After exiling a music festival that it played host to last year, the town of Byers
is now embracing an arts organization once vilified as America’s most controversial government agency.
For those who missed it, the small rural community — which is located 40 miles west of Denver — rose up against Riot Fest
, a three-day event that citizens feared would turn Byers into “the wrong kind of town for families and farmers.” Earlier this month, concerned citizens managed to block permits for the festival, which was schedule to be held in September and has been selling tickets since March.
Yesterday, Byers was announced as the recipient of a $25,000 “Our Town”
grant from the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA),
a government agency that became notorious for funding “Piss Christ,” Andred Serrano
’s infamous portrayal of a crucifix submerged urine.
As far as any of us know, the NEA has since cleaned up its act, so folks in Byers should have nothing to worry about. But for how long?