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Release: Immediate

Largest grant in Hancher history will support partnership

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A grant to University of Iowa's Hancher Auditorium from the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund will help support a partnership between Hancher and three other presenters in Iowa: the Burlington Civic Music Association, the Center for Faith and Life at Luther College in Decorah, and the Pella Opera House.

The grant of $302,900 over three years is the largest ever received by Hancher Auditorium.

The grant will support a program to expand arts audiences in the 25-44 age group, thereby increasing the audience base for Hancher and the three regional presenters. Artists involved in the project come from three different artistic disciplines: from dance, Taylor 2, the junior company of the Paul Taylor Dance Company; from jazz, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra Sextet; and from classical chamber music, the Ahn Trio.

Each group will have performances and residencies at each of the four communities in two of the three years of the grant.

Wally Chappell, the director of Hancher Auditorium, commented on the grant: "This grant will allow Hancher and the University of Iowa to play an expanding role in raising the consciousness of the arts over a large region. This is a role that we have been playing for years, but now we can do our part more thoroughly.

"The long-term nature of the grant, extending from 1998 to 2001, will enable us to plan more carefully.

"The Hancher staff looks forward to working closely with the presenters in Burlington, Decorah and Pella to arrange for master classes, informal talks and performances in order to interest new audiences in contemporary dance, jazz and chamber music."

The grant to Hancher Auditorium is one of ten grants nationally, totaling

$3.3 million, from the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund's Audiences for Performing Arts Network. M Christine DeVitas, president of the fund, said, "Our experience has been that presenters can generate substantial increases in their audiences when they sponsor extended artists' residencies that enable performing groups to work in a community over a multi-year period. We've also seen that bringing organizations together in a network deepens the impact of individual presenters' work."