NEA Funds Theater Play Exploring ‘Impact of the Gun and Gun Violence’

The play “gUN COUNTRY”, which has received sponsorship from New Yorkers Against Gun Violence and the Brady Campaign To Stop Gun Violence is also receiving some additional support this year from American taxpayers, in the form of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

The $10,000 grant supports the theatrical production from the Houses On The Moon Theater Company of Jackson Heights, New York through June of this year.

The theater company’s website explains how the production was put together.

Over the past few months, Houses on the Moon Theater Company has conducted a series of creative storytelling workshops with people whose lives have been directly touched by gun violence.  This remarkable group is united in their belief that their stories of violence, loss, struggle and healing are an essential part of the national conversation about guns.

Our ensemble includes:

  • a mother who has harnessed her grief over the loss of her murdered son into a traveling memorial of some 3,000 pairs of sneakers, one for every teen killed the year her son died
  • a young man who is coping with his near death experience after being struck by a stray bullet, by daily photographing and blogging his recovery
  • a New York City police officer who formerly served in the US Navy”

With the help of our community partners, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence and the States United to Prevent Gun Violence, this is the first part of a longer developmental process we are conducting to develop an original theater piece that explores the impact of the gun and gun violence on American life,” the website says.

The NEA grant will also include “Trajectories” from Houses on The Moon Theater, described as “a live storytelling program of stories from people whose lives have been touched by guns.”

The NEA grant abstract informs us that this “art” (certainly not a push for a political agenda, right?) features “Post-show discussions (that) will include experts on violence intervention, psychologists, epidemiologists and policy makers.”

This funding is consistent with the $35,000 the NEA granted to the production of “American Song” in Milwaukee, Wisc. last year.

In its grant abstract, the Milwaukee Repertory Theater said the play, about a parent dealing with the aftermath of a school shooting, “will generate local dialogue surrounding gun violence and add new perspectives to the national debate.”

"From access to mental health services, to the proliferation of assault weapons, to the challenges children face on the path to adulthood, American Song asks what happened to Walt Whitman’s ideal of the unified American voice," the United Performing Arts Fund said in a press release on the production and grant award.

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