Arts nonprofits granted $3K prizes

Who says the arts are dying? For two West Valley organizations, they’re not.

Avondale’s Catitude Gallery and Studio, and the Litchfield Park-based West Valley Youth Orchestra were each awarded $3,000 grants thanks to the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

Nearly $2.4 million in grants were awarded statewide. This is familiar territory for both organizations, which are repeat winners.

“We’re very excited about that,” said Bonnie Lewis, executive director of Catitude Gallery and Studio. “For the second year we’ve received that grant.”

Catitude Gallery and Studio, which is closed until late September, displays a variety of artistic mediums, including paintings, pastels, woodcarvings and photography. The gallery also hosts workshops, for which a schedule will be announced soon.

The West Valley Youth Orchestra is an outlet for aspiring young musicians to improve their musical talents through practices and performances.

Both organizations have big plans for the money, which they hope to funnel back into their popular programming.

“We generally use it for our summer music camp that we have and to give scholarships and extra things for the kids,” said Mary Wilkening, board chairwoman for the West Valley Youth Orchestra. “They have to pay for the camp, but it helps us with our budgeting for the camp. So this will be for our next year’s camp, which will be next June.”

Catitude Gallery and Studio will use the grant to support its Follow Your Art Jr. program, a partnership between the gallery and the city of Goodyear that provides summer workshops on drawing, painting and 2-dimensional design portfolios.

“Our mission, as an agency of the state of Arizona, is to imagine an Arizona where everyone can participate in and experience the arts,” said Steve Wilcox, communications director for the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

The state and the National Endow-ment for the Arts provide the basic budget that allows the Arizona Commission on the Arts to offer these grants. This year’s awards were bolstered in part by an additional $1.5 million provided by the state for the commission. The additional funding stems from interest accumulated on the state’s Rainy-Day Fund, and it is part of its fiscal year 2018 budget.

“Really it is that access to quality arts experiences regardless of where you live in the state. That is our primary goal,” Wilcox said. “And, in particular with the community investment grant program, we’re looking to partner with Arizona nonprofit arts organizations and their efforts to deliver that quality arts programming in their communities.”

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