Thank goodness for grants. Though this may apply to Ulysses, Cary, my old friend Mr. Miller and W.T.’s five-and-dime store, here I speak about the non repayable funds disbursed by one party, often a government department, corporation, foundation or trust, to a recipient, often a nonprofit entity, educational institution, business or an individual.
For example, the frequently despised political target, the National Endowment for the Arts, was established by the U.S. Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. This “villainous” NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, diversity and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities, much to the chagrin of some who object to whatever they feel is objectionable. The NEA partners with state arts agencies, local leaders and other federal agencies, as well as the philanthropic sector. This too, is often lambasted by those who hate government and consider any investment to be waste. Yet how are visionary types able to work without a little something, something to feed them? Ergo, the NEA can prevent the use of the objectionable term, which creators may despise: Starving artists.
As no flower blossoms without sun and water, without grants, blooming art projects would wither and die, never growing. Subsequently, beauty (and ugly truths) would neither flourish nor evolve. The Arts would devolve and we would be left with the lowest common denominator — Paris Hilton, Honey Boo Boo, Ishtar, LeRoy Neiman, Keanu Reeves, Yoko Ono and Britney Spears. It would be a world in which Shakespeare starves and L. Ron Hubbard rules. Dumb and dumber, if you will.
With this in mind, two extremely talented local performers will do their respective things at The Light Box at Goldman Warehouse, both commissioned and presented by Miami Light Project, and supported in parts by the NEA, NALAC Diverse Arts Spaces and the Map Fund, in turn associated with the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Though you may cringe during NPR, WLRN and PBS fund raising drives, you would be better off donating.
Rudi Goblen’s PET will premier at 8 p.m. on May 10 and again at 8 on Saturday May 11. PET is set in a support group for those with broken hearts. Expect dance moves revealing an array of expressions of love and angst. It was created with the support of the Miami- Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council. Goblen has been doing solo shows for nearly a decade and has worked with a number of beloved, local talent like Octavio Campos, Rosie Herrera and Teo Castellanos, with whom he has often danced and acted. Castellanos is the creator of the second piece, a free, work-inprogress reading, also at the Light Box at 3 on Saturday, May 11.
With its temporary title Third Trinity, Castellanos will delve into his own Puerto-Rican roots in a tale of brothers confronting pride, power and drugs at the end of the ’80s, surely surrounded by Castellanos’ examination of faith, belief, music, dance and performance. Steady keeping it raw and profound, this is a collaboration with he who Castellanos has mentored, oft-honored Tarell McCraney. Expect power and humor.
Experimentation drives progress in every endeavor. Art is no different. Without the innovative efforts of inventive brains like Goblen and Castellanos, art will stand alongside reality TV, profitable but proffering garbage. With some charitable assistance, it probes the depth of our existence. Thank goodness for grants.
Carl Rachelson is a teacher at Palmer Trinity School and a regular contributor to the Pinecrest Tribune. He may be contacted by addressing email to firstname.lastname@example.org.