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MSF starts 2013 with great news

Posted: Jan. 21, 2013 at 3:40 p.m.

JACKSON - The Michigan Shakespeare Festival is starting 2013 with plenty of good news, thanks to two significant donations and grants it was recently awarded.

The MSF, the official Shakespeare Festival of the State of Michigan, has been awarded a POPS grant of $19,000 from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs with the support of National Endowment for the Arts. The grant was awarded through the MCACA peer review process and was one of 233 applications to compete for MCACA fiscal year 2012 funding. The award was announced by John Bracey, MCACA executive director.

"We are pleased that the Michigan Council has recognized the MSF's contribution to a vibrant arts and cultural scene that is important to strong communities and Michigan's excellent quality-of-life, and ultimately, to Michigan's economy," said MSF Board Chair Gerry Blanchard. It is the largest grant received by MSF from MCACA in the theater's history.

Organizations receiving a MCACA grant award are required to match those funds with other public and private dollars. The festival is seeking community matching dollars through its "$19K for 19 Seasons" campaign that is currently under way. "We are nearly half way to our goal," said Blanchard, "but we will need help from more of our friends to complete the match process. Donations of any size will be most welcome."

In addition, the Douglas J Aveda Institute of East Lansing will donate $13,887.77 to the Jackson-based festival as part of its 2012 local Holiday Charity Giving campaign. The announcement was made by Peter Eicher, event and promotion coordinator for Douglas J Companies, which operates Aveda institutes, spas and salons in Michigan, Illinois and Tennessee. "It was such a pleasure to be on the front lines of our company and having the opportunity to create relationships with you and your team this year," said Eicher. "I hope it is something we can continue to do, not just around the Holidays, but throughout the year."

"We're grateful to have Douglas J working with us this holiday season," said MSF artistic director Janice L Blixt. "This partnership helps us tremendously as we prepare for the 2013 MSF season, It also helps us continue our touring productions of 'Macbeth' and 'Romeo & Juliet' for high school audiences throughout of southeast and south central Michigan."

To select a charity for the Holiday Giving Campaign, the Institute solicited nominations of local area charitable organizations. The Michigan Shakespeare Festival received more nominations than any group in the greater Lansing area. Voting for nominated charities took place on Facebook, where followers of different organizations were asked to vote for their favorite charity. After weeks of voting, again the Michigan Shakespeare Festival topped the votes with 1,560 - thereby making MSF the Douglas J Aveda Holiday Giving Partner. Partners are gifted with a percentage of Douglas J holiday sales.

MSF's Blanchard also noted that supporters of the festival played a crucial role in obtaining this donation. "Credit for our selection as the Douglas J Giving Partner goes to the many who voted for the festival. We are very proud of the broad base of support the festival has established over our 19 years."

The Michigan Shakespeare Festival's 2013 season, featuring "Twelfth Night," "King John," and Oliver Goldsmith's "She Stoops to Conquer" runs July 18 to Aug. 18 at the Potter Center in Jackson, located at 2111 Emmons Road, 49201.

For more information about the festival, the Shakespeare high school tour, group bookings, or season tickets, please call 517-998-3673, e-mail the festival at, or visit

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