Announcing the 2023 Rebecca Blunk Fund Awards

Unrestricted grants recognize a Connecticut dance artist and a Vermont storyteller

top left: Deborah Goffe, photo by Jim Coleman; bottom right: Ferene Paris Meyer, photo by Matthew Binginot

(Boston, MA) The New England Foundation for the Arts is pleased to announce the 2023 awardees of the Rebecca Blunk Fund: Deborah Goffe of Hartford, CT, and Ferene Paris Meyer of Burlington, VT. Each recipient receives $5,000 in unrestricted funding.

The Rebecca Blunk Fund was established in 2014 in memory of Rebecca Blunk (1953-2014) and celebrates her 29 years of service to the New England Foundation for the Arts along with her abiding passion for the arts. Honoring Rebecca’s desire to support artistic creation, connection, and curation, the Fund awards annual grants to New England artists whose work demonstrates creative excellence and deep community engagement.

“Both Deborah and Ferene’s work involves building communities, which is deeply resonant with what the Rebecca Blunk Fund honors. We are excited to see what is next for each of these artists,” said Jane Preston, deputy director, programs, at NEFA.

Acknowledging Rebecca’s long service and expertise as part of the NEFA staff, artist nominations are made by NEFA staff with comments by external advisors.

The 2023 awardees are:      

Deborah Goffe

Deborah Goffe holds her hands up and bends her right leg. She is a Black woman with her hair pulled back.
Deborah Goffe; photo by Jim Coleman

Deborah Goffe is a dance artist, educator, and performance curator based in Hartford, CT.

In 2002, she founded Scapegoat Garden as her vehicle for her creative work, exploring human connections and embodied experience in relationship to spaces, communities, identities and interdisciplinarity. Her work has been featured across New England, New York, and internationally in Finland, Italy, and Cape Verde. She has received multiple NEFA grants to support her work and was a cohort member of the National Dance Project’s regional initiative, New England Now.

As an educator, Deborah has taught at a number of institutions across the country and internationally. She is currently Executive Director of Austin Arts Center and Artist-in-Residence of Theater and Dance at Trinity College.

For upcoming events, follow Deborah Goffe/Scapegoat Garden on Instagram @scapegoatgarden.

Ferene Paris Meyer

Ferene has her hair pulled back into a small 'fro. She is a Black woman. She speaks into a microphone and wears orange framed glasses.
Ferene Paris Meyer; photo by Matthew Binginot

Ferene Paris Meyer is a storyteller and the founder of All Heart Inspirations based in Burlington, VT.

All Heart Inspirations creates heart-centered spaces through storytelling workshops, community engagement, and more. Known for her passionate voice, Ferene has performed on various stages and venues, including sail boats across Lake Champlain for her annual Juneteenth Sailing Celebration

Aspiring to make a collective difference within her local community and beyond one story at a time, All Heart has done over 120 storytelling offerings since 2020. “Creating space for people to share their stories is both liberating and inspiring. I feel honored to do this heart-centered work, living out my life’s purpose in various ways,” shared Ferene Paris Meyer.

Ferene has received funding through NEFA’s New England States Touring program for her work with Burlington City Arts’ “All Heart in the Park” summer spoken word series. This year, one of her Vermont Public features on Homegoings was nominated for an Emmy in Best Interview/Discussion category. 

For upcoming events, follow All Heart Inspirations on Instagram.

About Rebecca Blunk

Rebecca came to NEFA from the Nebraska Arts Council in 1985 as the director of performing arts and then served as deputy director for ten years before being named executive director in 2004. Under her leadership, the organization brought important resources to New England, strengthening its capacity to connect artists and communities through regional, national, and international programs.

A tireless champion of the arts – from public art, the visual arts, music, dance, theater, and puppetry – Rebecca’s unwavering presence was felt across the arts and culture landscape, through her work in performing arts creation and touring, the creative economy, Native American arts, and cultural exchange on an international scale. Throughout her career, she derived deep personal reward from the artists and administrators with whom she worked.

NEFA welcomes donations to the fund on an ongoing basis; as with all donations to NEFA, donations to the Rebecca Blunk Fund are fully tax deductible.

About NEFA

The New England Foundation for the Arts invests in artists and communities and fosters equitable access to the arts, enriching the cultural landscape in New England and the nation. NEFA accomplishes this by granting funds to artists and cultural organizations; connecting them to each other and their audiences; and analyzing their economic contributions. NEFA serves as a regional partner for the National Endowment for the Arts, New England’s state arts agencies, and private foundations. Learn more at


Ann Wicks | 617-423-1390




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