Yaa Samar! Dance Theatre Awarded COVID-19 Relief Funding From National Endowment for the Arts & Dance/NYC

Yaa Samar! Dance Theatre Awarded COVID-19 Relief Funding From National Endowment for the Arts & Dance/NYC

Published on July 8, 2020
Photo © Yaa Samar! Dance Theatre

National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Mary Anne Carter has approved more than $84 million in grants as part of the Arts Endowment’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2020. Included in this announcement is an Art Works award of $15,000 to Yaa Samar! Dance Theatre for a new, interactive film work to be launched online in fall 2020, in response to COVID-19; as well as associated costs with the postponement/rescheduling of live 2020 programs. This is one of 1,015 grants nationwide that the agency has approved in this category.

Photo © Yaa Samar! Dance Theatre 

“These awards demonstrate the resilience of the arts in America, showcasing not only the creativity of their arts projects but the organizations’ agility in the face of a national health crisis,” said Mary Anne Carter, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. “We celebrate organizations like Yaa Samar! Dance Theatre for providing opportunities for learning and engagement through the arts in these times.”

For more information on this National Endowment for the Arts grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news. 

In addition, YSDT has received COVID-19 relief funding from the Dance/NYC Coronavirus Dance Relief Fund and NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund in The New York Community Trust to support general operating and project-specific expenses. These funds will allow the company to pivot to providing online services, and to ensure the resilience of the work once live programming resumes.

“In response to COVID-19, YSDT has shifted to online offerings in order to ensure the safety of our performers, staff, students, and audiences. Live programming in the US has been postponed until 2021, with events in Palestine tentatively scheduled to resume in fall 2020. We are currently developing a feature film featuring dancers from around the globe which will be available to our audiences online for free in the coming months.”

— Samar Haddad King, Artistic Director


Black lives matter artwork by Palestinian artist Malak Mattar.

With a hiatus in live programming, YSDT is also taking this opportunity to address the structural health and long-term goals of the organization through a strategic planning process, supported in part by the Mosaic Network & Fund in the New York Community Trust. This will include the development of a comprehensive anti-racist policy, in support of the company’s belief that art should be liberating, transformative, and accessible to all, and in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. 

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