The Rimrock Opera Company and Writer's Voice are among 13 arts organizations from across Montana that have been awarded American Recovery and Reinvestment in the Arts funding from the Montana Arts Council. The money is provided through the National Endowment for the Arts' federal economic stimulus funding.
Writer's Voice, based in the YMCA in Billings, will receive $22,500 to partially restore the director's position and 26 contracted artists for its TumbleWords and Poets Across the Prairie touring literature programs. This funding will also indirectly enhance the programs of other partnering groups, including area museums, schools and libraries.
Writer's Voice is dedicated to assisting emerging writers, supporting accomplished writers and providing literary arts programs that enrich all sectors of the community. It is the only full-time literary organization in Eastern Montana and reaches an audience of all ages in 17 surrounding counties. It also presents the High Plains BookFest.
Writer's Voice also impacts thousands of students in rural and Native American schools in south central Montana and provides opportunities for them to hear and learn from writers and artists.
Rimrock Opera in Billings will receive $24,000 to restore funding for the position of general director, its only full-time paid employee. This funding will allow the company to redirect resources to maintain programming, educational outreach and to remain in Yellowstone County.
In addition to its fully staged opera performances, Rimrock Opera also does mini-opera school tours, visiting 30-50 schools annually and reaching 49,000 students across Montana. They also produce the Summer One-Act Festival which provides more performing opportunities for Montana singers and allows them to work alongside professional operatic singers.
The Custer County Art and Heritage Center in Miles City will receive $25,000 to help restore close to half of the salaries for both the education director and the administrative assistant. This funding will impact the center's ability to continue a high-level of programming, including their assistance in after-school workshops, and programs in care facilities and group homes.
The center provides art exhibits and programming for the nine-county area of southeastern Montana bordered by the Dakotas and Wyoming. It is the only center of its kind in the area and has built a strong reputation for its extensive outreach to both residents and visitors.
The Montana Arts Council's ARRA grant program totals $241,000. These one-year grants put Montanans to work in the arts.