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Wilson Arts awards $66K in recovery grants

Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park visitors take in the sights during Wilson’s annual N.C. Whirligig Festival. Drew C. Wilson | Times file photo

Wilson Arts has awarded $66,250 worth of recovery grants to organizations and individuals as part of its Cultural Organization Recovery Grant program.

The program, which is giving $50,000 to organizations and $16,250 to individuals, is supported by American Rescue Plan money earmarked for the National Endowment for the Arts.


The ProMusic Conservatory received $5,000 to restart its ensemble and classes for 2022-23. The money will cover operating costs for six months, allowing a larger focus on recruiting for early childhood classes and ensembles as well as individual lessons.

Another $5,000 went to the Elite Vocal Ensemble for materials including a music education library, rent for rehearsal spaces and recording equipment.

Eyes on Main Street received $15,000 to support 12 months of its photography residency program.

The program brings photographers from around the world to Wilson to photograph the financially and culturally diverse Southern city over the course of a month.

At the end of the program, Eyes on Main Street will hold a group exhibition of resident photographers’ work. Images will remain on display for five months, and the exhibition will coincide with the 100-day Eyes on Main Street Wilson Outdoor Photography Festival.

Half of the $50,000 total directed to organizations went to the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park and Museum to support conservation staff, utilities, operating costs and an education manager position. The grant will also help with property insurance for the whirligigs.


A trio of individuals received a total of $16,250 in grants.

Flor Herrera-Picasso and Maria Ramirez received $8,000 and $5,750, respectively, for art at three Casa Azul de Wilson events including a Hispanic Heritage Month festival, Dia De Los Muertos and the Me Siento Muy Excited festival.

Herrea-Picasso’s grant will be used for temporary visual are installations, while Ramirez’s will be used for temporary murals.

Juan Carlos Duron Martinez was given $2,500 for a mural on the exterior wall around the R. Woody Harrison Jr. Pollinator Garden behind the Imagination Station Science & History Museum.