Woodlawn Arts Academy is the recipient of a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) and will use the money to expand funding for their partner program The Penguin Project of the Sauk Valley.
The Penguin Project is a unique theatre experience that provides individuals with special needs the opportunity to participate in the performing arts. Cast members have the opportunity to experience the process of putting on a show: auditioning, rehearsing, and finally taking to the stage to perform
a modified version of a well-known Broadway musical. Cast members are joined on stage by peer mentors who work alongside them during the entire show process.
Christy Zepezauer, executive director for Woodlawn Arts Academy, said the Academy is a proud partner of The Penguin Project of the Sauk Valley. “What an honor to receive the National Endowment of the Arts grant to assist and expand upon our performing arts offerings to individuals with special needs in our community,” she said. “Thanks to the efforts of The Penguin Project of the Sauk Valley, the NEA grant and the support of the Sauk Valley area, Woodlawn will continue to grow and live by our motto of ‘Where the Arts are for Everyone.’”
Besides helping with production costs such as costumes and sets for the group’s annual musical theatre productions, the grant will be used to start a choir for adults with special needs.
“On behalf of the of the directors and board members of Penguin Project of the Sauk Valley, we wanted to say thank you to Woodlawn Arts
Academy for not only being such a supportive partner to our program, but also for helping us get this grant,” said Dawn Arndt, program director for
Penguin Project of the Sauk Valley. “We are so excited that not only will we be able to create a magical show for our actors with costume upgrades
and screen projections, but will be able to use part of this grant to partner with Woodlawn to create a choir for adults with special needs.”
Woodlawn Arts Academy
3807 Woodlawn Road, Sterling, IL 61081 • (815) 626-4ART (4278)