Deep Center Awarded and Recognized as a Southern Cultural Treasure by South Arts

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Deep Center is proud to be a recipient and a member of the inaugural cohort of South Arts, Southern Cultural Treasures: a four-year, $6,000,000 initiative supporting arts and cultural organizations led by and serving Black, Indigenous and people. of color (BIPOC) across the Southeast.

“It is an honor to be part of the Southern Cultural Treasures initiative,” said Coco Papy, Director of Public Policy and Communications. “The support and community provided by this program will continue to strengthen the cultural affirmation and healing work that our incredible staff do day in and day out with youth and adults here in Savannah.”

This initial cohort is comprised of 17 organizations that represent decades of BIPOC arts and community-focused stewardship in the nine-state region that includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi , North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

“South Arts is honored to recognize and support these 17 organizations as cultural treasures of the South,” said Susie Surkamer, President and CEO of South Arts. “These groups are pushing the boundaries of creative expression, anchoring their local communities, and advancing the arts in our nine-state region. Our hope is that this initiative, with the help of these organizations, will foster a more equitable artistic community throughout the Southeast region.

South Arts first announced the Southern Cultural Treasures program in fall 2021. It complements the Ford Foundation’s America’s Cultural Treasures initiative, which seeks to recognize and honor the diversity of artistic expression and culture. excellence in America and to provide essential funding to organizations that have made a significant impact on the American cultural landscape.

“We are delighted to partner with South Arts and honor these seventeen cultural institutions and their contributions to the regional landscape,” said Lane Harwell, Creativity and Free Expression Program Manager at the Ford Foundation.

“We hope this investment will inspire more funders and patrons to support the diversity of organizations and artistic expressions in the American South.”

Organizations in the nine-state area were given the opportunity to submit a letter of intent. After review, those who best matched the objectives of the program were asked to complete a full application which went through two national reviews before being interviewed by South Arts management. These 17 outstanding nonprofit organizations were chosen for their vital impact on their communities and their contribution to defining and preserving the uniqueness of the region’s arts ecosystem.

The 17 Cultural Treasures of the South are: Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, Inc. (Birmingham, AL); Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator (Miami, FL); Teatro Avante (Miami, Florida); Art2Action Inc. (Tampa, FL); Deep Center, Inc. (Savannah, Georgia); Otis Redding Foundation (Macon, Georgia); True Colors Theater Company (Atlanta, GA); Balletthnic Dance Company Inc. (East Point, Georgia); Asia Institute, Inc. (Louisville, KY); Junebug Productions, Inc. (New Orleans, LA); Grace Efforts, Inc. (New Orleans, LA); Mississippi Center for Cultural Production (Utica, MS); BB King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center (Indianola, MS); JazzArts Charlotte (Charlotte, North Carolina); Music Color, Inc. (Mount Pleasant, SC); Catawba Indian Nation (Rock Hill, SC); and Collage Dance Collective (Memphis, TN).

“These organizations are a vibrant representation not only of their region and their communities, but also of the burgeoning desire to grow and serve the cultural landscape of the South,” said Joy Young, Ph.D. Vice President of Programs at South Arts.

The 17 Cultural Treasures of the South were chosen after completing a vigorous application and interview process. Other finalists include: Alabama Blues Project, Huntsville Community Drumline, Spady Cultural Heritage Museum, Inc., Westcoast Black Theater Troupe of Florida, Inc., New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, Inc., Walltown Children’s Theatre, Blues City Cultural Center and Hattiloo Theater .

The program is scheduled to run through March 2025 and provide each organization with up to $300,000 in general operating grants over three years, an additional project grant of up to $7,500, personalized advisory services, networking, creating cohorts and sharing knowledge.

South Arts’ Southern Cultural Treasures is supported by the Ford Foundation, with additional support from the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, Infusion Fund, a partnership between the City of Charlotte, Foundation For The Carolinas and generous donors. to support the arts and culture sector, and the Zeist Foundation.

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