500 Sails

Dancers from Man Antigo and Simiyan Marianas pose for a photo with the 500 Sails canoe Neni in the background.

500 Sails

(Press Release) — 500 Sails has been approved for a $25,000 Our Town grant to support its Songsong Måmi (Our Village) project. This is one of 63 grants nationwide that the agency has approved in this category to support projects that integrate arts, culture, and design activities into efforts that strengthen communities by advancing local economic, physical, and/or social outcomes; ultimately laying the groundwork for sustainable systems change.

"As the country and the arts sector begin to work towards a post-pandemic world, the National Endowment for the Arts is proud to announce this Our Town funding.  These awards will support cross-sector partnerships such as the one lead by 500 Sails that demonstrate the power of the arts to help communities create a better future for themselves," said NEA Acting Chairman Ann Eilers.

"Songsong Måmi seeks to raise the level and quality of artistic expression of canoe culture by immersing youth in the actual practice of canoe culture. It will involve building canoes, sailing, swimming, and fishing — experiences that parallel pre-colonial life in these islands. These experiences will inform the creation and performance of new Chamorro and Carolinian dances based on canoe cultural themes including canoe building, sailing, voyaging, traditional navigation, and the beauty and power of the sea," said 500 Sails executive director Pete Perez

To support local arts and contribute to the sense of place for our islands, the Songsong Måmi (Our Village) project brings the community new indigenous dances, dance performances, cultural presentations, and experiences building and sailing traditional canoes, all of which further community goals to reclaim artistic expression of the island's traditional maritime heritage that was nearly lost during Colonial eras of occupation, and add to a growing body of indigenous art and cultural resources. Indigenous artists and cultural practitioners will come together on the islands of Saipan and Tinian to create and perform Chamorro and Carolinian dances for the public at art and cultural events. The project official starts on July 1, 2021.

For more information on the other projects included in the Arts Endowment grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news

For more information on the Songsong Måmi project, email info@500sails.org, follow 500 Sails at https://www.facebook.com/500SailsDolphinClubSaipan, or call 500 Sails co-founder Emma Perez at 285-4268.

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