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Stage Is Set for Complete Tales of the West

Theater * Autry Museum of Western Heritage teams with Native Voices company to nurture new works.


To make ends meet, the Autry-Native Voices initiative is investigating possible partnerships with groups such as A.S.K. Theatre Projects, and is drawing on local resources. UCLA's American Indian Studies Program is helping to develop plans for community interaction, and the Mark Taper Forum, which offered a Native American New Play Reading series at the Taper, Too, in 1995, has provided a mailing list. Grant proposals have been sent to the National Endowment for the Arts and the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, and letters to private donors, such as the Ford Foundation, are also planned.

"I'm pretty sure that the arts commission will come through," said Dave Burton, primary grant writer at the Autry. "Part of their mission is creating new work and making art more accessible--and these readings are free."

More Respectability With Autry Connection

Through the Autry collaboration, Reinholz says, Native Voices has turned a corner. The museum connection makes for respectability--and increased opportunity.

"We're now in touch with what's happening in the arts nationally, such as the Smithsonian's new Native American Building and the Piquot Museum and Research Center in Connecticut," he said. "And we're talking about working with Geiogamah's Project Hoop, a UCLA effort to incorporate drama into the curricula of tribal colleges. We'd take L.A. actors into the Black Hills and feature some of their artists at the Autry--championing them, providing a way into the business."

For the museum, too, the program is a win-win situation, a way of bolstering credibility.

"We were set up 11 years ago with $54 million from the Autry Foundation," Nottage said. "But no matter what people think, we're not just about cowboys and more cowboys."

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