Arena Stage Receives Excellence Award

December 06, 2006


Contact: Mary Trudel
Senior Communications Officer
The Wallace Foundation


              $1 Million Challenge Grant in Support of Endowment
                         Dedicated  to Increasing Arts Participation

Washington, D.C. December 6, 2006 – Highly successful efforts by Arena Stage to attract diverse communities to plays that portray the American spirit have been recognized by The Wallace Foundation with a $1 million Excellence Award challenge grant.  The Excellence Award grant was announced today as part of Arena’s Next Stage Campaign presentation.  This is the latest in a series of grants totaling more than $3 Million from the Foundation to Arena Stage in the past 20 years.

The Wallace Foundation Excellence Awards recognize leading arts organizations that are effectively building participation in the arts.  Other organizations so honored include: Steppenwolf Theater Company, Chicago; Jazz at Lincoln Center, NY; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; The Boston Symphony, MA; and New Jersey Performing Arts Center, NJ. 

Over the course of a four-year period, the grant will be matched at a one-to-one ratio, to expand an endowment fund dedicated to participation building activities.  “Arena Stage has pioneered efforts to build frequent attendance from the Washington DC metro area that reflects its population and has succeeded in diversifying its audience so that it is 1/3 African American.  We applaud Arena’s sophisticated market research techniques, that have helped identify and understand potential audiences, and its creative social networking tactics and dynamic programming which embrace new audiences and keep them coming back for more!” said Rory MacPherson, Senior Program Officer at The Wallace Foundation.

“The Excellence Awards honor organizations that have made a commitment to engage more people deeply in the arts part of their DNA,” said Christine DeVita, President of The Wallace Foundation. “We created these awards to encourage organizations to sustain and expand the impact of their work with local constituencies and to draw national attention to the importance of engaging more people in the arts to the health and growth of the arts field. Arena Stage’s work is exemplary and has generated broadly-applicable lessons and practices that will be helpful to the field.”

The Wallace Foundation
The Wallace Foundation is an independent, national foundation dedicated to supporting and sharing effective ideas and practices that expand learning and enrichment opportunities for all people. Its three current objectives are: strengthening education leadership to improve student achievement; enhancing out-of-school learning opportunities; and expanding participation in arts and culture. More information and research on these and other related topics can be found at The Wallace Foundation Knowledge Center at or by calling 212-251-9810.