University of Pittsburgh
December 15, 1999


Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH, Dec. 15 - The University of Pittsburgh's internationally-renowned Kuntu Repertory Theatre is one of 32 arts organizations in eight U.S. cities to receive audience development grants from The Arts & Business Council and American Express.

Totaling approximately $300,000, these grants are part of the National Arts Marketing Project (NAMP). The first national initiative of its kind, NAMP replicates a successful pilot program developed by the Arts Marketing Center of the Art & Business Council of Chicago. Grant recipients were selected by a national panel of experts from business, marketing, and the arts.

According to ProArts, a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening, supporting, and promoting the arts in Greater Pittsburgh and which operates NAMP in Pittsburgh, Kuntu Repertory Theatre will receive $20,750 to help it target groups, urban professionals (both Anglo and African American), and increase its marketing efforts.

"It is especially gratifying to receive this grant in this, our 25th anniversary season," said Vernell A. Lillie, Kuntu Repertory Theatre founder and artistic director. "Over a quarter of a century, Kuntu has become Pittsburgh's oldest and largest African-American performing arts organization dedicated to producing theater that explores and celebrates the black experience through the Diaspora, African American, African, and Caribbean playwrights and poets.

"Kuntu gives tribute to the central voices representing the broad spectrum of black culture and history. We are pleased that this grant will enable us to share those voices with a wider audience."

Anyone interested in supporting Kuntu Repertory Theatre through this project should call 412-624-7298.