One of 895 NEA Art Works Grants Funded Nationwide; Supports 2014 Jazz-Poetry Concert

PITTSBURGH, PA— Dec. 16, 2013: National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa announced this week that City of Asylum is one of 895 nonprofit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Art Works grant. City of Asylum is recommended for a $20,000 grant to support its annual Jazz-Poetry Concert, set to take place on September 6, 2014.

City of Asylum’s Jazz-Poetry Concert brings together musicians and poets from all over the world in a free, one-night-only collaborative performance. The acclaimed jazz saxophonist and composer, Oliver Lake, serves as music director for the event; past participants have included Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka, poets Yusef Komunyakaa, Toi Derricotte, and Joy Harjo, City of Asylum’s resident exiled writers Huang Xiang, Horacio Castellanos-Moya, Khet Mar, Israel Centeno, and Yaghoub Yadali, plus special guests such as the Flying Wallendas.

Acting Chairman Shigekawa said, “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support these exciting and diverse arts projects that will take place throughout the United States. Whether it is through a focus on education, engagement, or innovation, these projects all contribute to vibrant communities and memorable experiences for the public to engage with the arts.”

Henry Reese, co-founder and President of City of Asylum stated, “This generous support from the National Endowment for the Arts for the Jazz-Poetry Concert helps us to keep this very special event free and accessible to all.” He added, “The concert in September 2014 will help us kick off our tenth anniversary year, and will bring together some of the artists and poets from past concerts. There will also – as always – be some surprise guests.”

Art Works grants support the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence: public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and enhancing the livability of communities through the arts. The NEA received 1,528 eligible Art Works applications, requesting more than $75 million in funding. Of those applications, 895 are recommended for grants for a total of $ 23.4 million.

For a complete listing of projects recommended for Art Works grant support, please visit the NEA website at arts.gov.

About City of Asylum/Pittsburgh
Founded in 2004, City of Asylum/Pittsburgh is a model for arts-based community development, bringing writers, readers and neighbors together through global literature and cultural exchange. Located on Sampsonia Way in Pittsburgh’s Northside, City of Asylum/Pittsburgh has redeveloped 5 houses to serve both as homes for writers exiled under threat of persecution and as public artworks. It has also presented more than 250 authors and musicians from 42 countries in free readings and concerts on or near Sampsonia Way. SampsoniaWay.org, its online journal of free speech, literature, and justice publication serves as a virtual home for persecuted writers and serves a growing global audience online. City of Asylum/Pittsburgh connects and impacts people on our street, in our city, and around the world.






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