• Virginia Commission for the Arts announces 2015 Poetry Out Loud State Champion

    POL Photo Credit: Chris Poupore

    Richmond - On Friday, March 13, 2015 at the WCVE public television studios in Richmond, Virginia, Ahkei Togun, a junior from Tallwood High School in Virginia Beach was named Virginia’s 2015 Poetry Out Loud Champion. At the state finals competition, he outperformed ten other contestants drawn from an original field that included over 10,800 high school students who participated throughout the Commonwealth.

    The top three finalists among the eleven state contestants were asked to recite a third poem of their choosing from among a selected anthology. Ahkei chose “The Way It Sometimes Is” by Henry Taylor. He captivated the four judges and the audience with his expressiveness and mature interpretation. As the state champion, he received a $200 cash award, a $500 stipend for his school and an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C. to represent Virginia at the National Poetry Out Loud competition April 27-29, 2015. First runner-up Isabelle Andrews of St. Catherine’s School (Richmond), received a $100 cash award and $200 for her school library. Second runner-up was Ben Elliott of Grace Christian School (Staunton).

    Poetry Out Loud is celebrating its tenth year as a national program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation, and in Virginia with the Virginia Commission for the Arts. The Commission’s Executive Director, Margaret Vanderhye said “On behalf of Governor McAuliffe, our Commissioners and staff, and poetry lovers throughout Virginia, I extend congratulations to all of our competitors from the eleven high school students who advanced to the State Finals to the thousands of our wonderful students who participated in Poetry Out Loud this year across the Commonwealth.” She added, “We are so pleased to launch our new Virginia partnership for this program with The Community Idea Station, WCVE Richmond, and with the Virginia Education Association so that we can reach a wider audience and encourage even greater participation in the future”.

    Recordings by WCVE of the Virginia Poetry Out Loud State Finals will air throughout the state. Broadcasting dates and affiliates are listed below. Friday’s program emcee was Daphne Maxwell Reid, a frequent speaker and guest on WCVE. A spoken word musical performance was provided by Teens With a Purpose, a creative youth development organization in Hampton Roads since 1996, whose mission is to creatively cultivate the next generation of leaders. The awards were presented by Virginia’s Secretary of Education Anne Holton who spoke about the importance of poetry as a literary genre and of the program itself to build self -confidence, master public speaking skills and think critically for the purpose of recitation.

    When asked how he went about preparing for his own recitations, Ahkei responded: “I read over my poems dozens of times of course. As the days went by I would say them a million times in my head. Whenever I had free time, I would close my door, lock it, and go into my own little poetry world, reciting them over and over again and just having fun with it. Before I knew it, I could say them without thinking about it.” Supporters can cheer on Ahkei by joining Poetry Out Loud for the webcast of the 2015 National Semifinals and Finals at http://arts.gov/partnerships/poetry-out-loud-national-recitation-contest/webcast-national-semifinals-and-finals. The national competition will be held April 27-29, 2015 at the Lisner Auditorium in Washington, D.C.

    To find out how to participate in Virginia’s Poetry Out Loud program visit http://www.arts.virginia.gov/programs_POL.html.

    Broadcast Dates of the Virginia Finals

    WCVE Richmond PBS
    Thursday, April 9 at 9:00 pm & Monday,
    April 13 at 11:00 pm

    WCVE Richmond PBS
    Sunday, April 12 at 4:00 pm

    WHTJ Charlottesville PBS
    Thursday, April 9 at 9:00 pm & Monday, April 13 at 11:00 pm

    WHUT Washington PBS
    Sunday, May 10 at 8 am, Friday, May 15 at
    8:00 pm, & Saturday, May 16 at 1:00 pm

    WBRA Roanoke PBS
    Sunday, May 17 at 3:00 pm

    WHRO Norfolk PBS
    Sunday, April 26 at 2:00 pm

    WVPT Harrisonburg PBS
    Thursday, April 23 at 8:00 pm

    About
    The Virginia Commission for the Arts is the state agency that supports the arts through funding from the Virginia General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts. The Commission distributes grants to arts and other non-for-profit arts organizations, educational institutions, educators, artists, and local governments. For more information about the Virginia Commission for the Arts, visit www.arts.virginia.gov or call (804) 225-3132. Media inquiries should be addressed to Margaret Vanderhye, margaret.vanderhye@vca.virginia.gov or the number above.

    Media Contact
    Margaret G. Vanderhye
    Executive Director
    Virginia Commission for the Arts
    1001 East Broad Street, Suite 330
    Richmond, Virginia 23219
    804-225-3132
    margaret.vanderhye@vca.virginia.gov

  • Virginia Commission for the Arts Announces Poetry Out Loud: State Championships

    [Richmond, Virginia]- The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation present the 10th annual Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest, in partnership with Virginia Commission for the Arts, Community Idea Station WCVE, and Virginia Education Association. Poetry Out Loud is a program that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition. In the 2014-2015 school year, more than 10,800 students and fifty schools participated in Virginia's Poetry Out Loud program.

