Taking the Arts for Granted
On October 10, the Pennoni Honors College received a $20,000 grant to partner with the Philadelphia Daily News to provide expanded arts coverage for the paper. The grant, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, was one of five Community Arts Journalism Challenge grants chosen from over 233 applications.
The program will be run by Jason Wilson, editor of the Honors College publications The Smart Set and the student-written Cultural Passport. “This is an amazing opportunity for Drexel to help improve awareness of the arts in our city at a time when the ailing newspaper industry is making so many cuts to this type of coverage,” Wilson said. Articles will be written by Drexel students and other writers associated with the University.
The grant will also fund opportunities to improve student arts writing at the University. This winter, Drexel will host a visiting Writer in Residence; an independent study in arts writing for publication will be offered as well.
This first round of funding, however, is just a trial — a second round of grants of $80,000 each will be awarded in April 2012 to three of the initial five projects. Wilson feels strongly about the Drexel project's viability. “The Knight Foundation seeks models that can be duplicated all over the United States, which is why a partnership between universities and local media appeal to them,” Wilson said.
The Drexel-generated stories appear weekly in the Daily News under the name “Art Attack,” as well as on Philly.com.