Thursday, December 4, 2008

National Endowment for the Arts Announces First Round of Grants for FY 2009

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) today announced its first round of funding for fiscal year 2009, including Access to Artistic Excellence, Challenge America Fast Track, and Creativity and Aging in America grants, and Creative Writing Fellowships for individuals. The Arts Endowment will distribute $23,215,500 in this first round of fiscal year 2009 funding to support 1,951 projects by nonprofit national, regional, state, and local organizations nationwide as well as to 42 poets.

NEA Chairman Dana Gioia said, "I am delighted to announce the NEA's first round of grants for fiscal year 2009. We often hear from our grantees that the NEA's grant support has a catalytic effect, helping the organization to exponentially garner additional funding for its project. These grants are an investment in our nation's culture, and I'm proud to say that the return on that investment benefits Americans from coast to coast."

Access to Artistic Excellence grants support the creation and presentation of work in the disciplines of dance, design, folk and traditional arts, literature, media arts, museums, music, musical theater, opera, presenting, theater, and visual arts. Projects include commissions, residencies, workshops, performances, exhibitions, publications, festivals, and professional development programs. This round of funding also supported grants to local arts agencies for service-to-the-field projects that assist artists and arts organizations improve managerial resources. Through this category, the NEA will fund 886 projects out of 1,394 eligible applications, for a total of $20,325,500 million.

Examples of projects supported by Access to Artistic Excellence grants include:

A $70,000 grant to the Boston Symphony Orchestra to support the world premiere performances of a work by composer (and NEA Jazz Master) Gunther Schuller. Accompanying educational activities include an open rehearsal for local high school students, a pre-concert lecture by the composer, and interactive Web-based materials.

A $25,000 grant to Chicago's Old Town School of Folk Music to support extended teaching residencies for traditional musicians scheduled to perform at the school. Residencies will include lecture-demonstrations, master classes, and workshops.

A $95,000 grant to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater to support a U.S. tour highlighting work by both emerging and established choreographers as part of the company's 50th anniversary. The project will include school visits in tour cities and a curriculum that uses Alvin Ailey's signature ballet Revelations to teach language arts and social studies.

Please see the complete listing of projects receiving Access to Artistic Excellence grant support in this first round of fiscal year 2009 funding.

Challenge America: Reaching Every Community Fast Track Review Grants are an integral part of the NEA's mission to bring the arts to all Americans. Projects funded can have significant effects within their community because of the breadth of audiences and participants the projects include. One hundred and fifty-one grants of $10,000 each, totaling $1,510,000, will be given to primarily small and mid-sized organizations for projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations -- those whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability. Many projects emphasize the potential of the arts to help strengthen communities. In addition, projects often feature partnerships between arts organizations and other cultural, educational, or civic organizations.

Examples of projects supported by Challenge America grants include:

A grant to Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey, Inc. to support the bilingual mainstage production and tour of Papa Está en la Atlantida by Mexican playwright Javier Malpica with translations by American playwright Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas and accompanying outreach activities. The playwrights will participate in several discussions about their work and issues facing Latinos in America. The production will travel to several local Latino communities.

A grant to the Germantown Performing Arts Centre in Tennessee to support performances of Teatro de Piazza O D'Occasione's Farfalle. An interactive virtual landscape will be created for the youth audience through the use of projections, sensors, and audio design to complement the live performers.

Please see the complete listing of projects receiving Challenge America grant support in this first round of fiscal year 2009 funding.

Creativity and Aging in America grants support projects that involve older Americans as creators through literature and music, and that promote lifelong learning in the arts. Projects are conducted by professional artists and engage older adults as students, artists, and/or teachers. Fourteen projects were funded out of 55 applications, for a total of $330,000. Funded projects include Gemini Series' intergenerational life-writing program for seniors and high school students (San Antonio, Texas) and Settlement Music School of Philadelphia's Program for Seniors, a comprehensive music instruction and performance program for older adults (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania).

Please see the complete listing of projects receiving Creativity and Aging in America grant support in this first round of fiscal year 2009 funding.

Literature Fellowships are the Arts Endowment's most direct investment in American creativity, encouraging the production of new work and allowing writers the time and means to write. The fellowships alternate annually between poetry and prose. For fiscal year 2009, 42 poets will receive fellowships of $25,000 each for a total of $1,050,000. The poets recommended for funding include Nickole Brown of Louisville, Kentucky, Samuel Greene of Waldron Island, Washington, Bob Hickok of Blacksburg, Virginia, and C. Dale Young of San Francisco, California.

Please see the complete list of 2009 Creative Writing fellows.

A state-by-state listing of the four categories is also available.

The National Endowment for the Arts is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts, both new and established, bringing the arts to all Americans, and providing leadership in arts education. Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Arts Endowment is the nation's largest annual funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases. For more information, please visit
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