The National Endowment for the Arts Announces $25.8 Million in Grants for the First Round of FY 2014 Funding

Photo - a woman and man at a glass casting demonstration at the Pilchuck Glass School.
An NEA grant will support an artist residency program at the Pilchuck Glass School in Seattle, Washington.  Photo courtesy of the Pilchuck Glass School.
Washington, DC—NEA Senior Deputy Chairman Joan Shigekawa announced today that 1,083 grants totaling $25.8 million will be awarded to organizations and individuals across the country for grants in the categories of Art Works, Challenge America, and Creative Writing Fellowships. "The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support these exciting and diverse arts projects that will take place throughout the United States," said Shigekawa. "Whether it is through a focus on education, engagement, or innovation, these projects all contribute to vibrant communities and memorable experiences for the public to engage with the arts."

Art Works Grants

Art Works grants support the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence: public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and enhancing the livability of communities through the arts. The Art Works grant program supports projects in 13 artistic disciplines. Examples of project types are commissions, residencies, workshops, performances, exhibitions, publications, festivals, and professional development programs. Art Works grants, like all NEA grants to organizations, require a 1:1 match with non-federal funds.  The NEA received 1,528 eligible Art Works applications, requesting more than $75 million in funding. Of those applications, 895 are recommended for grants for a total of $23.4 million. Grant amounts range from $10,000 to $100,000 with an average grant amount of $26,154. Examples of projects supported by Art Works grants are: Arts Education Austin Creative Alliance
Austin, TX
$25,000 To support professional development for African-American and Hispanic teaching artists who will help implement the Kennedy Center's Any Given Child initiative in Austin. During a pilot professional development program, teaching artists will be trained to understand arts education and their role in providing leadership for arts education. Dance Monica Bill Barnes & Company
New York, NY
$10,000 To support the creation and presentation of Running In Circles. A new work choreographed by Monica Bill Barnes in collaboration with radio host Ira Glass. Running In Circles is intended to develop new audiences across disciplines and test a new production model for dance. Folk and Traditional Arts Passamaquoddy Tribe
Perry, ME
$15,000 To support the museum exhibit Passamaquoddy Cultural Renewal. A rotating exhibit of Passamaquoddy traditional arts such as quill work, birch bark baskets, woodcarving, and sweet grass baskets, produced by tribal artists and their students, will be installed at the Waponahki Museum. Literature University of Iowa (on behalf of the Iowa Review)
Iowa City, IA
$15,000 To support the publication and promotion of issues of the journal featuring writing by and about U.S. military veterans. The journal will conduct a writing contest for U.S. veterans, a public reading, website gallery, and special promotion of issues featuring veterans' work. Media Arts Film Streams (aka Film Streams at the Ruth Sokolof Theater)
Omaha, NE
$25,000 To support a series of curated films. The series will include the presentation of repertory programming, film events with arts and social service organizations, and special programs. Museums Nelson Gallery Foundation (aka The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art)
Kansas City, MO
$90,000 To support the traveling exhibition Calling the Buffalo: Art of the Plains Indians of North America. Organized in partnership with the Musee du Quai Branly in Paris, the exhibition will present Plains Indian masterworks collected by European explorers, travelers in the 18th and early 19th centuries, and post-1850 treasures housed in American museums and private collections. Music Berkeley Society for the Preservation of Traditional Music (aka Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse)
Berkeley, CA
$10,000 To support the Genre Bending Innovators series. Concerts and workshops at the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse will feature local and touring musicians seeking to create cutting-edge new forms within traditional genres such as bluegrass, blues, jazz, klezmer, and old time. Opera Opera Carolina
Charlotte, NC
$12,500 To support a new production of Rise For Freedom, a one-act opera by composer Adolphus Hailstork and librettist David Gonzalez. Commissioned in 2006, the opera follows the true life story of John Parker in 1860s Ripley, Ohio, who was the son of a white father and a black mother, bought his freedom, owned and operated an iron foundry, and fought against slavery as a leader in the Underground Railroad. Presenting and Multidisciplinary Works Double Edge Theatre Productions
Ashfield, MA
$30,000 To support The Saragossa Manuscripts, an indoor/outdoor traveling spectacle. The work was created by the Double Edge ensemble in collaboration with a multidisciplinary cohort of local and international artists. Theater/Musical Theater Children's Theatre Company and School
Minneapolis, MN
$75,000 To support the commissioning and production of new work for young audiences. One of the commissioned pieces will be Nautilus, a site-specific work in which audiences will be transported to an underwater world where they will become part of the story by Ryan Underbakke. The Children's Theatre also will present Seedfolks and The Arrival. Visual Arts M12 Incorporated (aka M12 Art Collective)
Byers, CO
$25,000 To support Action on the Plains: Contemporary Art in Rural Environments, an artist-in-residence program. Residencies will support the creation of site-specific art works in the High Plains region of Colorado, focusing specifically on the small town of Last Chance. Artists Haiko Meijer of architectural studio Onix (The Netherlands); visual artist Fiona Woods (Ireland); and Colorado-based photographer Matt Slaby will examine issues of landscape interpretation, agrarian and post-agrarian economies, and cultural identity.

