A scene from the play "The Cocoonery." Photo courtesy SMCM.
ST. MARY'S CITY, Md. - Merideth Taylor, St. Mary's College of Maryland professor of theater and dance, won a 2007 Individual Artist Award in Playwriting from the Maryland State Arts Council for her original full-length drama, "The Cocoonery."
Inspired by events and stories from the Civil War and Reconstruction Era in St. Mary's County, Maryland, "The Cocoonery" was produced in April 2006 as part of the department of theater, film and media studies main stage season. Nationally prominent actor/director Thomas W. Jones II was the guest director.
"This play provided an intimate look at the lives of African-American families after the Civil War," says Jane Margaret O'Brien, president of St. Mary's College of Maryland. "It shows the adjustment from slavery to freedom and is an example of the creative work that has earned Merideth Taylor so much acclaim. Merideth is a driving force in the College and in this community."
Taylor received the Maryland State Arts Council 2003 Individual Artist Award in Playwriting in 2003. She also received a St. Mary's County Human Relations Commission Community Service Award in 2003 and a Carter Woodson/Martin Luther King Leadership Award in 2000.
Taylor's original plays have been presented in New York by The New York Times Foundation Young Artist Series and Through Her Eyes: Women of Color in the Arts Festival. In Washington, her plays have been at Arena Stage and the H Street Playhouse.
Taylor received her B.A. in theater and dance from The Evergreen State College and her MFA equiva-lency in theater from Southern Illinois University. She has taught at Southern Illinois University, Webster University, the University of Denver, and Indiana University. She has been with SMCM since 1990, and was theater department chair from 1999-2003.
The Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Awards are grants awarded to Maryland artists through an anonymous, competitive process to encourage and sustain their pursuit of artistic excellence.
The Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) is an agency of the State of Maryland, under the authority of the Department of Business and Economic Development, Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts. Since it was established in 1967, the purpose of the Council has been "to create a nurturing climate for the arts in the State" as stated in its founding legislation.
The Council is an appointed body of 17 citizens. Thirteen are named by the Governor to three-year terms, which are renewable once. Two private citizens and two legislators are appointed by the President of the Senate and by the Speaker of the House. Councilors serve without salary.
To carry out its mission, the MSAC awards grants to not-for-profit, tax-exempt organizations for ongoing arts programming and arts projects. The MSAC awards grants to individual artists, and provides technical and advisory assistance to individuals and groups. The Council also carries out programs of its own to enhance the cultural life of the residents of Maryland. The MSAC receives its funds in an annual appropriation from the State of Maryland and from grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. The Council may also receive contributions from private, non-governmental sources.