University will use NEA grant for nursing home’s arts project

The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded a $10,000 grant to Western Carolina University to support a visual arts project in the community.

The cultural arts program will be taught by Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians artists.

Thanks to the funding, Tsali Care Center in Cherokee will hold a cultural arts program with art classes taught by Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians artists. The residents of the care facility are by-and-large also tribal members.

The project will be led by Turner Goins, WCU’s Ambassador Jeanette Hyde Distinguished Professor of Gerontological Social Work in the College of Health and Human Sciences and a nationally known specialist in American Indian aging issues.

“This grant was sought in response to Tsali Care Center’s interest in having more culturally focused activities for its residents,” said Goins. “It is exciting to be able to partner with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in this way.”

The NEA, an independent federal agency established by Congress in 1965, is dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts, both new and established; bringing the arts to all Americans; and providing leadership in arts education. Criteria for grant selection includes projects that have strong public engagement, encourage lifelong learning in the arts and strengthen the community through the arts.

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support grants throughout the entire country that connect people through shared experiences and artistic expression,” said Mary Anne Carter, chair of the NEA arts endowment. “These projects provide access to the arts for people of all abilities and backgrounds in both urban centers and rural communities.”

The grant is through NEA’s Challenge America program, which primarily supports small and mid-sized organizations for projects that extend the reach of the arts to populations that have limited access to the arts due to geography, ethnicity, economics or disability.