National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Rocco Landesman Announces 928 Grants and $77.17 Million in Funding

Grants provide support in 14 disciplines and to state arts agencies and regional arts organizations

Washington, DC -- National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Rocco Landesman announced today that the NEA plans to award 928 grants totaling $77.17 million to not-for-profit organizations nationwide. These grants support exemplary projects in arts education, dance, design, folk and traditional arts, literature, local arts agencies, media arts, museums, music, opera, presenting, theater, musical theater, and visual arts, and provide support to state arts agencies and regional arts organizations. Through these projects, the public will have increasing opportunities to engage with the arts, whether it's in a school, in the media, or in their community, making our cities, towns, and neighborhoods more vibrant places to live.

Chairman Landesman said, “The arts should be a part of everyday life. Whether it's seeing a performance, visiting a gallery, participating in an art class, or simply taking a walk around a neighborhood enhanced by public art, these grants are ensuring that across the nation, the public is able to experience how art works.”

This second round of fiscal year 2012 funding is provided through three grant categories:

  • Art Works supports the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and the strengthening of communities through the arts.
  • Arts in Media supports the development, production, and national distribution of innovative media projects about the arts and media projects that can be considered works of art.
  • Partnership Agreements extend the NEA's reach and impact by providing support to the nation's state arts agencies and regional arts organizations.

Art Works

The NEA received 1,624 eligible applications under the Art Works category, requesting more than $78 million in funding. Of those applications, 788 are recommended for a total of $24.81 million. Grant amounts range from $10,000 to $125,000 with an average grant amount of $31,490 and a median of $25,000.

Examples of projects recommended for funding under the Art Works category include:

  • Berklee School of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, is recommended for a $25,000 grant to support the Berklee Bean Town Jazz Festival in Boston's South End. The 2012 outdoor festival titled Celebrate Women in Jazz will feature free performances from renowned musicians as well as educational events, a multimedia installation, and live webcast interviews with female jazz musicians.
  • City of El Paso, Texas (on behalf of the Museums and Cultural Affairs Department) is recommended for a $60,000 grant to support the creation of interactive, site-specific installations that will explore theplazita, the traditional open-air plaza. The works will be mounted in the Southwestern border communities of El Paso, Texas, and Albuquerque, New Mexico, as well as Tucson and Mesa, Arizona.
  • Instituto Mazatlan Bellas Artes De Sacramento in Sacramento, California, is recommended for a $10,000 grant to support Viva el Arte, a presentation of Mexican folk dance and culture in Northern California. This project will present traditional Mexican dance along with master classes and a pre-show lecture explaining the traditions and customs expressed in the dance. 
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (on behalf of Carolina Performing Arts) in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, is recommended for a $40,000 grant to support the creation and presentation of Rite of Spring at 100. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, puppeteer Basil Twist will collaborate on a new work with the Orchestra of St. Luke's, and choreographer Bill T. Jones will collaborate with theater director Anne Bogart.
  • Young Men's Christian Association of Billings (aka YMCA Writer's Voice) in Billings, Montana, is recommended for a $15,000 grant to support Native Voices, a unique series of public readings by contemporary Native American writers in colleges throughout eastern Montana. 

Please go to Recent Grants Search to see complete list of recommended projects under the Art Works category.

Arts in Media

In addition to the Art Works grants, 78 projects are recommended in the Arts in Media category for a total of $3.55 million. The NEA received 329 eligible applications under the Arts in Media category, requesting more than $36 million in funding. Grant amounts range from $10,000 to $100,000 with an average grant amount of $45,513 and a median of $40,000.

The NEA launched this pilot program in May 2011, recognizing that while television and radio remain the dominant ways many people experience art, there is also significant activity and promise in the nexus of arts, science, and technology. The goal of the program is:

  • to support the creation of new media arts work and
  • to provide more opportunities for audiences to experience artworks.

A key characteristic of the Arts in Media projects is their diversity, both in terms of artistic discipline -- projects range from dance to visual arts -- and in platform, or the way audiences interact with the artworks. In addition to supporting programs and series targeted for television and radio, the NEA will support projects involving interactive websites, mobile phone and tablet apps, multimedia and transmedia (multi-platform storytelling) projects, and those which will be seen in movie theaters. Many Arts in Media projects will weave together several disciplines and platforms -- cutting across boundaries to create new art and cultivate new audiences.

Examples of projects recommended for funding under the Arts in Media category include:

  • Flea Theater in New York City is recommended for a $100,000 grant to support a coalition of theater, literary, and digital technology organizations to produce a new play. The Virtual Theater Collaboration will allow audiences to experience a play differently each time they participate with the option to join as one of the actors, production personnel, or as a regular spectator.
  • Latino Public Broadcasting in Burbank, California, is recommended for a $20,000 grant to support post-production costs for Mariachi High, an hour-long documentary about a year in the life of students in the top-ranked Mariachi ensemble in South Texas. The film will examine growing up Mexican American and the positive influence playing Mariachi music has on these students.
  • Museum of Fine Art at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, is recommended for a $100,000 grant to support HERadventure, a multi-episode, augmented reality computer game focused on a young female superhero sent to Earth to save her own planet from devastation due to climate changes.
  • On the Boards in Seattle, Washington, is recommended for a grant of $90,000 grant to support the production of full-length contemporary performance films for, an online video-on-demand initiative. Included in the current inventory are works such as Dark Matters by Canadian choreographer Crystal Pite and performed by her company Kidd Pivot Frankfurt RM and The Shipment, performed by Obie Award-winning, New York-based Young Jean Lee's theater company and choreographed by Australian choreographer Tanja Liedtke and her company.
  • Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis in Missouri is recommended for a $30,000 grant to support the creation of the website Inspired by Shakes 38 events, in which participants created works inspired by Shakespeare within a 38-hour timeframe, this website will provide a national platform to feature work inspired by Shakespeare, share resources about Shakespeare, form collaborations, and encourage more Shakes 38 events across the country.

Please go to Recent Grant Search to see a complete list of recommended projects under the Arts in Media category.

Partnership Agreements

Forty percent of all NEA grantmaking funds are designated for the nation's state arts agencies, regional arts organizations, and their national service organizations. In total, the NEA awarded more than $48.8 million through this category for fiscal year 2012.

The NEA's investment in the state arts agencies provides the following benefits:

  • State arts agencies are required to develop long-range strategic plans that help to position the arts as an integral part of cultural tourism, community revitalization, economic development, education, and health and human services.
  • Each state arts agency must match its NEA funding on at least a 1:1 basis, supporting programs at the local and state levels.
  • Through the combination of the NEA's partnership agreement and state appropriations, $269 million supports 23,000 arts projects in more than 4,800 communities.

Please go to Recent Grant Search to see a complete listing of Partnership grants.

state-by-state listing of all the grants announced in this release is also available.

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