Blue Ridge PBS gets $47,747

August 26, 2008


The Harvest Foundation has awarded a $47,747 grant to the Blue Ridge Public Broadcasting System to fund a series of programs highlighting performing arts across the Piedmont.

The project, called Performing Arts across the Piedmont, will help promote a positive image of Martinsville and Henry County across western Virginia and portions of the four neighboring states, according to a news release from the foundation.

The program will include at least 15 stories or performances and be broadcast multiple times to an audience of potential tourists and patrons across Southwest Virginia and neighboring states. By creating partnerships with area cultural and entertainment groups, Blue Ridge Public Broadcasting System (BRPBS) will be able to attract tourist interest in local attractions and increase the capacity for these artists and venues to promote themselves, the release said. So far, Piedmont Arts Association, the Spencer-Penn Centre and the Rives Theatre have expressed interest in participating, it said.

“As the region’s storyteller, we are thrilled to be working with Martinsville-area musicians and arts enterprises that really deserve a bigger audience,” Will Anderson, Blue Ridge PBS executive producer, said in the release. “With ‘Performing Arts across the Piedmont,’ we will share the sites and sounds of Martinsville and Henry County with our viewers across Southwest Virginia and beyond.”

“Blue Ridge PBS is dedicated to pursuing stories and issues that address the history, arts, culture, educational needs and economic health of communities across our region,” Anderson added.

The program is designed to build a sense of community pride as high-quality artists and prominent venues become more evident to the regional population, the release said. It also will provide access to local arts and culture for area disadvantaged and underserved residents who may have limited contact with them, the release said. For example, local schools will have permission to reuse and rebroadcast these episodes and expose these opportunities to uninformed youth.

“The heightened awareness and community pride will work to revitalize local economies into a more desirable place to live, work and play,” the release said. BRPBS covers 26,000 square miles of viewing audience, reaching a potential audience of 2.5 million people. All content will be in high definition and available on the BRPBS Web site and through promotional videos and other electronic media.

“One of our community’s best-kept secrets is our tremendous musical and cultural treasures — from special venues to highly talented individuals and groups. BRPBS will help get our secret out across the region and give our local artisans and performers the exposure they deserve,” said Jeff Mansour, senior program officer for The Harvest Foundation.

The foundation was formed in 2002 with proceeds from the sale of Memorial Hospital. It provides grants to further the health, education and welfare of people in Henry County and Martinsville.


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