Special Assistant to the Dean Bernice Bass de Martinez, Theatre and Dance Chair Melinda Wilson Ramey, and Arts & Letters Dean Sheree Meyer celebrate their new grant. (Sacramento State/Nathan Dietrich)

A Creative Economy Pilot Project grant awarded to Sacramento State’s College of Arts & Letters will fund music, dance, and theater performances in low economic areas to bring the arts to local residents and their children, attract paying audiences to the area, and explore issues of culture and diversity.

The $25,000 package was announced by Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg Nov. 6. The College of Arts & Letters was one of more than 250 applicants. The grant program is part of Sacramento’s Creative Economy project to support arts and culture projects that not only stimulate economic activity, but also have social impacts.

Sacramento State’s CREAtE (Community Revitalization, Economic Advancement through Entertainment) will produce two performing arts and music presentations in District 6 as a means of bringing a paying audience to the area, exposing more people to the arts as well as getting them directly involved in the arts.

“Exposure to the arts can be life changing, and this has the potential of long-term social impact on the community,” says Bernice Bass de Martinez, special assistant to the dean of Arts & Letters and the grant’s author. “The inclusion of race and ethnic diversity in the performances, casts, and supporting talent also has the potential of creating a pride in the arts and artists of the community.”

With the participation of the University’s School of Music and Department of Theatre and Dance, two productions will be staged with each offering a dress rehearsal and performance for viewing. The performances will be aimed at generating a critical dialogue about race and racial truths based on the arts.

There also will be time for discussion to foster art appreciation, along with pre- and post-production workshops to develop understanding of District 6 and what it can offer to the larger community.

“I see this grant as a game-changer – an opportunity for Sacramento State, the College of Arts & Letters, and our performing arts programs to play a strategic and central role in Sacramento’s new creative economy,” says Arts & Letters Dean Sheree Meyer. “We can give voice to those who have had neither access to the arts nor the opportunity to tell their stories.”

For more information on CREAtE, contact the College of Arts & Letters at www.csus.edu/al or call (916) 278-6502. For media assistance, call Sacramento State University Communications at (916) 278-6156. - Craig Koscho