Proud Mary Theatre Company Awarded Chapman Cultural Center Grant

Sandy Staggs, Artistic Director, sizes up a grant check from Chapman Cultural Center

Spartanburg’s Proud Mary Theatre Company and 19 other arts, science, and humanities organizations and seven local artists were officially awarded grants totaling $621,200 by Chapman Cultural Center, the leading local arts agency in Spartanburg County, at a public ceremony on June 12.

Proud Mary Theatre Company, South Carolina’s first and only theatre group devoted exclusively to LGBTQ+ stories and voices, won the grant of $1,100 last October for the group’s inaugural production of “I Am My Own Wife,” but the ceremony was the official public recognition.

The production of “I Am My Own Wife,” the Pulitzer and Tony-winning one-person show by Doug Wright, swept the South Carolina Community Theatre Festival last November (Best Play, Best Actor for Dave LaPage, Best Director for Robert Fuson, and Best Scenic Design and Best Sound Design for Sandy Staggs).

And in March, the company brought home the trophies for Best Play, Best Actor and Best Director at the Southeastern Theatre Conference in Mobile, Alabama.

“This project was such a special and unique journey,” said Proud Mary Theatre Founder and Artistic Director Sandy Staggs. “We truly would not have been able to present this compelling work about Germany’s Trans heroine Charlotte von Mahlsdorf without this generous grant from Chapman Cultural Center.”

Community Grants, are awarded quarterly to nonprofits and individual artists who reside in Spartanburg County. This year Chapman Cultural Center has awarded $32, 249 to nonprofits and individual artists through this grant program. The grants are funded in part by the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John and Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund of the Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina.

Melissa Earley, Community Impact and Outreach Director for Chapman Cultural Center, added: “Our community grants can be used for a specific project, continuing education or equipment upgrades. Community grants, along with other grant opportunities, ensure a diverse portfolio of strong, culturally-focused organizations which contribute to our creative ecology.”

The 2017-2018 Community Grantees also include Anna Elliott for “Untitled Reconstruction Project” ; Desiree Schmidt and Felicia Forte, Alla Prima Portrait Workshop; Kelsey Leahy – Oboe Rockstar; Ian Russell – Developing Voice Acting in Spartanburg; Robyn Hussa Farrell – CONNECT Videos to Empower Teens About Pregnancy Prevention; Timothy Farrell – Spartanburg Historical Landmarks Documentary Series; Spartanburg Juneteenth Festival, Inc. – Spartanburg Juneteenth Festival; Hub City Empty Bowls – The Hub City Empty Bowls Project; Converse College – Tri-State Sculpture Conference; Charles Lea Center – Artist Performance at Road Rally Fundraiser; Spartanburg Community College – Ascend Magazine; Spartanburg Earth Day Festival – Spartanburg Earth Day Festival art contests; Spartanburg Repertory Opera – Increasing Educational Outreach to Make Opera Accessible for Spartanburg Youth; Speaking Down Barriers – Days of Transformation; Treefalls – Treefalls Presents NYC-based Pianist Vicky Chow;  and Woodland Heights Elementary School – Artsploration.

“As the local arts agency of Spartanburg County, part of our mission is to further the significance of arts, humanities, and sciences in the life of our community and all of its citizens,” said Jennifer Evins, President and CEO of Chapman Cultural Center.

“One of the most impactful ways to do this is to fund critical operational needs of anchor organziations and help other nonprofits include the arts in their programs and provide local artists with funding for professional development.  It is an exciting time in Spartanburg and having a strong and vibrant cultural sector helps us maximize on our cultural assets and creative people. ”

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