The National Endowment for the Arts, which is currently preparing to shut down operations after President Trump slashed funding for the federal agency in the 2018 budget, has announced that it is awarding $84.06 million to organizations as part of its final major grant round for 2017.
The NEA’s legacy and ongoing influence are examined in pieces by Johnie Scott, Barbara Rose, Ed Ruscha, Maya Lin, and Ian Volner appearing in Artforum’s summer issue. The agency’s current round of 1,195 grants will support organizations that employ artists and cultural workers, and that provide programs for thousands of people from Idaho to Maine. “The American people are recognized for their innovative spirit and these grants represent the vision, energy, and talent of America’s artists and arts organizations,” said NEA chairman Jane Chu. “I am proud of the role the National Endowment for the Arts plays in helping advance the creative capacity of the United States.”
The agency received 2,063 eligible applications for its last round of grant-giving. The projects that were funded were divided into four categories: Art Works II, Our Town, Research, and State and Regional Partnership Agreements. Art Works II, the largest category of proposals being awarded, funds the creation of art that supports public engagement with art, education initiatives, and community-based projects. Funding recipients in the Art Works II category include the Alabama’s Youth Ballet, which will use a $20,000 grant to provide free or reduced-cost equipment, clothing, nutrition, and professional instruction to underserved students enrolled in a summer dance program, and the Montana Office of Public Instruction, which in partnership with the Montana Arts Council will utilize a $30,000 grant to help teachers integrate arts into the classroom.
Our Town is the NEA’s signature creative placemaking program that supports partnerships with artists, arts organizations, and municipal government that work to revitalize neighborhoods. As part of this category, Arrow Rock Lyceum Theater in Missouri—the only theater between Kansas City and St. Louis—received $75,000 for the redesign and expansion of its building, and the National Association of Counties Research Foundation was awarded $100,000 to train county staff and managers on how to increase arts-based economic development across rural America.
Under the Research category, fourteen awards were doled out, including a $90,000 grant to the Affordable Housing Management Company in Fishers, Indiana, in support of a study it is conducting to examine the effects of music engagement on low-income adults. State and regional partnership agreements receive 40 percent of the NEA’s grant-making fund each year. In addition to the fifty-five state agencies and six regional arts organizations that were funded, the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies and the Pacific Resources in Education and Learning organizations received awards.