As the technology continues to advance, there have been more innovative ways for the theater and dance studios to bring shows to life. Creating a magical experience often involves the use of backdrops and other scenery to bring the show to life. While there are many organizations including high schools that take advantage of using these tools for their shows, it is an unfortunate truth that the first programs to get cut are usually arts programs. This leaves teachers and other organizations no choice but to cut back on how many shows they do, simply because of lack of funding.
Grosh Backdrops and Drapery is no stranger to the performing arts world, as well as other outlets. After launching Grosh Digital in 2017, the company knew it was time to take steps that would help the arts community and keep its spirits alive. This new leap took the form of the Grosh Cares Grant, which would provide aid to programs that need the extra funds to continue to do the productions they love so much.
Here, Dance Informa speaks with Amanda Uhlein, president of Grosh Backdrops and Drapery, about the brainstorming process of the Grosh Cares Grant.
“For about three to four years, this idea was in the back of our mind,” Uhlein shares. “We try to reach out to our clientele from year to year. It is sometimes hard for these programs to find the funds to put on such big shows, and they are in need of support. We held a lot of meetings, and although we do a lot of marketing and invest in inventory, we wanted to find a way to invest in our customers.”
Because schools are a key market, Grosh set out to find a way that programs could carve out funds with which they could utilize the grant for year. This was a good test case for Grosh, and there is no time like the present for this grant to launch. Although it is only weeks old, the Grosh Cares Grant has proven to be a solid move in the spirit of supporting the arts and furthering programs, especially in schools. The process for applying for the grant is fairly simple, and in the spirit of inclusivity, all schools, theaters and dance companies are able to apply.
“Once the company or program has submitted their information, we ask for photos of how they’ve used scenery, drapery, go-bos, et cetera,” explains Uhlein. “We want to know about what they do, so we also ask for a paragraph or two where they can explain what they want to use the grant for. It is all about improving their environment and theatre more.”
Grosh hopes to receive a couple hundred applications, and so far, the news of the Grosh Cares Grant has gained momentum. For those interested in applying, there are three prizes awarded once a winner is chosen, including the Grand Prize ($2,500), Runner Up ($1,500) and Third Place ($750). Once a winner is announced, Grosh will cut them a check for the award.
Because this movement has gained so much strength, Grosh is striving to reach more and more programs to better explain the benefits of this amazing grant. From March 20-23, Grosh will be attending the USITT Trade Show, which focuses on high school technology, to present the Grosh Cares Grant in more detail for people who may want to submit an application. Grosh will also showcase hand-painted backdrops, as well as projected backdrops. According to Uhlein, the hope is to announce a winner by May 1 of this year so that schools can use the funds for fall performances.
As Grosh continues to show its passion for the arts and its customers by giving the back, the future is bright for the Grosh Cares Grant.
“I hope that this grant keeps growing and that we can reach more people over time,” Uhlein says. “This year, there will be some surprises and additional opportunities like savings and gifts for those who may not win the grant right away. It’s about helping more than just the winners and having a broader reach. For teachers, it is a chance to foster growth in their programs and it is great to know that the Grosh Cares Grant can support in some way. The trade shows and customers we encounter is what Grosh is passionate about. It’s what we do.”
For more information on how to apply for the Grosh Cares Grant, head to www.grosh.com/grosh-cares-grant.
By Monique George of Dance Informa.