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DDCF Awards $1.3M in Grants to Partnerships that Build Demand for the Arts Skip to main content

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DDCF Awards $1.3M in Grants to Partnerships that Build Demand for the Arts

Fourteen Teams of Artists and Arts Organizations Receive Support to Explore Strategies That Will Reach New Audiences and Increase Demand for Jazz, Dance and Theater

NEW YORK, Feb. 13, 2020 – The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) announced today the 14 teams of performing artists and arts organizations selected to receive approximately $1.3 million total in grants through the final round of funding from the foundation’s Building Demand for the Arts program.

The Building Demand for the Arts program supports organizations and artists in joint efforts to ignite interest and engagement in jazz, theater and/or contemporary dance from their communities. This program is predicated on the beliefs that artists are key connectors to communities, and that artists and organizations can work together in imaginative new ways to attract and engage audiences. These grants also promote deeper partnerships, longer relationships, and new kinds of conversation and cooperation between organizations and artists.

“We are thrilled to support these exciting collaborations between artists and organizations that will deepen their relationships with one another and with a broader swath of communities around the country,” said Maurine Knighton, program director for the Arts. “We look forward to seeing the impact of their work together to engage new and existing audiences in jazz, theater and dance across cultures and geographies.”

The recipients of the 2020 Building Demand for the Arts program grants are:

  • 651 Arts in partnership with theater artist and poet Najee Omar, with a grant of $62,376 to connect and discover intersections of African Diasporic audiences, artists and spaces. Events will include live performances in poetry, theatrical installations, music, and dance with Black artists and community members in Brooklyn, NY.
  • Actors Theatre of Louisville in partnership with playwright Idris Goodwin, with a grant of $90,735 to commission a play focusing on Cleveland’s Muhammad Ali Summit, where a collection of some of the top Black athletes in the country met with—and eventually held a news conference in support of—world heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali about his refusal to be drafted into the U.S. Army in 1967.
  • ArtsEmerson in partnership with composer and musician Toshi Reagon, with a grant of $100,000 to work with a community of artists, activists and organizers who are all focused on the belief systems and interrelated social issues that impact climate justice in Boston.
  • Casita Maria in partnership with Grammy Award-winning Latin Jazz artist Arturo O’Farrill to create BronX BandA, with a grant of $100,000 to bring Latin Jazz to the streets of the Hunts Point/Longwood community through pop-up performances in nontraditional venues, weaving musical performances into the fabric of daily life.
  • Childsplay, Inc. in partnership with theater artist and sculptor Zarco Guerrero, with a grant of $94,365 to recreate the magic of the El Puente program as “El Zócalo,” positioning Childsplay’s new performance space at the Herberger Theater Center as a place of cultural activity and a welcoming space for creative interaction that invites all families to participate in theater.
  • Cornerstone Theater Company in partnership with playwright Larissa FastHorse, with a grant of $100,000 to synthesize the practices of conventional theater, contemporary engagement and Indigenous artmaking in experiences that are immersive for the community and that critique and dismantle power structures while giving priority to Indigenous voices.
  • CounterPulse in partnership with interdisciplinary artist Tiare Ribeaux, with a grant of $82,900 to build demand for contemporary dance and performance by cross-pollinating the performing arts and creative tech ecologies in San Francisco.
  • Eastside Arts Alliance in partnership with theater artist Amara Tabor-Smith, with a grant of $97,300 to create art that can be utilized to resist inequality and racism in inner neighborhoods of East Oakland, drawing from “Nguzo Saba,” the seven principles of Kwanzaa, and focusing on the concepts of interdependence, decentralization and selfdetermination as a way to achieve stability and wellbeing.
  • Ellis Marsalis Center for Music in partnership with saxophonist Derek Douget, with a grant of $100,000 to bring modern jazz music to the 9th Ward, as well as the greater New Orleans metropolitan area.
  • InterAct Theatre Company in partnership with playwright and director Rick Shiomi, with a grant of $100,000 to conduct extensive outreach and engagement activities with Asian and Asian American communities and community organizations in the Philadelphia region in advance of and during a festival.
  • Mixed Blood Theatre Company in partnership with theater director Mark Valdez, with a grant of $100,000 to stretch the limits of artmaking as a tool for positive social change, building demand for theater within the policy arena and civic sector.
  • Studio Theatre Inc in partnership with playwright and director Psalmayene 24, with a grant of $82,500 to produce collaborative creative projects and engagement activities with African-American millennials and Gen Zers in Washington, DC.
  • Su Teatro in partnership with playwright/director Anthony J. Garcia and musician/composer Daniel Valdez, with a grant of $100,000 to build demand for theater via a regional, community-based interactive system dedicated to discovering, exploring, and disseminating Chicano and Mexican stories in Colorado.
  • Trinity Repertory Company in partnership with director and playwright Laurie Woolery, with a grant of $67,818 to enhance bilingual programming and develop theater work based on oral histories of the Latinx people of Rhode Island.

The Building Demand for the Arts program launched in 2013 as part of a larger, ten-year special initiative through which DDCF earmarked $50 million for the performing arts above its existing funding. With this final cohort of grantees, the program will have awarded a combined total of more than $6.6 million to 90 teams of artists and organizations.

About the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
The mission of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) is to improve the quality of people's lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research and child well-being, and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke's properties. The Arts Program of DDCF focuses its support on contemporary dance, jazz and theater artists, and the organizations that nurture, present and produce them. For more information, please visit

Kristin Roth-Schrefer
Communications Director
Doris Duke Charitable Foundation

Delaney Dryfoos
Communications Assistant
Doris Duke Charitable Foundation