Athens’ own Nuçi’s Space, a mental health advocacy organization centered around music, has been awarded a grant worth $21,587 for “special art projects,” according to a December press release from the Georgia House of Representatives.
The Cultural Facilities Grant is a reimbursement-based grant created by the Georgia Council for the Arts to “support the construction, renovation, or acquisition of a building for arts programs, or the addition of equipment to support arts programs,” according to the GCA’s website.
Nuçi’s Space opened its doors in 2000, four years after Nuçi Phillips, an Athens area musician and University of Georgia student, died by suicide. With a goal of suicide prevention centered around musicians, the organization “advocates for and helps to alleviate the suffering for those living with a brain illness and fights to end the stigma of mental illness,” according to its website.
“Our communities would not be nearly as vibrant without the outpouring of support from organizations like … Nuçi's Space, and I would like to extend my sincerest thanks to the GCA for its commitment to these organizations, as well as other art programs across the state,” Athens-area state Rep. Houston Gaines said in the press release.
Rep. Mark Wiedower of Watkinsville also emphasized in the press release the significance of Nuçi’s Space in the community, saying it is “revered by many as a sacred space for up and coming musicians to develop their craft.”
Maria Antonetti is the evaluation and development associate at Nuçi’s Space, and covered the nuances of the grant, from the application to the individual expenditures it covers.
“Grant writing is a newer endeavor for the organization … we are honestly relying on our donor contributions day-in and day-out,” Antonetti said.
The application included a 16-question, seven-page narrative and a support material package that included letters from individuals such as David Barbe, the University of Georgia’s Director of Music Business, as well as past articles from local outlets, including two from The Red & Black, Antonetti said.
Antonetti said the money awarded covers audio, video, and lighting equipment for Nuçi’s Space in-house recording studio, Amplify, which opened in 2017, as well as its stage. The list includes items from wiring and light bars, to subwoofers and microphones, but the biggest item that the grant is covering is the Apogee Symphony MK II Thunderbolt, which runs for about $3300 in its cheapest model.
Symphony is an audio interface that Antonetti explained can translate live performances and performing tracks into the digital interface, as well as pick up individual lines of sound. That helps with mixing, producing, and helping the band or artist achieve their desired sound.
“Music right now is in such a digital exploration phase. You go onto Spotify, SoundCloud, Bandcamp, YouTube, and all these other online-based services to find new music,” said Antonetti. “While we do have a very strong live performance venue area in Athens, in order to get bands out there and get some coverage and awareness, having a digital identity to put your music out there … that goes across worlds now.”