‘Out of the Blocks’ wins third National Endowment for the Arts grant

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Image via WYPR-FM

“Out of the Blocks,” Aaron Henkin and Wendel Patrick’s WYPR show chronicling the lives of people on individual city blocks, has received its third grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the station announced today.

The $20,000 grant is one of 977 awarded in the Art Works category by the federal agency.

“We’re extremely grateful for the NEA’s ongoing trust in the philosophy and methodology of ‘Out of the Blocks,'” Henkin, producer of the series, said in a statement. “This award is a real validation of the belief that everyone’s story is worth listening to and learning from.”

On Twitter, Henkin said the grant will allow the show to air stories from West Virginia and Alaska.

Last year, “Out of the Blocks” won a national Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association, citing Henkin and Patrick’s work on 2017 episode “2100 Edmondson.”

“It’s a block where a Pentecostal pastor keeps her faith in the face of suffering, where a reformed drug dealer works as a kitchen appliance repairman, and where a political reporter from Kashmir has found sanctuary working behind the counter at a sandwich shop,” according to a summary of the 48-minute episode. “It’s a block where a former Nigerian soccer star operates an auto repair shop… Next door is an army veteran who issued air-strikes in Iraq and Afghanistan. And across the street is a tire repairman who’s trying to beat a 30-year heroin addiction.”

Per WYPR’s website, a dozen different foundations and nonprofits help support the docu-series, which first aired an episode on the the 3300 block of Greenmount Avenue in 2015 and has since traveled to various parts of the city, as well as Seattle, Chicago and the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

In 2018, the series won a $20,000 National Endowment for the Arts grant, and in 2017, it received $25,000.

Brandon Weigel

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