Five cultural organizations in Washington state will get a share of the $1. 7 million "Challenge America Fast-Track Review Grants," announced today by the National Endowment for...

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Five cultural organizations in Washington state will get a share of the $1.7 million “Challenge America Fast-Track Review Grants,” announced today by the National Endowment for the Arts. These grants, established to diversify arts audiences and reach underserved populations, emphasize the potential of the arts to help strengthen communities, according to NEA chairman Dana Gioia.

“For the first time in NEA history, we are now reaching every community in America, ” said Gioia in a prepared statement.

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The five local winners:

• 911 Media Arts Center, $10,000 to support “Native Lens,” a media literacy and technology program for Native American youth.

• Bainbridge Island Arts and Humanities Council, $10,000 for a cultural facilities site feasibility study of three sites in downtown Winslow, for a planned cultural center for residents of Bainbridge (pop. 21,000).

• International Examiner, Seattle, $10,000 toward the Vietnamese Writers’ Block (writers’ workshops and a public reading celebrating the immigrant writing community).

• Methow Music Festival Association, Winthrop, $10,000 for the 10th annual Methow Music Festival, nine days of professional music in small ensembles performing in the rural, north-central portion of the state.

• Whatcom Film Association, Bellingham, $10,000 to support the Traveling Pickford Show, an outdoor cinema program which will bring bilingual, children’s and classic films to regional schools, senior centers and migrant camps.

From Orcas to Bellingham

The Bellingham Festival of Music has a new executive director: Kristi Anderson, who held the same post at the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival for the past four seasons. She will replace Andrew Moquin upon his retirement in next month.

Moquin was a founding festival board member who has been both president and executive director of the Bellingham Festival for the past six years.

Anderson has 12 years of experience in arts administration and corporate communications, including arts-management posts in Texas (Houston Symphony) and at the Spoleto Festival USA. She currently serves on the Washington State Arts Alliance Foundation board of directors.

In Bellingham, Anderson says her top priority will be “to work with artistic director Michael Palmer and the board to sustain our quality events, with an immediate look at how the Festival can strategically expand partnerships with community arts organizations.”

Melinda Bargreen: