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Five local groups receive Black Belt funding

By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal

Five Lowndes County organizations were among those receiving grants from the Black Belt Arts Initiative on Saturday, May 21.

According to Felecia L. Jones, executive director of the Black Belt Community Foundation (BBCF), receiving grants at the Earl Goodwin Theatre at Wallace Community College-Selma were Edgewood Tutorial Plus Center, $1,800; Lowndes County Arts & Tourism Alliance, $3,000; Lowndes County Community Life Center, $3,300; Rural Enrichment Accessing Community Hands, $2,500; and Student Tutoring and Enrichment Program, $3,000.

Jones said the arts initiative came about from a combination of the BBCF, the Black Belt Action Commission and the Alabama State Council on the Arts.

She explained that the BBCF is based in Selma including 12 counties, each with a representative. She said the representative for Lowndes County is Frank M. Kummel.

“Our mission is to provide a stream of collective giving,” said Jones. She explained the BBCF collects resources from within and outside the region to make the region better.

“We are willing to do something for ourselves,” said Jones.

Jones said receiving grants were community based, not for profit organizations, which submitted applications by a March 1 deadline following a grant seekers workshop held in January.

She said those organizations had to demonstrate community support of their projects. “We need to know the communities come together to determine there is a need, but to also work collectively and together to meet the need,” she said.

According to the Black Belt Arts Initiative, the Lowndes County organizations received grants for the following:

Edgewood Tutorial Plus Center to provide a culturally enhanced program in which students are offered encouragement and promoted in their talents and determination.

The Lowndes County Arts & Tourism Alliance to help support the annual Okra Festival to expose rural residents to disciplines and participation in the arts while proving economic development opportunities.

The Lowndes County Community Life Center to aid a summer enrichment arts camp where students move to the beat through music, dance and art.

The Rural Enrichment Accessing Community Hands organization to support an eight-week summer camp for dance, arts and crafts and music.

The Student tutoring and Enrichment Program to encourage The Black Youth Art Project on visual arts and Black Belt exploration to expose young people to area artist and arts related projects.