The National Endowment for the Arts recently awarded $30,000 to the Center for Puppetry Arts to support the development and performances with related educational activities of Ruth and the Green Book. The show is a fully-staged puppet theater work adapted and directed by Artistic Director Jon Ludwig in collaboration with the book’s author, Calvin Alexander Ramsey. Using an innovative combination of puppetry and animated projections inspired by the book’s evocative illustrations, Ruth and the Green Book will portray an African American family traveling from Illinois to Alabama in the Jim Crow era.
The National Endowment for the Arts received 1,686 eligible applications in March 2011 for Art Works grants, and the agency accepted 863 organizations to receive a total of $22.543 million in funding. Of those 863 grants awards, 823 are for projects at not-for-profit organizations that are: creating works of art through commissions and artists residencies; engaging the public with works of art through exhibitions, tours and festivals; furthering lifelong learning in the arts in schools, communities and at arts organizations; or increasing community livability through the arts.
The Center for Puppetry Arts is fulfilling the mission of the NEA Art Works Grant by bringing to the stage Ruth and the Green Book, which tells the story of Ruth and her family as they travel through the Jim Crow-era South. After being turned away from numerous hotels, gas stations and restaurants, eight-year-old Ruth and her parents discover The Green Book, a travel guide for African-American motorists. With this guide, Ruth’s family, like many others, learns where they are welcome in an often hostile environment. This fresh perspective on the struggle for equality offers a new way for families, schools and other organizations to honor Black History Month and gain insight into the personal experience of the civil rights movement.
“It is such an honor to be recognized on a national level by the NEA,” said Vince Anthony, Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Puppetry Arts. “We are very excited to present Ruth and the Green Book during Black History Month this year and to enrich the Atlanta community with an educational portrayal of life before the civil rights movement.”
The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector.