$74 Million Funds Hundreds of Community-based Art Projects

group of guitar players sitting in a park
Among the 1,023 awards announced May 6 is one to Make Music New York to support a one-day festival of free, participatory outdoor concerts. Pictured here is one of their Mass Appeal events that took place in New York's Union Square. Photo by Aaron Friedman.
Washington, DC—From the development of a state-wide arts education plan in Alabama to a glassblowing program for wounded soldiers in Tacoma, Washington, funding from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) gives people across America the opportunity to experience creativity and participate in the arts. In the second major grant announcement of fiscal year 2015, the NEA will make 1,023 awards totaling $74,326,900 to nonprofit arts organizations in all 50 states plus five U.S. jurisdictions. Funding in this round is awarded through the NEA’s Art Works and State and Regional Partnerships grant categories. NEA Chairman Jane Chu said, “The NEA is committed to advancing learning, fueling creativity, and celebrating the arts in cities and towns across the United States. Funding these new projects represents a significant investment in both local communities and our nation’s creative vitality.” In November 2014, the first round of 2015 grants were awarded in three categories—Art Works, Challenge America, and Creative Writing Fellowships—totaling $29.14 million supporting 1,116 grants. This announcement brings funding awarded to date in fiscal year 2015 to $103.47 million through 2,139 awards. The fiscal year ends on September 30. ANNOUNCEMENT HIGHLIGHTS Second round of 2015 Art Works awards total $26 million, supporting 960 projects. ART WORKS The Art Works category supports the creation and public engagement with art, lifelong learning in the arts, and the strengthening of communities through the arts. These awards are for projects in 13 arts disciplines and fields ranging from arts education to visual arts. The NEA received 1,731 eligible Art Works applications, requesting more than $86.3 million for FY 2015 support. With available appropriated funds, the NEA is recommending 960 projects for funding for a total investment of $25,599,000.  Art Works: Arts Education This grant round includes the second group of collective impact projects awarded through arts education. The eight collective impact projects in this announcement total $684,000 and will use broad-based coalitions to build critical infrastructure for arts education or to advance key elements of existing strategic plans. For example:

Boston Public Schools will receive a $100,000 grant to deepen the work of the Boston Public Schools Arts Expansion Initiative in high schools. The project will increase the number of graduates who meet Massachusetts Common Core Standards in art. Schools, teaching artists, and partners will receive professional development and provide new arts classes while partners in the community will secure funding, track outcomes, and plan how to reach all Boston Public School students.

See the complete list of Art Works collective impact projects.

Research: Art Works For the fourth year, the NEA has offered a funding opportunity for research to investigate the value and/or impact of the arts in American life.  The NEA is recommending 19 projects totaling $300,000 for support. These projects fall into two categories, some seeking to report trends and characteristics of arts workers or organizations and others to examine the relationship between arts engagement and cognitive, social, emotional, or health related outcomes at different stages of the lifespan. These two project types include the impact of arts learning on students’ academic capacities and the health outcomes of older adults who participate in arts activities. Music and theater are the most common art forms represented in these projects. An example is:

Boise State University in Idaho will receive a $15,000 grant to support a study of the relationships between universities and creative clusters in the Intermountain West region. The comparative case study will survey regional artists in Colorado and Nevada and university administrators in Colorado, Nevada, and Idaho.

See the complete list of Research: Art Works projects.

Through State and Regional Partnership Agreements, the NEA will award $48.7 million. STATE AND REGIONAL PARTNERSHIPS Every state and U.S. jurisdiction has its own arts agency that can receive NEA funding. In addition to these 55 agencies, six regional arts organizations manage programs for a collection of states. Forty percent of the NEA’s grantmaking funds go to the state and regional arts organizations. Through partnership agreements, the NEA extends its reach to every community in America, translating national leadership into local and regional benefit. A total of $48,727,900 is recommended for these partners, with $39,890,600 designated for state arts agencies. Among activities of note for state arts agencies are:

Collaboration with one another to benefit underserved communities. For example, the state arts agencies of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi established the Gulf Coast Presenters consortium to increase booking opportunities for each state's artists and to develop the capacity of small presenters.

Relocation of an arts agency within a larger state department. Five agencies (Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, Nevada, and New York) are reinventing themselves and capitalizing on new resources. For example, a move of the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs to within Michigan's Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) gave the council access to a MEDC crowd-funding initiative to help communities raise money for local public spaces.

To join the Twitter conversation about this announcement, please use #NEASpring2015. About the National Endowment for the Arts Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. For more information, visit www.arts.gov.

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Victoria Hutter, hutterv@arts.gov, 202-682-5692