Junebug Productions, a 40-year-old local and national leader in performing arts, has announced the establishment of the John O’Neal Cultural Arts Fellowship.

Through contributions from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew Mellon Foundation, five local artists – whose work is entrenched in the community – will be awarded more than $100,000 in direct support for their work towards the New Orleans Arts and Cultural landscape.

The fellowship was announced as part of Junebug’s 40th anniversary celebration, honoring the legacy and work of the late founder – John O’Neal. O’Neal was an activist, actor, playwright, member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and co-founder of the Free Southern Theatre. As a major contributor to the Black Arts Movement, Mr. O’Neal’s work was rooted in bridging the gap between art and activism.

“The John O’Neal Cultural Arts Fellows illustrate the ways in which art and culture flourishes in our city, playing an active and vital role in not only our local arts ecosystem but the national arts ethos,” said Junebug Productions’ executive artistic director, Stephanie McKee-Anderson.

Today, Junebug Productions continues the efforts it was founded by, as a successor of the Free Southern Theatre. Junebug Productions has toured 12 original productions to over 46 states and has presented many touring productions and local artists in New Orleans.