(Honesdale, PA, December 17, 2014)… It’s being described as “a great 10th anniversary present!” by the organizers of the Honesdale Roots & Rhythm Music & Arts Festival. The Festival was just awarded a $10,000 Challenge America Fast-Track grant from the National Endowment for the Arts’ Art Works program. It was their first time applying for the honor.
“To say I’m elated is an understatement,” said Jamie Stunkard, the Roots & Rhythm board member who submitted the grant. “It’s just a great honor for the Festival and the community.”
The Challenge America program is geared to offer support to small and mid-size organizations for projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations, and according to Stunkard, Roots & Rhythm really met the criteria. “We’re rural, we’re wheelchair accessible, and we’re free, so that people of any income level can attend and enjoy.”
Festival Chairman Brian Fulp agreed—this grant was a natural fit. “When we started Roots & Rhythm we wanted to combine music and arts and offer it to a community that may not have otherwise had the opportunity to experience it,” said Fulp, adding “I’m excited about the grant, but I’m also inspired by the community that embraced the opportunity we offered with Roots & Rhythm and helped us grow.”
Roots & Rhythm was one of 919 nonprofit organizations nationwide to receive a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Art Works grant this fall. NEA Chairman Jane Chu said, “I’m pleased to be able to share the news of our support through Art Works including the award to Honesdale Roots & Rhythm Music & Arts Festival. The arts foster value, connection, creativity and innovation for the American people and these recommended grants demonstrate those attributes and affirm that the arts are part of our everyday lives.”
The Honesdale Roots & Rhythm Music & Arts Festival draws more than 5,000 people each year from all across Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. The festival unfolds on a Saturday in June with local bands on Main Street in the morning and, in the afternoon, a solid lineup on the main stage in Central Park of four or five bands from around the country.
Stunkard hopes this award will open doors to more funding opportunities. “We had to provide a lot of material to support our application,” said Stunkard, “including three years of video clips of the musicians, musician biographies and several lengthy essays. We also had to show our funding structure for the past and going forward.”
While the NEA grant is sizeable, both Stunkard and Fulp say it’s just a portion of what’s needed to mount the Festival each year. Roots & Rhythm is possible largely because of local sponsors.
“Roots & Rhythm would not be possible without the support of our local benefactors,” explained Fulp. “This year, we plan to celebrate our 10-year history and our relationships with our sponsors. We want to make Roots & Rhythm bigger and better than ever, and we want them on board.”
The Honesdale Roots & Rhythm Music & Arts Festival in 2015 will take place on June 20, 2015 – rain or shine. Mark it on your calendars and check the website, www.honesdalerootsandrhythm.com , often for updated information.
Contact: Lisa Champeau 570-253-8631
Deborah Bailey, 570-251-1512