Sampson Arts Council distributes grants, funds local art programs

Lauren Williams Staff Writer

November 12, 2013

The Sampson Arts Council recently awarded six local organizations with its 2013-14 Grassroots Arts Program subgrants, distributing a total of $8,238 in funds throughout the community.

The grant recipients included the Sampson Community College Foundation which received a grant to bring Lee County native and award-winning bluegrass musician Marvin Gaster to the college for students and the community at large to enjoy. Gaster will perform on campus tonight from 6-7 p.m. in the Warren Student Center; admission is free.

The Coharie People, Inc. also received a grant which they are using to support the variety of workshops they offer for youth. Through the workshops, youth learn more about Native American culture, including dancing, singing, beading, and hands-on construction of Native American hand drums and sticks.

The grant given to the Sampson County Schools’ ArtsCamp will be used for its popular week-long summer program which is offered to Sampson County Schools’ students in kindergarten through eighth grade. During the creative camp, students receive instruction from local artists in dance, theatre, music, visual art, and art design.

The Sampson County History Museum also earned a grant which will help to fund the museum’s free educational craft demonstration days where artists demonstrate how to knit, crochet, and do traditional bead work and lace tatting. The most recent craft demonstration, which had a “Little House on the Prairie” theme, was held Saturday, Oct. 12, in conjunction with the Court Square Street Fair in downtown Clinton.

Old Bluff Theatre Company’s grant is helping to make possible the company’s spring production of “Rumors,” a play by Neil Simon.

Lastly, one of the grants from the Sampson Arts Council has been awarded to Class Acts-Sampson CenterStage for Students for two performances of “Buffalo Soldier” being brought to Sampson by Theatre IV of Richmond, Va. According to information provided by executive director of the local arts council Kara Donatelli, the performances are expected to impact approximately 2,000 Clinton City and Sampson County Schools’ students in both the seventh and eighth grades.

“We are extremely excited about the arts programming that these organizations will offer to children and adults in Sampson County,” said Donatelli. “The next art event available to the public, and supported by an NC Arts Council Grassroots Grant Award, will be the Sampson Community Foundation’s free bluegrass concert by North Carolina artist Marvin Gaster tonight at Sampson Community College. We hope everyone will join us for this amazing event.”

To be eligible for these grants, Donatelli explained that the nonprofit organizations must have been in operation for at least a year, adding that although not required, 501(C)(3) status is desired.

As the Arts Council, its Board of Directors, and a diverse panel of community members evaluate the grant applications each year, they have certain priorities for the community that they keep in mind when deciding how to spread the grant funding throughout Sampson, acknowledged Donatelli.

Among the top priorities is providing support to qualified arts organizations such as theaters, symphonies, galleries, art guilds, choral societies, dance companies, folk arts societies, writers groups and arts festivals; helping to fund arts learning and arts in education programs conducted by qualified artists, which can include artist residencies in the schools, after school summer camps, or adult arts learning classes; and supporting organizations and programs — community, civic and municipal — that provide quality experiences, led by qualified artists, for the greater community.

The grants distributed locally were supported by the N.C. Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources, Donatelli pointed out, sharing that The North Carolina Arts Council’s Grassroots Arts Program has helped provide citizens in all 100 counties access to quality arts experiences since 1977, made possible by partnering with local art councils like Sampson’s.

For questions or more information about the Sampson Arts Council and Grassroots Arts Program subgrants, please contact Kara Donatelli at 910-596-2533 or send her an email at Also, please visit the Sampson Arts Council website at

Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at