Art Works Blog

New Our Town Grant Announced for Dead End

Zombie pop art. Based on the photo Zombie Head 2 by flickr user welovethedark

Today, the NEA is pleased to announce a $50,000 Our Town grant for the town of Dead End. A unique artist enclave in the Afterworld, Dead End will use its grant money to further enhance the spiritual life of its residents.

Once a veritable zombie land, Dead End began gaining a reputation with the deaths of artists such as Andy Warhol, Edgar Allan Poe, and Mary Cassatt. Seeking out the creative camaraderie of fellow corpses, artist after artist began moving in, essentially creating a bohemia of the great beyond. The grant monies issued by the Arts Endowment will be used to commission several new works by resident artists, including a large-scale painting by Warhol (prototype seen above), a new tale by Mark Twain about two boys who raft down the River Styx, and a sequel to Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman. These works will be presented at a community festival on November 1, 2012, which will feature the music of Las Calaveras, a popular Mexican folk group, and will showcase artisanal crafts from local shroud-weavers, coffin planers, and spider web spinners. We spoke with project manager Graham Reaper about his community's new Our Town grant and what he hopes it will accomplish.

NEA: What do you hope this grant will bring to the residents of the Dead End?

GRAHAM REAPER: Well, I hope it will give us new life, so to speak. We have so many creative souls here who are still eager to produce, and I'd like to better take advantage of their talents. One day, I hope we'll be known as "The place where great art goes to die."

NEA: Why is it important to have arts and culture at the table when planning community revitalization efforts?

REAPER: Without art and culture, Dead End would be hell. Literally. There is no need for eternity to be a soul-sucking, brain-rotting void. Let's give it color. Let's give it pizzazz.

NEA: How do you view the relationship between art and death?

REAPER: From beautifully crafted death masks and Native ghost dances, to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Bram Stoker's Dracula, we dead have provided the land of the living with endless artistic material. It's actually been a point of contention at times. For example, we're currently looking to get a cut of the profits from some of the current zombie franchises, but I fear that effort may be DOA.

Boo! The Art Works blog decided to have a little fun on Halloween. We will be back this afternoon with our regular postings.

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