NEA funds to benefit folk festival, arts groups

Posted June 29, 2009, at 6:16 p.m.

The American Folk Festival and Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance each received $50,000 in funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe announced Monday.

The money was part of the NEA’s third round of grants for Fiscal Year 2009 and these include some funds made available through the federal economic stimulus package.

The stimulus funding may only be used for preserving jobs threatened by the recent economic downturn, according to a similar announcement from the NEA.

The folk festival, which takes place each summer on the Bangor waterfront, and the Old Town-based basketmakers alliance were two of six organizations to receive NEA funding that totaled $300,000 for the state.

“That’s huge,” said Heather McCarthy, executive director of the American Folk Festival. “Obviously it’s been a difficult fundraising year, especially with some of the corporations and foundations that are under pressure, and I think this particular grant program will be a big boost toward helping to bridge the gap.”

The folk festival is about $75,000 behind in its fundraising levels from last year at this time, McCarthy added.

Cultural Resources Inc. of Rockport will receive $25,000. Other $25,000 recipient organizations include the Portland Concert Association, the Portland Maine Symphony Orchestra and the Alice James Poetry Cooperative in Farmington.

The basketry alliance received $30,000 in NEA funding in April, at which time Cultural Resources also received $20,000. The NEA announced in December the folk festival had been awarded $30,000.

“The funds from the National Endowment for the Arts will enhance Maine’s cultural and artistic landscape and benefit the lives of its citizens,” Snowe and Collins said in a joint statement. “This funding will ensure that each organization can continue its contributions to Maine.”

The folk festival, which is free to attendees, will be held Aug. 28-30.

jbloch@bangordailynews.net

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