• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Woodford Theatre receives $10,000 grant for Girl Project

The National Endowment for the Arts awarded a $10,000 Art Works grant to Woodford Theatre’s arts-meets-activism initiative, The Girl Project.

Founded in 2012 by Ellie Clark and Vanessa Becker Weig, The Girl Project empowers teenage girls to challenge the misrepresentation of women and girls in contemporary media culture through the performing arts, according to a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) press release announcing more than $80 million in grants for fiscal year 2018.

Woodford Theatre’s $10,000 grant award will provide more resources so The Girl Project can offer scholarships to a larger number of high school girls who may not otherwise participate, and also help The Girl Project: Next Generation, a mentoring program for middle school girls, according to Weig.

“This kind of recognition from the National Endowment for the Arts – it’s kind of the pinnacle of a grant that you can get because it does come with a certain amount of notoriety to it,” said Weig.

The NEA’s Art Works grant supports projects that focus on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence through public engagement, lifelong learning and by strengthening communities through the arts, its press release stated.

Girls across Central Kentucky are recruited to audition for The Girl Project, with guest artists leading participants in devised theatre, multimedia, dance and other performing arts workshops addressing media misrepresentation and sexism. Participants write and give performances based on their workshop experiences, the press release stated.

“We believe this program could benefit thousands of girls and women every year,” Trish Clark, executive/artistic director of Woodford Theatre stated in the press release. “Woodford Theatre makes every effort to bring positive change to our community and we appreciate the NEA’s trust in our programs.”

The Girl Project also hosts Voices HEaRd, an annual festival that reaches a larger audience – through the performing arts – about issues related to the misrepresentation of women and girls in media culture.

Girl Project alumni who participate in Voices HEaRd and others asking for help to start arts-meet-activism initiatives in their colleges create “a ripple effect” that excites Weig.

This momentum of positive change tells her they’re being sent “into the world with more self-confidence. And we’re really working toward opening perspective for the girls and really not just about gender equality, but really just equality – period,” she said.

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