As National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Rocco Landesman has noted, “Art works everywhere,” which is why the NEA’s Challenge America Fast-Track (CAFT) program supports projects from primarily small and mid-sized arts organizations that extend the reach of the arts to underserved audiences—those whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability. Creede Repertory Theatre was selected to receive one of the 162 grants of $10,000 awarded to organizations in 46 states, plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

This NEA award will support Creede Repertory Theatre’s 2012 Young Audience Outreach Tour, which will bring much-needed performing arts experiences to tens of thousands of children in rural and underserved schools throughout Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Oklahoma.

“Taken together, these Challenge America Fast-Track grants provide an extraordinary sampling of the work that arts organizations do to reach underserved communities,” said Chairman Landesman. “With these grants, we are helping to ensure that art works for all Americans.”

Creede Repertory Theatre’s Education Director, Renee Stynchula shared, “In 2011, the Challenge America award helped us reach over 19,000 children!  NEA support not only helps us serve children in rural and underserved areas, it is also a “stamp of excellence” which helps us leverage more funds from other sources.”

The program is called Fast-Track because of its expedited review timeline. Creede Repertory Theatre was notified approximately six months after applying. Also, with 375 eligible applications submitted from across the country, there was significant competition for funding for these grants. Creede Repertory Theatre’s grant award is evidence of the artistic excellence and artistic merit of the Young Audience Outreach Tour.

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