for most consecutive appearances in the contest's history. Along the way, the production earned 12 awards, with actor Catherine Schwartz being honored at every level of competition. At state, she received both the best actress award and the Samuel French Award for Excellence in Acting. In addition, Ian Erbe was named to the All-Star Cast and Nick Williams to the Honorable Mention All-Star Cast. For more information, visit

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National Endowment for the Arts, Melissa Miller, Red Dragon Players, Texas State Artist, UIL State One-Act Play Contest, Billy Dragoo, Tommy Grubbs, Texas Commission on the Arts

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