Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe wins approval for $50,000 grant out of American Rescue Plan funding

National Endowment for the Arts notes that nation’s arts sector among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe artists perform in the 2021 production of Joyful! Joyful! Contributed photo by Sorcha Augustine

The Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) has won approval of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to receive an American Rescue Plan grant, the Troupe has announced.

“[T]hese grants are intended to help the arts and cultural sector recover from the pandemic,” a news release explains. The NEA recommendation calls for the WBTT to receive $50,000 over the next two years, which it will use for the salaries of its artistic team, the release adds.

Organizations approved for 2021 American Rescue Plan grants may use the funding to save jobs and to pay for operations and facilities, health and safety supplies, and marketing and promotional efforts “to encourage attendance and participation,” the release notes.

Altogether, the NEA will award grants totaling $57,750,000 to 567 arts organizations in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Washington, D.C., the release points out.

“Our nation’s arts sector has been among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson, chair of the NEA, said in the release. “The National Endowment for the Arts’ American Rescue Plan funding will help arts organizations, such as Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, rebuild and reopen,” Jackson added in the release. “The arts are crucial in helping America’s communities heal, unite, and inspire, as well as essential to our nation’s economic recovery.”

“As the pandemic continues to wreak havoc on our operations and, thus, revenues, we are incredibly grateful for the National Endowment for the Arts’ support,” WBTT Executive Director Julie Leach pointed out in the release. “We consider this grant to be an affirmation of our important work, which ensures greater diversity in professional theatre offerings, training and performance opportunities for rising artists of color, and education outreach programs for students and adults.”

The American Rescue Plan was signed into law in March 2021; the NEA was provided $135 million for the arts sector, the release explains.

For more information on the NEA’s American Rescue Plan grants, including the full list of arts organizations funded in this announcement, visit arts.gov/COVID-19/the-american-rescue-plan.

For more about WBTT or its upcoming season of shows, call 941-366-1505 or go to westcoastblacktheatre.org.