Nick and Jenny Taubman, the namesake of the Taubman Museum of Art and significant benefactors for the Roanoke arts community, have announced the distribution breakdown for the first half of their $2.5 million in grants for arts and cultural organizations over the next two years.
The grant program was announced in the winter and 26 organizations have presented their applications since then.
Those getting the maximum $100,000 of the first half of the grants include the Taubman Museum, Center in the Square, Science Museum of Western Virginia, Historical Society of Western Virginia, Roanoke Children’s Theatre, Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, Opera Roanoke, Jefferson Center and the Virginia Museum of Transportation.
The Arts Council of the Blue Ridge, Local Colors, Grandin Theatre Foundation, Salem Museum and the Southwest Virginia Ballet each will receive $50,000 and $25,000 grants go to Apple Ridge Farm, Blue Ridge PBS, Harrison Museum of African American Culture and Studio Roanoke. There were 26 applicants for grants.
There was some surprise that Mill Mountain Theatre was not among those receiving grants. The theater, which is in the midst or reorganization applied for a grant, but it was turned down. According to a source, the reason cited was "viability." There has been some skepticism whether MMT could come back from closing in 2009 with a load of debt. That debt has been erased and the theater announced a new artistic director today.
On the other end, there was also surprise at the $25,000 for edge new live theater Studio Roanoke and for the whopping $100,000 for Roanoke Children's Theatre, which was started by Pat Wilhelms shortly after she was fired by MMT. Lots of drama and competition here.