One of 832 Art Works grants totaling $23.3 million in funding nationwide

PITTSBURGH, PA, Dec. 6 2012 — City of Asylum/Pittsburgh is one of 832 non-profit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Art Works grant, announced by National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Rocco Landesman on November 27.

The $23,000 grant was given in the Art Works category, to support City of Asylum/Pittsburgh’s annual Jazz Poetry concert, which brings together American jazz ensembles and international poets, sometimes censored in their home countries, to perform collaboratively. The 2013 concert will take place September 7, 2013, on Sampsonia Way on Pittsburgh’s Northside.

“I’m proud to announce these 832 grants to the American public including City of Asylum/Pittsburgh,” said Chairman Landesman. “These projects offer extraordinary examples of creativity in our country, including the creation of new work, innovative ways of engaging audiences, and exemplary education programs.”

“We’re thrilled to receive this grant for our Jazz-Poetry concert, which celebrates creative expression and freedom,” stated Henry Reese, president of City of Asylum/Pittsburgh. “Each year we invite jazz musicians and international poets—with an emphasis on poets censored in their home countries— to perform collaboratively and individually at our September concert. This is the largest grant we’ve received from the NEA, and it represents a significant opportunity for us to foster new artistic collaborations among world-class performers, offering a one-of-a-kind evening of entertainment.”

City of Asylum/Pittsburgh held its inaugural Jazz-Poetry concert in 2005; past participants have included such poets and writers as Toi Derricotte, Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka, Miloš Djurdjević (Croatia), Khet Mar (Burma), Irakli Kakabadze (Georgia), Meena Kandasamy (India), Soheil Najm (Iraq), Román Antopolsky (Argentina), Maryam Ala Amjadi (Iran), Lynn Emanuel, Terrance Hayes, Cvetka Lipuš (Slovenia), Nikola Madzirov (Macedonia), Rogelio Saunders (Cuba), Gerald Stern, Patricia Jabbeh Wesley (Liberia), G. Ayurzana (Mongolia), Horacio Castellanos Moya (El Salvador), Kei Miller (Jamaica), Rita Mockus (Lithuania), Kavery Nambisian (India), and Huang Xiang (China).

Jazz musician Oliver Lake is music director for the concert, and performs at it annually, with featured guests such as Geri Allen, Tim Bedner, Dwayne Dolphin, Roger Humphries, Mimi Jong, Elise Letourneau, Meshell Ndegocello, Dave Pellow, Bruce Williams, and the World Saxophone Quartet. Information and clips from previous concerts may be found online at www.cityofasylumpittsburgh.org.

In March 2012, the NEA received 1,509 eligible applications for Art Works requesting more than $74 million in funding. The 832 recommended NEA grants total $22.3 million, span 13 artistic disciplines and fields, and focus primarily on the creation of work and presentation of both new and existing works for the benefit of American audiences. Applications were reviewed by panels of outside experts convened by NEA staff and each project was judged on its artistic excellence and artistic merit.

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 fosters freedom of expression, social justice and community development through writer residencies, publications, and literary programs. Rooted in its Northside Pittsburgh community, City of Asylum’s programs and activities impact people in Pittsburgh, throughout the US, and around the world. COA/P publishes Sampsonia Way magazine: the online journal of free speech, it carries gathers and serves a global community online.

Visit us at

Visit Sampsonia Way – the online journal for literature, free speech, and social justice published by City of Asylum / Pittsburgh: www.sampsoniaway.org






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