GOOD DEEDS: Westcoast will spread $45,000 grant around

Categories: Stories of Impact, BELONGING AND CULTURE: Cultural Development & the Arts, BELONGING AND CULTURE: Uniting Community,

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe has received a Strategic Partnership Grant of $45,000 from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.

The funds are to be allocated as follows: $15,000 for the Stage of Discovery youth program; $10,000 for the fall gala, "Groovin' on the Soul Train 2"; $10,000 for WBTT's celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; $5,000 for the Juneteenth Arts Festival; and $5,000 for WBTT's spring fundraiser, the April Fools Fête.Stage of Discovery, which was first offered during the summer of 2016, is a musical theater program that continues to be offered at no cost to the participants. The camp provides weeks of intensive training in singing, acting, dancing and improvisation, and culminates in a full-scale musical production.

The Juneteenth Arts Festival, which debuted in the summer of 2023, featured numerous Black-owned and benefiting businesses, organizations and food vendors, film screenings, spoken word and live music. The 2024 festival is in the planning stages.

The annual Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. features re-enactments of Dr. King's speeches, song and dance.

The Community Foundation-supported events take place on the following dates: Groovin' on the Soul Train 2 (was November 2023); Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Celebrating His Legacy, Jan. 14, 2024 (Sarasota Opera House); April Fools Fête, April 1, 2024 (Michael's On East); and Juneteenth Arts Festival, June 16, 2024 (WBTT campus).

The grant support was provided thanks to the Leslie and Margaret Weller Fund, Zella I. and Junius F. Allen Fund, Francis Wormser Founders Fund, Allen Wirtz Nobbe and Jo Bowen Nobbe Fund, and the George J. & Alice Pugh Donor Advised Fund of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.

To see this story as it originally appeared in Sarasota Herald-Tribune on Dec. 18, 2023, click here.