AmEx Funds Audience Development

The Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. has received a $125,000 two-year grant from American Express, while the Pennsylvania Ballet in Philadelphia garnered a whopping $150,000 two-year grant, also from American Express.

The East Coast arts institutions are only two among a dozen-plus cultural centers nationwide that have been awarded American Express monies (totaling $1.5 million) to fund outreach programs, performances, or other initiatives designed to draw new audiences to the arts.

Founded in 1997, the American Express Performing Arts Fund was created to assist performing arts organizations across the United States in developing and sustaining broader audiences. To date, American Express has given nearly $5 million to more than 50 organizations in 17 states and the District of Columbia.

The biggest award-winner this year is the Robert W. Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta, Georgia, the recipient of $225,000 over two years. The grant was awarded to support "Spirit and Splendor: Woodruff Arts Center Celebrates Atlanta's Diversity," a program that attempts to diversify its audiences and will culminate with a series of cultural performances at a Woodruff Arts Center Festival.

Applications for grants are made through invitation only.