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Region artists and arts organizations received important grants recently.

South Shore Arts awarded grants totaling $333,621 during an Arts Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

Artists as well as art enthusiasts, administrators, volunteers and patrons from Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties gathered at Gamba Ristorante to network and collect their grants.

Distinguished guests included Indiana Arts Commissioner, Libby Chiu;  Renaldo Maurice, alum of South Shore Dance Alliance and present member of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater; and state representatives Lisa Beck and Vernon Smith. Also in attendance were painters, sculptors, photographers, calligraphers, filmmakers, writers, poets, actors, musicians, and dancers, as well as representatives of arts organizations, galleries, theaters, dance schools, symphonies, orchestras, universities, schools, towns and parks departments.

John Cain, executive director of South Shore Arts, welcomed guests. He was proud to say that this year, SSA had received 50 grant applications, of which 49 were funded. He said that in 1997, before SSA became a Regional Arts Partner, there were just nine grants funded from Region One (Lake, Porter & LaPorte counties).

Cain explained that as a Regional Partner, South Shore Arts works alongside the Indiana Arts Commission to promote and expand participation in the arts in Indiana, providing broad local access to arts services and funding opportunities. Regional Initiative Grants (Arts Project Support and Arts Organization Support I, II) are administered by South Shore Arts on behalf of the Indiana Arts Commission.

Libby Chiu, Indiana Arts Commissioner from Ogden Dunes, laughed as she said the other commissioners always groan when she starts her report, because Northwest Indiana is the most active arts region in the state.

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AOS II (Arts Organization Support) grants were presented to the Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra, Theatre at the Center  the Lubeznik Center, Community Theatre Guild (Chicago Street Theatre),  Indiana Ballet Theatre, LaPorte County Symphony Orchestra and Memorial Opera House.

AOS I grants were presented to Towle Performing Arts Company (Towle Theater), Art Barn School of Art, Association of Artists & Craftsmen and Miller Beach Arts & Creative District, Beachfront Dance School, Books, Brushes & Bands, Dunes Arts Foundation, Lakeshore Community Concerts and South Shore Dance Alliance.

Among organizations receiving Arts Project Support grants were African American Achievers Youth Corp,  Ballet Folklorico Tapatio, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana, Decay Devils, Discovery Charter School, Duneland Chamber of Commerce, Duo Sequenza, Indiana Dunes Learning Center, Indiana University Northwest,  L’arc en Ciel Theatre Group, Memorial Opera House Foundation, Northwest Indiana Excellence in Theatre Foundation, South Shore Chamber Orchestra, The Duneland Family YMCA and others.

Arts in the Parks grants (for projects that encourage creation and public engagement with art in an Indiana state park or historic sites) were awarded in two categories: organizations and individuals.

Four individuals received On-Ramp grants (an accelerator for Indiana creative entrepreneurs/artists). The recipients were Sam Love, Gary; Brian Dortmund, Chesterton; Laurel Izard, Michigan City; Kristina Knowski, Porter.

Eight individuals received Individual Advancement Program grants. They were awarded to Adam John Sedia, Andrea Ledbetter, Erica Goodman,  Jeffrey Ortman, Jessica Renslow, Joseph Rauen, Marisella Lynch and Sam Love.

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Entertainment Editor/Features Reporter

Eloise is A&E Editor and a food, entertainment and features writer for The Times, subjects she has covered for over two decades in and around the Region. She was the youngest of eight in a Chicago household filled with fantastic cooks and artists.