    In February 2015, fifty students from across the Commonwealth advanced to regional Poetry Out Loud competitions across the state. On Friday, March 13, 2015 eleven regional finalists from public, private, and homeschools will compete in the state championship. Students represent Fredericksburg Academy, Grace Christian School, Hale Aloha High School (homeschool), Haysi High School, John Handley High School, St. Catherine's, Tallwood High School, Washington-Lee High School, and Western Albermarle High School. The state champion will receive $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC, and a $500 stipend for their school to purchase poetry books. The first runner-up will receive $100, with $200 for his/her school library. The Virginia champion will advance to the National Finals, taking place on April 28-29, 2015, in Washington, DC. to compete for over $50,000 in cash and school stipends. The Community Idea Station will record the championship and broadcast the recitations on Thursday, April 9, 2015 at 9 pm and Monday, April 12, 2015 at 11 pm on WCVE, Richmond and WHTJ, Charlottesville.

    "To memorize and recite a great poem of the past or present," said Robert Polito, President of the Poetry Foundation, "is to 'own' it in the most persona way--in your body, your breadth, and your spirit. Recitation is an interpretive act that is also creative and self-transformative. Celebrating its tenth anniversary, Poetry Out Loud is now a vital aspect of the American educational landscape. It has enhanced the ways poetry is taught in schools and has created many future readers of classic and contemporary poetry. Perhaps the ultimate triumph of Poetry Out Loud is this realization of Whitman's dream of 'great audiences' for 'great poets'."

    Media Contact
    Margaret G. Vanderhye
    Executive Director
    Virginia Commission for the Arts
    1001 East Broad Street, Suite 330
    Richmond, Virginia 23219
    804-225-3132
    margaret.vanderhye@vca.virginia.gov

  • Arts Organizations Receive Matching Tourism Grants from Virginia Tourism

    VCA logo Birthplace of Country Music

    RICHMOND - Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today that more than $773,000 in matching grant funds will be awarded to 51 local tourism initiatives as part of the Virginia Tourism Corporation's (VTC) Marketing Leverage Program. The grants are designed to help local and regional tourism entities attract more visitors by leveraging local marketing dollars, and will ultimately impact at least 229 other statewide tourism entities. The local organizations match the state grant funds by a minimum of 2:1 in order to support marketing projects. This funding cycle, the local partners will match the VTC grant dollars with more than $2.2 million, providing $3 million total in new marketing to increase visitation to Virginia.

    The following Arts Organizations and arts programs were awarded over $182,000 to support tourism initiatives inspired by the arts.

  • Program Name

    Lead Partner

    Award Amount

    Create Your Own Adventure

    Virginia Highlands Festival

    $18,000.00

    Virginia is for Arts Lovers - Weekend Getaways in Virginia

    Virginia Arts Festival

    $50,000.00

    A Picture is Worth a 1,000 Miles: Art To Drive For

    Taubman Museum of Art

    $25,000.00

    Virginia is for Music Lovers

    Staunton Music Festival

    $10,000.00

    2015 Visit Loudoun Photography

    Visit Loudoun

    $10,000.00

    Big Stone Gap The Movie Regional Promotion Phase III

    Town of Big Stone Gap

    $10,000.00

    Museums, Festivals, Arts and More

    Fine Arts Center for the New River Valley, Inc.

    $3,737.50

    Ten for Ten

    The Prizery

    $2,500.00

    Plein Air Art Festival

    Warm Springs Gallery

    $4,043.50

    Birthplace of Country Music –Multimedia Marketing and Branding Campaign

    Birthplace of Country Music

    $50,000.00

  • Tourism is an instant revenue generator for Virginia. In 2013, tourism generated $21.5 billion in revenue, supported 213,000 jobs and provided $1.42 billion in state and local taxes. Dollars invested in tourism are proven to provide a 5:1 return in tax revenue for Virginia, and the grant awards and matching funds provide a stimulus to localities seeking to increase tourism visitation and revenue.

    VTC's Marketing Leverage Program is designed to increase visitor spending by leveraging limited marketing dollars, stimulating new tourism marketing through partnerships, and extending the "Virginia is for Lovers" brand. A minimum of three Virginia entities must partner financially to apply for a grant. Partners may consist of Virginia cities, towns, counties, convention and visitors bureaus, chambers of commerce, other local or regional destination marketing organizations, private businesses, museums, attractions, cultural events, and other not-for-profit entities. In total, VTC awards approximately $1.7 million annually - matched and leveraged on average 3:1 by partner dollars.

    The next round of VTC Marketing Leverage Program grants will open in April 2015. Localities interested in applying may visit vatc.org for more information.

    For a complete list of VTC Marketing Leverage Program grants, visit: http://www.virginia.org/pressroom/release.asp?id=460

  • Virginia Tourism Resources

    Follow the links below to get detail on how you can get on board with Virginia is for Lovers and all of VTC’s powerful industry partner programs.

  • The Virginia Commission for the Arts is the state agency that supports the arts through funding from the Virginia General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts. The Commission distributes grants to arts and other not-for-profit arts organizations, educational institutions, educators, artists, and local governments.

    For 2014-2015 applications and more information about the Virginia Commission for the Arts, visit www.arts.virginia.gov or call (804) 225-3132

    Media Contact
    Margaret G. Vanderhye
    Executive Director
    Virginia Commission for the Arts
    1001 East Broad Street, Suite 330
    Richmond, Virginia 23219
    804-225-3132
    margaret.vanderhye@vca.virginia.gov