Arts Huntsville hosted artists and community members on January 15, 2020 for the 8th annual “State of the Arts.” The evening celebrated the 15 local arts organizations receiving funding through the 2020 Huntsville Arts & Cultural grant program supported by the City of Huntsville.
Attendees were welcomed by Arts Huntsville Executive Director Allison Dillon-Jauken, who recapped the arts community’s 2019 programming. Dillon-Jauken added, “As Huntsville looks to add 25,000 new jobs by 2023, our vibrant arts scene adds to the city’s national profile and is one of components that helps Huntsville recruit both tourists and workforce.”

Arts Huntsville welcomed Codie Gopher, Founder of Huntsville Hip Hop Tech and Co-Founder of Slow Motion Soundz, as the evening’s guest speaker. Gopher also stressed the critical role the arts play across the community and noted that Huntsville enables a duality for area residents: engineers and rocket scientists work on Redstone Arsenal by day, and work as artists and musicians by night. Genomic researchers work at HudsonAlpha by day and perform with local theatres and bands by night. Gopher, an Army veteran and Redstone Arsenal employee, co-founded his record label over 20 years ago. “In Huntsville, though, I’m not an anomaly,” Gopher said. “Here’s Danny Davis, who makes these great guitars at Tangled String Studios, but before that he was an engineer at NASA working on spacecraft. We’re surrounded by an amazing creative duality in Huntsville.”

Gopher closed his remarks by challenging those gathered to refocus on arts education in area schools. “I’m not here tonight to talk about what I’ve done or what my team has done – we need to talk about what we, as a community, need to do moving forward. We know we have 25,000 jobs to fill, and we know we have education challenges to fix along the way. From me to you, I believe arts education is the glue that brings it together. I grew up in a period when we had band and art programs in our schools, and now that seems like pre-historic times. For Huntsville to be the city that it is and not to have world-class arts program in our public schools – we are doing a disservice to our kids.” Gopher added that the arts help better engage youth and “with music and the arts we are able to meet kids where they are.”

The evening concluded with the presentation of the 2020 Huntsville Arts & Cultural grant awards, and Huntsville City Councilmember Jennie Robinson congratulated the 2020 grantees and thanked the arts community for their contributions to the quality of life across the community. In 2020, the City of Huntsville increased the Arts & Cultural grant fund, providing $170,000 to be awarded through Arts Huntsville’s competitive grant process. Based on national best practices, the grant program is open to Huntsville-based arts and cultural nonprofit organizations, and grants are assessed by arts-informed residents from each of the City’s five Council Districts. The 2020 grant panelists included: William T. Robinson, District 1; Ellie Sternberg Lastinger, District 2; Patsy Ducote, District 3; Cameron Sumner, District 4; and Deqn Sue, District 5.

The following 15 local nonprofit organizations received 2020 Huntsville Arts & Cultural Grant Awards:

Organization NameAwardGrant Project
Alabama Youth Ballet$ 11,186.00

Educational Programs /Performances for Underserved
Ars Nova, Inc.$ 11,689.00

Cultural Kaleidoscope
Broadway Theatre League$ 11,943.00

Educational Outreach Program
Community Ballet Assoc$ 12,044.00

Performance Season
Dance All Productions, Inc$ 7,590.00

Girls Like Us
Fantasy Playhouse$ 12,044.00

2019-20 Season and Educational Programming
Huntsville Chamber Music Guild$ 11,436

Celebrity Concert Series
Huntsville Community Chorus$ 11,943

2019-20 Season Support
Huntsville Community Drumline$ 15,000.00

All Area Youth Drumline
Huntsville Literary Assoc.$ 7,539.00

Shakespeare/Young Writers Contest
Huntsville Youth Orchestra$ 11,740.00

Music From & Inspired by Ancient Civilizations
Independent Musical Productions$ 11,158.00

2019-20 Season
Merrimack Hall$ 11,715.00

Dream Big Showcase
Theatre Huntsville$ 11,563.00

2 Performances
Twickenham Fest$ 11,410.00

Guest Artists

Arts Huntsville congratulates the grantees and looks forward to sharing their upcoming programming and events. For up-to-date information on the local arts and entertainment scene, visit www.artshuntsville.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @artshuntsville.