MEMPHIS — The Soulsville Foundation, which operates the Stax Museum of American Soul Music and Stax Music Academy at the original site of Stax Records in Memphis, Tennessee, is pleased to announce it has been approved to receive an American Rescue Plan grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to help the arts and cultural sector recover from the pandemic. The Soulsville Foundation is recommended to receive $150,000 and may use this funding to save jobs and to fund operations and facilities, health and safety supplies, and marketing and promotional efforts to encourage attendance and participation. In total, the NEA will award grants totaling $57,750,000 to 567 arts organizations in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Washington, DC.
“Our nation’s arts sector has been among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Endowment for the Arts’ American Rescue Plan funding will help arts organizations, such as the Soulsville Foundation, rebuild and reopen,” said Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson, chair of the NEA. “The arts are crucial in helping America’s communities heal, unite, and inspire, as well as essential to our nation’s economic recovery.”
“Like all nonprofits around the world, the COVID pandemic was devastating for the Soulsville Foundation,” said Soulsville Foundation President and CEO Richard Greenwald. “In addition to loss of income from tourism in general, our normal practice of hosting approximately 40 free, entertaining, and educational events for people of all ages came to a halt, limiting our usual engagement with the community and our ability to offer special programming for young people. Likewise, our Stax Music Academy had to make major adjustments to navigate COVID, including moving to virtual and now hybrid learning and canceling almost all of our 20th anniversary events in 2020. We are extremely grateful to the NEA for helping us rebound and continue our vital work”
The Soulsville Foundation plans to use the NEA grant funding to revamp and expand its educational outreach so that young people and people from all walks of life will once again have the opportunity to participate during in-person programs and take even further advantage of the Stax Music Academy’s music education and mental wellness efforts.
The NEA awarded grants to only nine organizations in Tennessee. The Soulsville Foundation was one of only two Memphis nonprofits to receive grant funding; the other was the Blues City Cultural Center.
Congressman Steve Cohen made the announcement in his website, writing, “I am pleased to announce these grant awards to the Soulsville Foundation and the Blues City Cultural Center. Stax Music Academy, one of the premier musical institutions, inspires our next generation with the legacy and skills of a Memphis music tradition, and the Blues City Cultural Center has been a jewel in the Memphis arts scene for more than four decades. We are sure to see the fruits of this investment.”
The American Rescue Plan was signed into law in March 2021, when the NEA was provided $135 million for the arts sector. The funding for organizations is the third installment providing more than $57.7 million for arts organizations. In April 2021, the NEA announced $52 million (40 percent) in ARP funding would be allocated to 62 state, jurisdictional, and regional arts organizations for re-granting through their respective programs. The second installment in November 2021 allocated $20.2 million to 66 local arts agencies for sub-granting to local artists and art organizations.
For more information on the NEA’s American Rescue Plan grants, including the full list of arts organizations funded in this announcement, visit www.arts.gov/COVID-19/the-american-rescue-plan.
ABOUT THE SOULSVILLE FOUNDATION
The Soulsville Foundation is the 501 c 3 organization that operates the Stax Museum of American Soul Music and Stax Music Academy, all located on a vibrant campus at the original site of Stax Records in the Memphis, Tennessee neighborhood known as Soulsville USA. Its mission is to perpetuate the soul of Stax Records by preserving its rich cultural legacy, educating youth to be prepared for life success, and inspiring future artists to achieve their dreams.