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Dreamcatcher, Lydia Johnson Dance Receive Dodge Foundation Grants

The total grant awards to arts organizations are down 30 percent from last year.

While total grant awards to New Jersey arts organizations from the Morristown-based Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation dropped 30 percent from last year, two South Orange institutions have held on to most of their funding.

Due to plummeting investments, the foundation has been obliged to scale back its grant awards and to cancel the 2010 Dodge Poetry Festival, but South Orange's Lydia Johnson Dance will receive the same $10,000 it got in 2008, it was announced this week. which has a space at the Baird, will also receive $10,000, which is $5,000 less than it received last year but consistent with the 25 to 33 percent cuts that many grantees experienced.

SOPAC was not among the grantees, but according to Director of Marketing and Communications Scott Sullivan, organizations must be invited to apply, and grants go to institutions that produce their own work.

Dreamcatcher's artistic director Laura Ekstrand said she was relieved to learn that the company was still going to receive funding, since the Dodge Foundation reduced its arts grantees from 92 to 83 this year. "We're so grateful that we're even on the list," said Ekstrand, who pointed out that larger organizations that saw their funding cut from something like $75,000 to $35,000 were in a worse spot. "I thought it was either going to be zero or something like 10 [thousand]."

She's also waiting to hear about the New Jersey State Council on the Arts awards, which will be announced next week. Dreamcatcher received $5,000 from that source last year and has an annual budget of about $100,000, drawn from grants, private donations, fundraising, educational programs and earned income from ticket sales. If the grant portion had been cut out entirely, the company might have been obliged to cut mainstage shows out of the season and focus on less costly cabarets and improv comedy performances. Ekstrand says they'll have to assess where they stand after next week.

"It's incredibly flattering that they (Dodge) took a long, hard look at us and decided we were worth supporting," she said.

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