December 15, 2016, BY Matthew Beltz

Performance of Anthracite Fields
An orchestra and choral group performs Anthracite Fields

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has awarded Bucknell University's Weis Center for the Performing Arts a $10,000 grant. The award, from the NEA's Challenge America category, will support the Weis Center's April 1 performance of the Pulitzer Prize-winning oratorio Anthracite Fields. The event is part of the year-long Coal Collections series, which will also benefit from the grant.

That grant is part of more than $30 million in awards that NEA Chair Jane Chu recently approved as part of the organization's first major funding announcement for fiscal year 2017. The Challenge America category supports primarily small and mid-sized organizations for projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations — those whose geography, ethnicity, economics or disability limits opportunities to experience the arts.

"The arts are for all of us, and by supporting organizations such as the Weis Center, the NEA is providing more opportunities for the public to engage with the arts," said Chu. "Whether in a theater, a town square, a museum or a hospital, the arts are everywhere and make our lives richer."

This grant is the first that the Weis Center has received from the NEA.

"The Weis Center is thrilled to receive this award and recognition. Anthracite Fields explores the rich cultural heritage of Pennsylvania's coal region, and we are honored to present it to our community," said Weis Center Executive Director Kathryn Maguet.

The Bang on a Can All-Stars, featuring the Bucknell Camerata with Professor Beth Willer, music, as conductor, will perform Anthracite Fields on Saturday, April 1, at 7:30 p.m. Julia Wolfe's Anthracite Fields is a lovingly detailed oratorio about turn-of-the-20th-century Pennsylvania coal miners and a fitting recipient of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Music. Weaving together personal interviews that she conducted with miners and their families, along with oral histories, speeches, rhymes and local mining lore, Wolfe sought to honor the working lives of Pennsylvania's anthracite region.

For more information about the Weis Center, visit its website or social media channels on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.

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