APAP Awards Grants for cultural identity programs

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APAP Awards $1,416,000 in Grants for Building Bridges: Arts, Culture and Identity Program

Moraine Valley Community College in Southwest Suburban Chicago will receive funding to carry out projects that expand awareness of Muslim arts and culture.

Moraine Valley Community College has been awarded a grant from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) for the Building Bridges: Arts, Culture and Identity program. Moraine Valley, along with one consortium and three other individual organizations, will receive between $125,000-$335,000 each in funding to build knowledge and appreciation for arts and culture with roots in Muslim-majority societies.

This grant program is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) and the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art (DDFIA) and serves as a unique medium for both foundations to partner with APAP to support mission-critical projects that demonstrate the power of the arts to strengthen communities and increase intercultural understanding across America.

“Our project is titled ‘Mosaics: Muslim Voices in America.’ Our focus is to highlight the artistic and cultural diversity of Muslim artists living and working in the United States as a way to change the false perceptions many people have about Muslims,” said Tommy Hensel, managing director of the Fine and Performing Arts Center at Moraine Valley.

“The arts, particularly the performing arts, are a powerful tool for transformation. When you bring people together in a shared cultural experience, you begin to dissolve boundaries, and people have the chance to recognize our common humanity. The negative stereotypes the media and politicians have perpetuated about Muslims in America are false and damaging to everyone in our society. Our nation has always stood with pride in the fact we are a diverse culture—a melting pot. This project will help remind everyone we are all one, that human experience and artistic expression are universal, and we are all stronger when we treat each other with dignity and respect.”

Islamic Center of America Dearborn, Michigan. Photo courtesy of Ray Hanania

The projects will span from 2016-2019 and will work to deepen the relationships between diverse Muslim and non-Muslim communities.

“We are pleased with the innovative approaches and the range of communities that will benefit from this new round of awards. It shows there is a growing commitment towards using the arts as a strategy to lead positive change around the awareness and perceptions of Muslim identity in this country,” said Scott Stoner, vice president of programs and resources at APAP.

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“The projects are truly inspiring and will create opportunities for both campus and community audiences to participate in a more meaningful way with artists and their work.”

Building Bridges: Arts, Culture and Identity Individual Grant Awardees:

Fine & Performing Arts Center at Moraine Valley Community College, Palos Hills, IL

Mosaics will explore the breadth of American culture through the lens of Muslim artists living and practicing in the United States, with a focus on personal narrative. This project envisions a mosaic of stories to celebrate the diversity of Muslims in America.

Hancher Auditorium at The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA

Embracing Complexity: Contemporary Islamic Expressions will take a multidisciplinary approach to building understanding of contemporary Islamic cultures. Performing and visual artists will be in residence over the course of two years and work with partners both on and off campus through performances, classes, exhibits and discussions. The project will also explore the experiences of Muslims in Eastern Iowa through sharing of local stories.

Moss Arts Center at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

SALAAM: Exploring Muslim Cultures (Salaam means “Peace”) will engage communities in southwest Virginia with a diversity of Muslim cultures through an exploration of stories, images, sounds and perspectives. The Moss Arts Center at Virginia Tech joins a network of partners to integrate arts, dialogue, service-learning, academic inquiry and the production of new work.

Williams Center for the Arts at Lafayette College, Easton, PA

Recognizing the vibrant diversity of Muslim arts, cultures, and identities throughout the world and at home in the United States, Lafayette College and Williams Center for the Arts’ Performance Series will explore a variety of contemporary Muslim artistic expressions by hosting three semester-long festivals with extended interdisciplinary activities through Tapestries: Voices Within Contemporary Muslim Cultures.

Building Bridges: Arts, Culture and Identity Consortium Grant Awardee:

The Cedar Cultural Center with Augsburg College, Minneapolis, MN

Midnimo, Somali for “unity,” is a program launched in 2014 by The Cedar and Augsburg College that features Somali artists from Minnesota and around the world in residencies that increase understanding of Muslim cultures through Somali music. With five partners in three cities, this project is expanding Midnimo throughout Minnesota.

Department of Music Performance Series at Minnesota State University, Mankato, MN

Through a project led by The Cedar called Midnimo, Minnesota State University, Mankato Department of Music Performance Series is among a group of partners in three cities throughout Minnesota that are hosting residencies featuring Somali artists. In Mankato, these residencies build bridges between the campus, the city’s growing Somali community, and the larger population.

Paramount Center for the Arts with St. Cloud State University, Saint Cloud, MN

As part of a consortium led by The Cedar, Paramount Center for the Arts and St. Cloud State University will host residencies featuring Somali artists from Minnesota and around the world through Midnimo. This program will increase understanding of Muslim culture through Somali music. This is a timely and fitting project for our changing community.


About APAP

The Association of Performing Arts Presenters is the national service, advocacy and membership organization for presenters of the performing arts. APAP is dedicated to developing and supporting a robust performing arts industry and the professionals who work within it. APAP|NYC conference information APAPNYC.org, APAP membership information APAP365.org , Twitter @APAP365, Facebook facebook.com/APAPNYC.

About the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation

The mission of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) is to improve the quality of people’s lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research and child well-being, and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke’s properties. The Arts Program of DDCF focuses its support on contemporary dance, jazz and theatre artists, and the organizations that nurture, present and produce them. For more information, please visit www.ddcf.org.

About the Building Bridges Program

The Building Bridges Program is the grant-making arm of the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art (DDFIA), which is an extension of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF). Based in New York, the Building Bridges Program supports national efforts to advance relationships, increase understanding, and reduce bias between Muslim and non-Muslim communities. For more information, please visit www.ddcf.org/what-we-fund/building-bridges.

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Managing Writer at The Arab Daily News
RAY HANANIA — Columnist

Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, Middle East Monitor in London, the TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.

The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appeare in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.

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Visit this link to read Ray's column archive at the ArabNews,com ArabNews.com/taxonomy/term/10906
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