LA GRANDE — A pair of local organizations were among 40 recipients of the Oregon Arts Commission’s fiscal year 2021 Arts Build Communities grant program.

Fishtrap Inc., Enterprise, received a $5,270 grant, and the Grande Ronde Symphony Association, La Grande, received a grant of $3,834.

The commission in a recent press release announced the program award a total of $180,000.

"The Arts Build Communities program targets broad geographic impact and arts access for underserved audiences in Oregon," according to the press release.

The award to Fishtrap supports The Big Read, a community-wide shared reading experience. The 2021 selection is "In the Heart of the Sea" by Nathan Philbrick. The funds will cover promotional costs, screening fees, speaker honoraria, supplies and to purchase books to be made available free to community organizations.

The grant to the Grande Ronde Symphony Association supports SOAR — String and Orchestral Arts Revitalization — an after school string instruction program with the La Grande School District. The funds will

help with supplementing four instructor consultants serving more than 60 students in grades three through eight.

Arts Commission Vice Chair Jenny Green led the review panel for the grants.

"Local citizens employ creative thinking and collective response to identify a local need," she said in the press release, "and provide an arts-based solution."

Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton received a grant of $3,863 to increase American Indian cultural representation on campus through art, books, media and programming featuring contemporary American Indian artists. The funds will help the college purchase artworks and develop programming with a focus on art as a means of cultural awareness and representation.

The grants also spark and leverage other investments and resources, according to the Oregon Arts Commission, serving as a catalyst for greater economic and civic impact, said Green.

In recent years, Arts Build Communities projects attracted more than $600,000 in additional investment, much of it representing salaries paid to artists and others as well as products and services purchased in the funded communities.

Arts Build Communities grants are made possible through a funding partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.

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