Savannah’s Deep Center Wins Competitive National Grant of $75,000


Atlanta – South Arts is pleased to announce that Savannah’s Deep Center will receive $75,000 through Creativity Connects: National Demonstration Projects, a special initiative undertaken by the US Regional Arts Organizations (RAOs) with generous support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This initiative, part of the National Endowment for the Arts’ 50th anniversary celebration, investigates the ways in which the arts can connect with other sectors, including education, healthcare, and social justice, that want and utilize creativity. The grantees, one selected from nominations from each of the six RAOs – Arts Midwest, Mid-America Arts Alliance, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, New England Foundation for the Arts, South Arts, and the Western States Arts Federation – promote collaboration, experimentation, and overall growth in their individual communities.

With these funds, Deep Center will partner with the Savannah Development and Renewal Authority, for the project Block By Block. Block By Block builds upon the programming Deep Center currently offers and will include writing workshops in two neighborhoods (the East and the West Sides), culminating in public readings, art marches, and block parties.

“At Deep Center, we know that if you want to understand a community and what it needs to thrive—its assets and history, its struggles and their possible solutions—you start with the stories of the people who live there,” said Dare Dukes, executive director of the Deep Center. “We are grateful for the recognition of the US Regional Arts Organizations and the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for enabling us to partner with the Savannah Development and Renewal Authority. This partnership deepens the impact of our mission—fostering vivid and fearless community-based creative writing—to put our city’s youth and families at the center of neighborhood research, planning, and redevelopment.”

To receive this award, Deep Center initially competed on a regional level with nearly 40 other arts organizations from the Southeast in an adjudicated process led by South Arts. The candidates selected by South Arts then competed on a national level alongside entries sponsored by the other RAOs, and six entries received awards: Deep Roots in Georgia, the Fort Wayne Dance Collective in Indiana, Fusebox Austin in Texas, The Center for Urban Pedagogy in New York, the Judy Dworin Performance Project in Connecticut, and the Mesa Arts Center in Arizona.

“We are so pleased that Deep Center will receive this funding,” said Suzette M. Surkamer, Executive Director of South Arts. “Their work is so impactful with children in and around Savannah, and they have put together an amazing partnership with the Savannah Development and Renewal Authority. Congratulations to them and to the people of Savannah.”

Ella Baff, Senior Program Officer for Arts and Cultural Heritage at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, said, “The grantees form a national cohort promoting creativity in all aspects of life. Supporting these projects will not only enable distinguished work to be produced, but will also yield potential models that can be replicated in communities across the country. This national effort affirms that the arts and creativity are a meaningful and tangible contribution to society’s well being.”