NEA dishes out arts grants, encouraging music, dance, theater

McClatchy Washington BureauApril 16, 2014 


Among the items collected by the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, are clockwise from top left, a dress belonging to Pearl Thuston Brown, a photo of Melba Liston, an original schore by Mary Lou Williams and a photo of Billie Mahoney.

DAVID EULITT — Kansas City Star/MCT

— The National Endowment for the Arts announced Wednesday that it’s awarding $74.85 million in grants for the second half of the fiscal year for a wide variety of projects, from the avant-garde to traditional folk art.

According to NEA Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa, for every dollar the federal government invests, organizations raise an additional $9 in support.

“These NEA-supported projects will not only have a positive impact on local economies, but will also provide opportunities for people of all ages to participate in the arts, help our communities to become more vibrant, and support our nation’s artists as they contribute to our cultural landscape,” she said in a statement announcing the grants.

In addition to the big cultural meccas of New York and Los Angeles, the NEA is careful to recognize projects in every state and award grants to large and small cities all over the U.S., including Fort Worth, Texas; Miami; Fresno and Sacramento, Calif.; Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C.; Bellingham and Tacoma, Wash.; and Kansas City, Mo.

In addition, each state’s nonprofit arts agency received a grant to distribute to groups and institutions that it has partnerships with, such as museums and performing arts groups.

In Texas, the state’s Commission on the Arts was awarded $911,900, while the California Arts Council received $1.08 million, the North Carolina Arts Council was allotted $907,000 and the Florida Department of State’s Division of Cultural Affairs received $826,500.

There are a wide variety of individual arts projects receiving grants, including $15,000 to the University of Texas at Arlington to make four case studies of cities to determine the connection between arts and craft producers and urban economies.

Fort Worth’s Amphibian Stage Productions got $12,000 to support its multicultural program for young people in theater, dance, music, art, history and geography.

The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra was awarded $20,000 to support a touring and educational program in rural communities within 150 miles, including Graham, Killeen, Stephenville and Waxahachie.

The venerable Van Cliburn Foundation, named for the legendary pianist, who died last year, was awarded $10,000 to support a touring performance of Van Cliburn International Piano Competition winners.

In Miami, the Florida Grand Opera will receive $30,000 for Wagner’s “Tristan & Isolde,” a classic work that will include programs to make the opera relevant to contemporary audiences. Performances will be at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami and the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale.

The Arsht center also will receive $60,000 for a summer dance camp for middle school students.

Sacramento’s B Street Theatre will get $10,000 to market itself, copying the baseball model of the Sacramento River Cats, a Triple A team that’s succeeded at packaging family entertainment programs.

In Fresno, the Alliance for California Traditional Arts received $50,000 for an apprenticeship program so master artists can mentor young artists.

Charlotte’s Afro-American Cultural Center was awarded $40,000 to enhance its digital plan for the John & Vivian Hewitt Collection of African-American Art, including expanding the interactive capabilities of the website.

The North Carolina Symphony was awarded $10,000 for a collaborative community project with a Brooklyn-based N.C. native, composer and a local psychedelic folk band.

Kansas City’s celebrated role in the history of jazz will get a boost with a $15,000 grant to the American Jazz Museum. The funding will support the 18th & Vine Jazz and Blues Festival, a one-day indoor and outdoor festival that will include Ramsey Lewis, Geri Allen and Arturo Sandoval.

In Bellingham, Northwest Indian College was awarded $25,000 for activities, conferences, classes and apprenticeships to support basketry skills for Native American basket weavers.

The Tacoma Art Museum got $20,000 for an exhibition of Western American art.

Email:; Twitter: @maria_e_recio.

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