Three Jackson County arts organizations have received grants from the Oregon Arts Commission through its Arts Build Communities program.

Three Jackson County arts organizations have received grants from the Oregon Arts Commission through its Arts Build Communities program.

The Rogue Valley Chorale, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Dancing People Company are among 28 organizations that received funding in the most recent grant cycle. The program, which supports collaborative projects that benefit communities, awarded $110,000 to 28 organizations in this year — its 14th.

The grants are unique in that they can be awarded to nonprofit groups, school districts or cities, said Brian Wagner, the arts commission's community arts coordinator. Each grant is for a project that sees a community need that can be met through the arts, Wagner said.

The Rogue Valley Chorale received $2,000 to support "Spring Sing," a two-concert series for Medford School District elementary students by the Rogue Valley Youth Chorus. The program helps address reductions in Southern Oregon school music programs by sharing the joy of singing, presenting choral programs by student peers, and increasing the awareness of arts opportunities available to children, organizers said. The money will help pay for buses to transport students to the concerts, marketing, choral music and administrative and artistic fees.

Ashland-based Dancing People Company received $3,200 to support its production of "Call Back the Sun," an annual celebration that brings together musicians and dancers to celebrate the winter solstice. Dancing People's artists perform and mentor community members as they create and execute their own performance. The grant money will support the involvement of youths at risk in the production and a matinee performance targeted toward elders and families.

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival got the largest of the local grants — $5,250 — to support "Culture Fest," its new effort to enhance diversity. The program strives to support under-served populations and build awareness among new and infrequent playgoers, while also raising consciousness within the acting company, organizers said.

Forty-eight community and arts groups submitted grant requests totaling more than $260,000 to the arts commission, which established the Arts Build Communities program in 1996. ABC grants also serve as catalysts for other grant money to advance economic and community development through artistic projects.

Reach reporter Bill Kettler at 776-4492 or e-mail bkettler@mailtribune.com.