BBCF board of directors Barbara Howard and George McMillan embraced in thanks of the support and 2013 grant money. -- Sarah Cook
BBCF board of directors Barbara Howard and George McMillan embraced in thanks of the support and 2013 grant money. -- Sarah Cook

BBCF awards more than $200,000 in grants

Published 11:46pm Monday, June 24, 2013

Representatives from 51 arts and cultural organizations throughout the Black Belt met Saturday at Concordia College Alabama to receive more than $200,000 in grant money through the Black Belt Community Foundation.

BBCF, which partners with the Youth & Cultural Committee of the Black Belt Action Commission and the Alabama State Council on the Arts, established the community grants ceremony in an effort to give back to the many rural arts organizations throughout the Black Belt and to promote creativity.

“These grants are to support community initiatives including arts, education, community, economic development and health,” said Felecia Jones, president of the foundation. “It includes everything from helping to restore old museums to providing exposure to other arts and artists for the people of the region.”

Specifically in Selma and Dallas County, grants were given to ArtsRevive, the Selma Art Guild and the Community Concert Series.

Martha Lockett of ArtsRevive said these grants will help support several annual events, such as the Tale Tellin’ Festival, StreetFest and the Orrville Tractor Show.

“Everybody in this 12-county Black Belt area is really grateful for the Black Belt Community Foundation and the support they’ve given over the past several years,” Lockett said. “A little bit of money in a small community makes a huge difference — we’re really appreciative of this.”

As an avid arts enthusiast, Jones said it’s important that cultural organizations in the Black Belt have the means to expand and flourish. Awarding these grants, she said, is just one small way to encourage growth.

“It’s exciting for us because our region has strong needs, and so this gives us a chance to really meet those needs,” Jones said. “And what’s really cool about our grants program is that the people in the community determine their needs. We don’t say ‘We want to give you money for a specific thing,’ they say ‘This is what our community needs now’ — and we listen to them.”

Currently, Lockett said ArtsRevive is working to implement an urban studio in the downtown area, which the grant money will help sustain.

“We’re hoping we can make it a massive economic redevelopment for Broad Street and Water Avenue,” Lockett said. “These grants help a lot with projects like this.”

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