$1 Million in New Grant Funding Available to Celebrate the Arts and National Parks

National Endowment for the Arts and National Park Service Team Up in Celebration of Hallmark Anniversaries
Dancers on mountain

In 2001, BANDALOOP performed “Crossing,” a site-specific mountain performance at Yosemite National Park, on Wild Cat Point above the Tuolumne River.  Credit: BANDALOOP / Corey Rich Productions.

WASHINGTON, DC — “Art is the child of Nature,” said American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  A new grant initiative created in partnership by the NEA and the National Park Service celebrates the intersections between the two in honor of the NEA’s 50th anniversary in 2015 and the National Park Service’s centennial in 2016. 

“Imagine Your Parks” will provide $1 million in funding through the NEA Art Works grant category to projects that use the arts to engage people with memorable places and landscapes of the National Park System. The National Park System includes not only national parks, but also national historic sites, trails, rivers, seashores, landmarks and national monuments, heritage areas, preserves, battlefields, recreation areas, and more.    

“Throughout the years, both the Park Service and the Arts Endowment have played a role in promoting and protecting our nation’s cultural and natural treasures,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “This new NEA Art Works grant opportunity unites our missions to ensure Americans have the opportunity to engage with art in the natural, historic, and cultural settings of the National Park System.”  

“The Park Service has long held a meaningful relationship with the arts community. Building on the success of the National Park Service artists-in-residence and other programs, ‘Imagine Your Parks’ is a wonderful opportunity to highlight the connections of cultural and natural resources,” said NPS Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “‘Imagine Your Parks’ will inspire a new generation to discover the special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our great heritage.”

About the Grants

“Imagine Your Parks” will support art projects that encourage the creation of and greater public engagement with art about the National Park System. Funding will encourage partnerships with park areas or programs.  “Imagine Your Parks” will also support projects that promote public engagement in urban environments, or that engage younger generations with the National Park System. Projects may take place at and around the National Park System, or may take place elsewhere in the United States with a focus on the work and mission of the National Park Service.

“Imagine Your Parks” is funded through the NEA Art Works grant category, and guidelines are available at arts.gov. Projects in all art disciplines are eligible for consideration for the “Imagine Your Parks” funding.  Prospective grantees can join a January 21 webinar to learn about the “Imagine Your Parks” opportunity.        

Recent NEA grants involving National Parks are as diverse as the parks themselves. One 2014 grant supports traditional Appalachian folk music and dance at the Blue Ridge Music Center in Galax, Virginia, part of the NPS Blue Ridge Parkway system. A 2013 NEA grant supported artists to create new work at the Headlands Center for the Arts, a campus of artist-rehabilitated military buildings at historic Fort Barry in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

In September 2015, the NEA launches its 50th anniversary celebration. Throughout the anniversary year, the NEA will highlight stories and host events about how the arts, and the NEA's support of them, foster value, connection, creativity and innovation. The National Park Service will also begin a two-year celebration in 2015 that launches with a public engagement campaign, entitled “Find Your Park,” designed to increase awareness and excitement about the National Park Service’s Centennial anniversary, which officially falls on August 25, 2016. As the National Park Service celebrates its achievements of the past 100 years, it will also be kicking off a second century of stewardship of America’s national parks, and of engaging communities through recreation, conservation, and historic preservation programs.

About the National Park Service

More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. To learn more about the National Park Service, visit www.nps.gov.

About the NEA

The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $5 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. To join the discussion on how art works, visit the NEA at arts.gov.
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Sally Gifford

NEA Public Affairs