Federal Funding Impact Story #1

Project: Archives, Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance

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Celebration (1934), Copyright, Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance, All Rights Reserved. Courtesy of Douglas and Bruce Fraser.

Granting Agency: NHPRC (National Historical Publications & Records Commission)
Grant Program: Archives and Records Projects
Institution: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
State: New York
Congressional District: NYS 10th Congressional District
Grant Period: Numerous
Award Amount: Various
Institutional Match Amount: 30-50%

Jobs Created:
– Training for recent college graduates in US History, Political Science, Culture, and Literature;
– Full-time positions for Master’s degree recipients in archives management and services.

Project Description
Identification, processing, cataloging of archival records documenting great American choreographers and dancers.

What was the need for the grant?
The work of Martha Graham, Paul Taylor, and Merce Cunningham, several of America’s greatest and iconic choreographers, has been preserved in various archives-related initiatives funded by federal grants from NHPRC, NEH, and NEA. These projects have ensured that generations of American dancers will have the opportunity to learn the works that reflect our culture at its creative best and American citizens of all walks of life will have the opportunity to study how our artistic endeavors reflect what our democracy has nurtured. The archival resources that preserve the fundamentals of our culture continue to   a)fuel employment for dancers, musicians, costume and set designers, teachers of dance; b)ensure shared opportunities for audiences to see and gain knowledge about expressions of American creativity; and c) make it possible for us to show our cultural accomplishments to and build bridges to those from other cultures. All of the foregoing are meaningful, useful, and long-lasting.

What has been the primary impact of this project?
Preservation of and access to documentation and information; enrichment of education of American culture and history; increased opportunities to reach beyond our own cultural borders. The choreography of all three of these great American choreographers now is seen and being taught nationwide (including all 50 states in the United States) and in many communities large and small. In numerous countries worldwide dance, along with music, are recognized as both inspiring and effective ambassadors.  (While the dance company managers have access to specific metrics related to use, educational impact, etc., I do not. Full-time positions were necessary to achieving preservation of these archival assets and access to the information and resources for the duration of the grants.  Subsequently, archivists continue to be employed to manage the archives and help others use them.

Submission by: Linda Edgerly, Director, Information & Archival Services, The Winthrop Group
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