Challenge America Grants

The Challenge America Fast-Track category offers $10,000 matching grants to support projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability. Challenge America Fast-Track grants support two major outcomes: public engagement with diverse and excellent art and livability, or the strengthening of communities through the arts. These grants focus on local projects including festivals, exhibits, performances, public murals and sculptures, environmental art, and cultural tourism. All Challenge America Fast-Track grants involve professionally trained, experienced artists and arts professionals.   In this FY 2014 funding round, the NEA received 294 eligible Challenge America Fast-Track applications requesting $2.94 million in funding. The NEA will award 150 Challenge America Fast-Track grants totaling $1.5 million to organizations in 46 states, including 33 first-time NEA grantees representing 22 percent of CAFT grantees in this round. Examples of projects supported in this round of Challenge American Fast-Track are:
  • A grant to the St. Clair County Community College in Port Huron, Michigan to support a literary and visual arts project for veterans in this region. Presenting artists include poet and veteran Brian Turner and Richard Casper, a ceramist, photographer, and United States Marine veteran.
  • A grant to the City of Round Rock, Texas, to support a performance of Light it up Blue by Blue Lapis Lights, a site-specific aerial dance company.  Taking place in Prete Main Street Plaza during Autism Awareness Month, this event is aimed at low-income adolescents and persons affected by autism.
  • A grant to the City of Berea, Kentucky/Tourist and Convention Commission to support the Berea Public Art Tour, which will provide online, mobile, and other promotional resources that highlight this city as a home to a  thriving population of weavers, instrument makers, furniture artisans, musicians, and other artists.

Creative Writing Fellowships

NEA Creative Writing Fellowships provide non-matching grants of $25,000 to published writers that enable them to set aside time for writing, research, travel, and general career advancement. NEA fellowships are highly competitive. The NEA received more than 1,300 eligible manuscripts in this round. Successful manuscripts are selected through an anonymous, panel-review process for which the sole review criteria is artistic excellence and merit. The NEA will support 38 fellowships in prose (fiction and creative nonfiction) totaling $950,000. The 38 fellows range in age from 27 to 60 and hail from 18 states around the country.  Among the recipients of the fellowships are:
  • Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich of Roxbury, Massachusetts
  • Ottessa Moshfegh, of Oakland, California
  • Callan Wink of Livingston, Montana

Grant Lists and Funding Opportunities

The complete list of grants are available in two formats: by category; Art Works (sorted by discipline), Challenge America Fast-Track, and Creative Writing Fellowship; and a full state list sorted by city. Viewers can also use the NEA online grant search system to find grants back to FY 2000 by organization, keywords, state, funding category, fiscal year, and other criteria. To learn more about upcoming NEA funding opportunities, visit About the National Endowment for the Arts 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 $4 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  

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Sally Gifford
NEA Public Affairs