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In the Spotlight
May 12, 2021

St. Francis College to Receive $20,000 Grant From the National Endowment for the Arts

St. Francis College has been approved for a $20,000 Grants for Arts Projects award to support "The Blues Society," a documentary film directed by Augusta Palmer, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Communications Arts.

This grant will fund the completion of a documentary about an annual blues festival held in Memphis Tennessee during the 1960s. St. Francis College's project is among the more than 1,100 projects across America totaling nearly $27 million that were selected during this second round of Grants for Arts Projects fiscal year 2021 funding.

"As the country and the arts sector begin to imagine returning to a post-pandemic world, the National Endowment for the Arts is proud to announce funding that will help organizations such as St. Francis College reengage fully with partners and audiences," said NEA Acting Chairman Ann Eilers. "Although the arts have sustained many during the pandemic, the chance to gather with one another and share arts experiences is its own necessity and pleasure."

"The Blues Society" is a documentary feature that tells the story of the Memphis Country Blues Festival (1966-1970). In segregated Memphis, blues masters and beatniks created a utopian event which rocked the foundations of a conservative world. The film weaves together hypnotic and unforgettable performances with the voices of a large and diverse cast to create a nuanced re-evaluation of the 1960s.

"I am thrilled to have my project be selected by the NEA for funding and grateful to St. Francis College for serving as my partner in making this film," said Dr. Palmer. "'The Blues Society' is about the intersection of blues music, race and the counterculture in Memphis, Tennessee during the 1960s. I'm honored to have interviewed so many participants in these events and excited to share their stories with the world."

For more information on the projects included in the Arts Endowment grant announcement, visit

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