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Menlo Park Announces Performance Grant Winners

City officials announced what organizations will be receiving up to $1,000 to perform or host an event at the Menlo-Atherton Performing Arts Center.

In a push to make the Menlo-Atherton Performing Arts Center more accessible to local community groups, Menlo Park officials awarded $4,500 in grant funds to five organizations that will now host performances and lectures at the center throughout the year.

The city acknowledged that since it opened in 2009 in a joint use agreement with the Sequoia High School District, the costs of renting the Performing Arts Center for a show have proven prohibitive for many community performance groups. Fees range from $500-$1,000.

The Menlo Park Grant for the Arts (MPGA) was set up in September as a way to provide support to organizations that would otherwise be unable to utilize the center as a venue.

Kepler’s Arts and Lectures, Menlo Park Chorus, Western Ballet, and West Bay Opera all received $1,000 grants; Menlowe Ballet received $500. MPGA grants were awarded to a total of 27 local arts organizations, according to a memo presented to the city’s Parks and Recreation Committee on Wednesday.

A committee composed of Menlo Park's Community Services Director, the Recreation Coordinator for the Center and the Community Services Manager reviewed eight applications in all. They accepted applications from October 1st through December 1st of last year for events scheduled between January and July of 2013.

Subsequent to a review, they selected five winners based on criteria such as the organization’s proximity to the City of Menlo Park and the degree to which presenting at the center would aid the organization. Other items of consideration were the intended use of the center, the organization’s marketing plan, and the educational elements of the performances the winners would provide for the Menlo-Atherton community.

Reasons for elimination from consideration included scheduling conflicts, a lack of connection with the Menlo Park community, and incomplete applications.

Community groups interested in applying for the next cycle of MPGA funds will be able to do so in the spring between May 1st and June 1st for performances and events held that would be held through September 2013 and July 2014.

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