New Harmony Project
The Robert Lee Blaffer Foundations support of The New Harmony Project commenced shortly after the Projects inception in 1986 when a group of theatre, film, and television professionals gathered in Indianapolis to explore the trend in those arts toward exploitative and sensational material. In that meeting, they concluded there was a need to engage and support writers whose work sought a goal beyond mere entertainment, work that sought to empower and uplift. It was out of this meeting that The New Harmony Project was created.
It was no accident that these creative individuals set their first program gathering in the small town of New Harmony, Indiana. From 1814-1824, the original settlers, the Harmonie Society, built a flourishing self-sufficient community. In 1824, this small, but remarkably progressive, town was bought by the renowned Scottish social reformer, Robert Owen. Along with William Maclure, a geologist, Owen gathered scholars, scientists, and educators and brought them to New Harmony in an attempt to create a social and cultural utopia on what was then the frontier.
Today, that same spirit guides The New Harmony Project to bring together talented writers, directors, dramaturges, filmmakers, actors, and students from around the country. Participants gather each spring to create a nurturing environment for writers — a setting free of the restrictive pressures of the professional world. In this community, every artist becomes a resource to the process of the writer. Through an intensive series of readings and rehearsals, The New Harmony Project affords each writer the rare opportunity of having the freedom to explore ideas without the fear of failure.
Now in its twenty-fifth year, the Project is still firmly rooted in the tenets upon which it was founded. Its unique mission is not only to develop new scripts for film, television, and theatre, but also to positively impact the culture by seeking out and nurturing writers whose work offers hope and celebrates dignity of the human spirit.
In 2012, the Robert Lee Blaffer Foundation supported The New Harmony Project with a monetary and in-kind grant. The late Jane Blaffer Owen, founder of the Robert Lee Blaffer Foundation, is also a founding and honorary board member of The New Harmony project.