Dayton Performing Arts Alliance Receives Major NEA Grant for AIR Program

By David Salazar

The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance (DPAA) has been awarded an $18,000 grant by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) through its Grants for Arts Project.

The grant aims to expand DPAA’s current Opera Artists-in-Residence (AIR) program and provide additional support for the professional and artistic development of the artists. The expanded AIR program is set to commence in September 2023.

The program supports singers as they make the transition from university or conservatory education to the professional opera field. AIR participants are selected through auditions and have the opportunity to showcase their talents in DPAA’s Ballet, Opera, and Philharmonic productions. In addition to their performances, they serve as ambassadors for the Dayton Opera, actively participating in educational and community outreach initiatives across southwest Ohio.

The expansion of the AIR program will allow for a greater emphasis on artistic training and the development of a professional portfolio. Additionally, it will provide Artists-in-Residence with opportunities to interact with the community by organizing opera recitals and concerts in senior living facilities, schools, and smaller venues across the region. While performance experience remains the primary focus for AIR participants, DPAA recognizes the importance of a well-rounded skill set for long-term success. Consequently, the program offers time for AIRs to gain practical knowledge in finance, marketing, engagement, and production within the arts industry, equipping them to thrive in a demanding artistic landscape.

“I’m thrilled,” said Kathleen Clawson, Artistic Director of the Dayton Opera and Dr. Ron Anderson and Robb Sloan-Anderson Chair in an official press statement. “This generous NEA grant will provide our AIRs with many opportunities and enhance their experience. Not only will the artists benefit, but the Dayton region will as well. An extended residence means more opera outreach and learning programs will be accessible to all ages, contributing to DPAA’s driving purpose of ensuring everyone has the opportunity to fall in love with the arts.”