December 1, 2012. The National Endowment for the Arts announced last week that 31 arts organizations in Minnesota, including Theater Latté Da, will receive a total of $877,500 as part of the NEA's Art Works grants.
Theater Latté Da will use their $10,000 grant to support the development of Bessie's Birthday, a new musical by composer Jeff Tang and lyricist/librettist Katie Baldwin Eng. Directed by Peter Rothstein, the piece tells the story of a family gathering to celebrate the 30th birthday of a daughter with a mental disability.
Theater Latté Da patrons may recognize Bessie's Birthday as part of the triptych of new musicals Passage of Dreams, which premiered in 2009 at the Southern Theater. Theater Latté Da will work with Tang and Baldwin Eng again to expand Bessie's Birthday into a full-length, stand alone musical.
The NEA will award 832 grants totaling $23.3 million through its Art Works funding category. Not-for-profit arts organizations in 47 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico will receive funding. The supported projects span 13 artistic disciplines and fields and focus primarily on the creation of work and presentation of both new and existing works for the benefit of American audiences.
"Through a rigorous peer-review panel process, the NEA ensures that projects recommended for funding are among the most creative, the most effective, and will make a real impact," said NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman. "I am proud to announce these 832 Art Works grants and 40 Creative Writing Fellowships and I look forward to seeing the projects come to fruition for the benefit of both the grantees and their communities across the country."