Veteran’s Spouse Project has been approved for a $10,000 Grants for Arts Projects award from the National Endowment for the Arts to support their Heart to Script monologue series. This project will further VSP’s mission of uplifting and empowering the military spouse’s voice in order to support military families and bridge the gap of understanding between the military and civilian communities. VSP’s project is among 1,125 projects across America (totaling more than $26.6 million) that were selected during this second round of Grants for Arts Projects fiscal year 2022 funding.
“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support arts and cultural organizations throughout the nation with these grants, including Veteran’s Spouse Project, providing opportunities for all of us to live artful lives,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, Ph.D. “The arts contribute to our individual well-being, the well-being of our communities, and to our local economies. The arts are also crucial to helping us make sense of our circumstances from different perspectives as we emerge from the pandemic and plan for a shared new normal informed by our examined experience.”
“Humbled doesn’t even begin to explain how I feel about the support of the NEA for our new Heart to Script monologue series. Their belief in our mission speaks volumes to what we already know here at VSP: that life – especially military life – can best be understood and processed through storytelling and art, so we intend to keep doing just that, thanks in large part to this grant.”
FUTURE HEART TO SCRIPT MONOLOGUE SERIES PROJECT DESCRIPTION
Veteran's Spouse Project Approved for $10,000 Grant for Arts Projects Award from the National Endowment for the Arts Click To Tweet
Through this generous grant from the NEA, the Veteran’s Spouse Project will launch a new Heart to Script monologue series and play in 2023. Through VSP’s Heart to Script writing class offered to veteran and military spouses in late 2022 and early 2023, Amy Uptgraft, VSP founder and artistic director, will help spouses tell their stories, transferring them from heart to paper and creating impactful theatrical monologues. Those pieces will then be workshopped alongside professional actors, allowing for a creative coming together of military and art. Using spouses’ own words to create a documentary theatre piece, the project will culminate in a staged reading and recording of the finished play in Knoxville, TN (where Amy resides). The reading will be followed by a community “talkback” – where VSP will bring some of the performance crew, community partners, and invested organizations out on stage – to address ways of creating cultural competence for a deeper understanding of what military families endure.
We write! Through the gift of the NEA grant, we start by joining hands and jumping into the deep end of the pool. Through our Heart to Script online classes, Amy will help veteran, retired, and active-duty spouses find their voices through writing prompts and sharing, eventually creating dynamic monologues that highlight their own stories in their own words. It all starts with the words. Vulnerable. Authentic. Real. …all the things that VSP stands for.
Next we work… Workshop that is. Moving into spring and summer of 2023, we will offer collaborative and creative workshops between our military spouse writers and theatre professionals, “working” hand in hand as actors, writers, and dramaturgs, shaping the overall arc of each monologue. Amy and others will help to create theatrical “moments” as all the writings are pulled together into one collaborative performance piece to be shared later in 2023.
Then we read. …read the play at a “staged reading” in Knoxville, TN sometime in late 2023. Amy’s hours spent workshopping the script and rehearsing with area actors will culminate in a night of sharing. A staged reading of a new play like this is the step between a cold reading – with the cast usually sitting around a table – and a full production. The audience will help both writers and Amy to gauge the effectiveness of the dialogue, pacing, and flow, along with other dramatic elements. So plan your trip to the Volunteer State now! 😁
Meanwhile, we WATCH – watch and engage for those in our live audience and ALSO for those around the globe. For those not able to attend in person, you will have the ability to WATCH from afar when we professionally record our staged reading! We’ll share this recording on VSP’s YouTube channels and with partnering organizations who have a common mission of military storytelling. Pop some popcorn and get ready for VSP to land right in your living room! 🍿
Lastly, we TALK…via a post-performance “talkback” panel. We will TALK about all the things that the play brings to the surface for our military families by allowing their stories to be heard, TALK with organizations who, like VSP, can help spread a cultural competence within their own communities and beyond, and finally TALK with the audience directly, allowing them to share feedback from their vantage point. The goal will be to foster connections, understanding, and active participation. It’ll be like a giant, post-show lovefest, so be there or be square! 💕😎💕
REACTIONS FROM AMY & LEA
If you missed Amy and Lea’s LIVE, watch it below! You’ll understand what the grant will mean for the milspouses we serve, along with what the details will look like.