Stowe Story Labs has received a $20,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for its “Opportunity Gap” program for outreach and inclusion of diverse participants.

Stowe Story Labs was founded in 2013 to help emerging screenwriters and filmmakers develop their craft and projects.

Now, after eight years, more than 400 artists from 40 states and 15 countries have been admitted to Stowe’s labs and retreats.

Stowe’s participants are 70 percent women; 30 percent represent diverse voices, 15 percent are over 50, and more than 40 percent are socio-economically disadvantaged.

Stowe awards 10 fellowships and dozens of scholarships and development grants annually. With this grant, Stowe will be able to support many more emerging artists.

The purpose of the Opportunity Gap grant is to allow Stowe Story Labs to support artists otherwise often sidelined from the international, independent film and television industries.

“These awards demonstrate the resilience of the arts in America, showcasing not only the creativity of their arts projects but the organizations’ agility in the face of a national health crisis,” said Mary Anne Carter, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. “We celebrate organizations like Stowe Story Labs for providing opportunities for learning and engagement through the arts in these times.”

“We are proud to receive and deeply appreciative of the NEA for making this award,” said David Rocchio, founder and director of Stowe Story Labs. “Our mission is to nurture and support talented writers and filmmakers from all walks of life and backgrounds. We do all we can to make programs available to all qualified applicants, but many get left behind.

“Supporting screenwriters and filmmakers from diverse, underrepresented backgrounds to make films and shows for general audiences can only enrich our culture and create empathy for others,” Rocchio said. “Now, maybe more than ever, we need such stories.”

Information: stowestorylabs.org.

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In all, nine Vermont organizations will receive grants totaling $972,800 from the National Endowment for the Arts through this round of funding.

In addition, a $765,300 grant to the Vermont Arts Council will support arts programs, services and activities throughout the state

Other Vermont recipients: Community Engagement Lab, Montpelier, $55,000; Flynn Center for the Performing Arts (on behalf of Burlington Discover Jazz Festival), $37,500; Shelburne Museum, $20,000; Dorset Theatre Festival, $15,000; New Music on the Point, Brandon, $10,000; Opera Company of Middlebury, $10,000.

The Vermont Folklife Center in Middlebury received an NEA partnership award of $40,000.

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