Back to the Future

By Mary Anne Carter

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Woman held by ropes dancing on the side of a building with images projected on it.

The dance company BANDALOOP, shown here at a #PublicCanvas performance in San Francisco, California, will be performing at the Eighth World Summit on Arts & Culture through arrangement by the National Endowment for the Arts. Photo by Stephen Texeira

After a 35-day furlough, we are happy to be back to the important work of providing access to the arts for all Americans. Thanks to the exceptionally dedicated staff of the National Endowment for the Arts, we quickly got back to business, and began to tackle the many tasks at hand.

One silver lining of the government shutdown was that it highlighted the strength of the country’s arts community. Arts organizations across the nation worked together to ensure the show went on, and we heard from countless people expressing their support. Thank you for your patience and friendship as we navigated these challenging circumstances.

Now, it’s time to look forward. We are preparing for a busy spring, processing applications and preparing for upcoming events.

Earlier this month we announced the first round of FY 2019 grants. On March 28, our National Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts’ advisory board, will meet to recommend the second round of grants for this fiscal year. The meeting will take place in the Russell Senate Office Building, Room 485, on Capitol Hill, and we hope that if you are in DC you will join us. If not, you can watch the live webcast at arts.gov.

We have events coming up in April as well in the DC area. The NEA Jazz Masters Tribute Concert takes place on April 15 at the Kennedy Center, honoring the 2019 class: Stanley Crouch, Bob Dorough, Abdullah Ibrahim, and Maria Schneider. The Poetry Out Loud National Finals take place on April 30 and May 1 at Lisner Auditorium at George Washington University, bringing the state champions from all over the country to compete for the title of national champion. Both events will be webcast live as well.

In mid-March, a contingent from the National Endowment for the Arts will attend the Eighth World Summit on Arts & Culture in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The summit is organized by the International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies, a global network with member institutions in more than 70 countries. I plan to attend a pre-summit Executive Leadership Seminar with other international senior executive staff, such as ministers of culture and heads of cultural agencies, to discuss issues and challenges we are facing as arts leaders in our respective countries, and to determine what has worked and what has not.

The summit itself will give the agency a chance to highlight the inspiring work that artists and arts organization in the United States are doing, and will give us a chance to see some of the great work that is happening in other countries as well. We have arranged for the vertical dance company (and NEA grantee) BANDALOOP to perform at one of the social events of the conference as a demonstration of the unique artwork happening in the U.S. Additionally, BANDALOOP, for the first time ever, will perform with ASK Dance Company of Malaysia in a collaborative piece.

So there is much going on at the National Endowment for the Arts, and we are excited to continue making the arts available to the American public.