Folk festival receives arts grant for $30,000

Posted Dec. 31, 2009, at 7:38 p.m.

WASHINGTON — The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded a $30,000 Access to Artistic Excellence grant to the American Folk Festival in Bangor.

The federal funding will help support artists’ fees, travel costs and production expenses for participants in the 2010 festival held for three days each August along the banks of the Penobscot River in Bangor.

“The American Folk Festival in Bangor has celebrated the cultural heritage of our great state of Maine, helping to promote excellence in the arts, boost local tourism and inspire families, friends and visitors, alike,” said U.S. Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins in a joint statement announcing the NEA grant. “We are delighted the NEA recognized the festival’s qualifications for this funding which will provide adequate resources to help support the performances and presentations of the talented artists that will participate in the event next year.”

The folk festival has operated at a substantial loss in all but one of the eight years it has been held, dating back to when it began as the National Folk Festival, and now is shouldering debt of around $400,000.

The Access to Artistic Excellence grant supports the creation and presentation of work in the disciplines of dance, design, folk and traditional arts, literature, media arts, museums, music, musical theater and visual arts. Projects include commissions, residencies, workshops, performances, exhibitions, publications, festivals and professional development programs.

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