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County Empowers Local Alameda Arts Organizations

Arts Commision awards $17,500 to seven Alameda groups

In a great boon for the Alameda art community, the Alameda County Arts Commission granted seven nonprofit arts groups $2500 each. The grants, which were awarded in late June, were given to The Foodbank Players, Altarena Playhouse, West End Arts District, Soli Deo Gloria, RADIUM Presents, Friends of the Alameda Free Library, and ArtPush. The grants will help these local arts organizations to continue their programs here in Alameda.

Alameda Post - a couple sits at a table onstage and a waiter exuberantly enters through a door on the back wall
Altarena’s production of Slow Food. Photo courtesy Altarena Playhouse.

The grants are part of the Arts Commission’s yearly ARTSFund initiative, which awards funding of $2,000 to $3,000 to nonprofit art and cultural programs within the county, based on applications submitted between November and February. The ARTSFund Grant Program focuses on nonprofit art and cultural organizations that provide programs in visual art, dance, theater, music, literature, poetry, cultural events and traditions, and other related forms of art that impact the community.

Funding for the ARTSFund Grant Program is provided by the County, donations to the Foundation for the Arts in Alameda County, and individual contributions voluntarily submitted with property tax payments. To contribute to the fund, Alameda County property owners may complete the donation form that is included with their property tax bill.



Alameda Post - West End Art District's Webster Gateway Mural by Dave Young Kim
West End Art District’s Webster Gateway Mural by Dave Young Kim at 1619 Webster St. Photo Adam Gillitt.

How a few of the winners will use their awards

The West End Arts District (WEAD) is a nonprofit art organization that manages a wide variety of art programs. It was founded by Sandy Russell in 2015 to revitalize the West End arts community. WEAD has many projects currently in progress, including “The Art of San Quentin” and Fiesta Alameda projects, but has stated that the grant will mainly go towards the funding of the Taxiway Mural Project which is to be a multidimensional mural that will be displayed on the walls and floors of the upcoming RADIUM Runway. WEAD also helps other nonprofit Alameda arts groups by fiscally sponsoring them and giving them the financial boost needed to get off the ground. One such group is the Foodbank Players.

The Foodbank Players, founded in 2021, is made up of volunteers to support the Alameda Food Bank. The food bank itself was founded in 1977 and has been helping. The Foodbank Players have so far performed five plays for the public and have raised $16,000 for the Food Bank, which has been helping members of the Alameda community who deal with food insecurity since 1977. But the Foodbank Players have had to scrounge for funds to put on their performance, so the ArtsFUND grant is a boon to them. Director Gene Kahane said, “With this grant we will be able to cover our costs more easily—mostly publicity, getting scripts printed, liability insurance for the actors, and props and set pieces.”

Alameda Post - the cast of A Christmas Carol poses and smiles together
The Foodbank Players’ production of A Christmas Carol. Photo Gene Kahane.

The Altarena Playhouse is a community theater in Alameda that has produced musicals, plays, and revues since it was founded in 1938. It was originally located at Neptune Beach, but in 1957 moved into an abandoned East End grocery store on High Street, where it has been located ever since. Altarena has featured many Alameda residents in productions throughout the years, spotlighting community and diversity. The grant provided by ArtsFUND will go towards the production of and support of their performances and upkeep of their organization.

The funds provided by the Alameda County Arts Commision will greatly help all of the arts groups that were awarded grants to further enrich the community and bring various art ambitions to fruition for residents.

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