On Wednesday, June 14, the National Endowment for the Arts announced its second round of funding for the current fiscal year, which runs through September 30, 2018.
The arts agency, which is the only funder in the country to support the arts in all fifty states, has awarded 1,195 grants totaling $82.06 million.
The announcement comes mere weeks after President Trump released his proposal for a FY18 budget which calls for the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts. The May 23 announcement was the latest in a string of similar budget cuts which served to devastate and anger many Americans and advocates who believe in the power of art, literature, and a creative community. It is thanks to the National Endowment for the Arts there are programs across the country that value and celebrate poets and writers’ unique ability to share the human experience.
The new grants awarded were in three categories:
- Art Works II, which focuses on “funding the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with art, lifelong learning in the arts, and strengthening of communities through the arts;”
- Our Town, which is a “creative placemaking program that supports partnerships of artists, arts organizations, and municipal government that work to revitalize neighborhoods” and;
- Research: Art Works, which funds studies to “investigate research questions about the value and/or impact of the arts, or studies will explore causal links between the arts and another domain of interest.”
As stated on the NEA’s website: “NEA-funded arts activities are as diverse as the places that foster them. A folk festival in downtown Butte, Montana; a former gas station transformed into a glass foundry in Farmville, North Carolina; dance classes for children with special needs in Winter Park, Florida; and a playwrights workshop in New Harmony, Indiana.” For a full list of grants, click here.
In addition, in early the NEA announced over $1 million of grants to seventy-five nonprofit organizations to host an NEA Big Read project. This important initiative serves to broaden participants’ understanding of their world, communities, and themselves through the joy of sharing a good book. NEA Big Read projects will take place in 32 states from September 2017 through June 2018 and will feature 21 works of literature.
This exciting news comes at a time when the fate of arts in America is at stake and serves as an important reminder of the power in creativity and community. In a statement after the Artworks grants were announced, NEA Chairman Jane Chu remarked:
“The American people are recognized for their innovative spirit, and these grants represent the vision, energy and talent of America’s artists and arts organizations. I am proud of the role the National Endowment for the Arts plays in helping advance the creative capacity of the United States.”