NEA grants support S.C. opera, filmmaking, dance initiatives + more

Major S.C. arts programs part of $32 million granted nationwide

The National Endowment for the Arts announced this morning its first round of recommended awards for fiscal year 2024: 1,288 grants totaling $32,223,055.

Seven Palmetto State recipients are included among organizations from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, recommended in the categories of

  • Grants for Arts Projects,
  • Challenge America,
  • Research Grants in the Arts,
  • and Research Labs.

Also included in this announcement are grants to individuals for Literature Fellowships, which include Creative Writing Fellowships in prose and fellowships to support translation projects.

National Endowment for the Arts Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, Ph.D. said, “The NEA is pleased to announce these grants, all of which strengthen our nation’s arts sector in different ways. Whether it’s the creation of new art, opportunities for the public to participate and engage in the arts, or work to better understand the impact of the arts, these grants contribute to the well-being of individuals and communities, help meet the challenges of our time, and build towards a future in which all people can lead artful lives and reach their full potential.”

All current grants and project details can be viewed through the recent grant search.

As part of the application review process, the NEA worked with more than 298 expert reviewers with relevant knowledge and experience who reviewed the applications and rated them in accordance with published review criteria. Recommendations were then presented to the National Council on the Arts. The council made its recommendations to the NEA Chair, who made the final decision on all grant awards. Learn more about the grant review process or volunteer to be a panelist.

Grants for Arts Projects (Six in S.C.)

Grants for Arts Projects (GAP) provides expansive funding opportunities to strengthen the nation’s arts and cultural ecosystem. The National Endowment for the Arts received 1,996 eligible Grants for Arts Projects applications this round, which were submitted in February 2023, requesting more than $102.7 million in funding. The NEA will award 958 grants for a total of $27,178,300 to support arts projects in 15 artistic disciplines and fields. All grants require a nonfederal cost share/match of at least 1 to 1.

Each year the NEA provides extensive engagement opportunities and technical assistance to potential applicants as part of the agency’s efforts to support opportunities for all people to participate in the arts. For this round of GAP funding, the NEA received applications from more than 160 first-time applicants, and as many as 82 organizations will receive an NEA grant for the first time.

Grants for Arts Projects supports NEA funding priorities from the FY2022-2026 NEA Strategic Plan: opportunities for public engagement with the arts and arts education, for the integration of the arts with strategies promoting the health and well-being of people and communities, and for the improvement of overall capacity and capabilities within the arts sector. Significant investments in these key areas include the following grants in South Carolina:

    $25,000 to support performances and educational programs about the impact of West African traditions on the cultures of both South Carolina and the U.S.
    $25,000 to support the development and premiere of “Ruinous Gods: Suites for Sleeping Children” by composer Layale Chaker and librettist Lisa Schlesinger at the Spoleto Festival
    $15,000 support artist fees and administrative costs for a dance residency with the Syncopated Ladies, a tap dance company, at the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts
    $20,000 support a traveling film series with a focus on showcasing emerging Black filmmakers
    $15,000 to support performances and educational opportunities featuring vibraphonist Stefon Harris
    $20,000 to support unspecified literary arts projects

This year’s Grants for Arts Projects application deadlines are Thursday, February 15, 2024, and Thursday, July 11, 2024. Each discipline has identified the types of projects that are of greatest interest within this program as well as the characteristics of competitive proposals that provide the greatest opportunities for federal support to strengthen the arts ecosystem. Visit for guidelines and application resources, including a recording of the Grants for Arts Projects guidelines webinar.

Challenge America (One in S.C.)

Challenge America grants are awarded in all artistic disciplines and offer support primarily to small organizations for a wide variety of arts projects that reach historically underserved communities that have limited access to the arts relative to geography, ethnicity, economics, and/or disability. This includes communities with rich and dynamic cultural identities that have limited funding opportunities and/or have been historically underserved by national arts funding; organizations that may face barriers to accessing grant funding; and organizations that may benefit from enhanced technical assistance resources. This program is often an entry point for organizations that are new to applying for federal funding.

The National Endowment for the Arts reviewed 523 eligible applications for Challenge America funding this year, which were submitted in April 2023, and will award 257 grants for a total of $2,570,000. Each grant is for $10,000 and requires a minimum $10,000 cost share/match. Examples include this from Greenville:

    $10,000 to support arts programming in partnership with community-based organizations.

The next Challenge America application deadline is Thursday, April 25, 2024. Visit for guidelines and application resources and register for a Challenge America guidelines webinar on Wednesday, February 28, 2024, from 3:00–4:00 p.m. ET.

Research Awards (None in S.C.)

Through Research Grants in the Arts and NEA Research Labs, the NEA supports research projects that engage with the NEA’s five-year research agenda.

Research Grants in the Arts supports research studies that investigate the value and/or impact of the arts, either as individual components of the U.S. arts ecology or as they interact with each other and/or with other domains of American life. The NEA will award 18 organizations grants totaling of $1,024,755. Examples from around the country include:

  • A $99,755 award to Rochester Institute of Technology in New York to support a mixed-methods research study on the availability and effectiveness of access accommodations for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals experiencing live theater.
  • A $90,000 award to the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia to support a series of studies to develop a more inclusive measure of arts participation. Using established survey instruments such as the NEA’s Survey of Public Participation in the Arts and Arts Basic Survey, the project has the potential to benefit researchers and cultural and civic organizations and leaders seeking to better understand the relationships between the arts and community cohesion.
  • A $45,000 award to University of Arkansas Main Campus in Fayetteville to support case studies examining the importance of collegiate jazz programs to the jazz ecosystems in three U.S. cities: Kansas City, Missouri; Portland, Oregon; and Atlanta, Georgia. Selected cities represent areas with varied and expansive jazz infrastructures not solely reliant on a collegiate program.

NEA Research Labs are grounded in the social and behavioral sciences and support transdisciplinary research teams investigating the value and impact of the arts for the benefit of both the arts and non-arts sectors. In total, 30 NEA Research Labs are operating nationwide. This round includes two new Research Labs recommended for funding totaling $250,000:

  • A $150,000 award to the University of Southern California to support a research agenda and associated studies to be designed and implemented by the Brain and Music Lab within the university’s Brain and Creativity Institute. Researchers will conduct a series of studies examining the effects of music engagement on hearing, communication, and psychosocial well-being of individuals with or at risk for Alzheimer’s disease, and their caregivers.
  • A $100,000 award to the University of Oregon to support a research agenda and associated studies to be designed and implemented by the Oregon Folklife Network. Researchers will study the impacts of traditional arts apprenticeships on artists and culture-bearers and the communities they serve, with a near-term goal of improving national data collection and reporting from an equity perspective.

This year’s Research Grants in the Arts application deadline is Monday, March 25, 2024. Visit for guidelines and application resources and register for a Research Grants in the Arts webinar on Monday, Feb. 5, 2024, from 3-4 p.m. ET.

Literature Fellowships (None in S.C.)

Fellowships help writers and translators to create new work and thus expand the portfolio of art available to American audiences. These fellowships allow recipients to set aside time for writing, research, travel, and general career advancement.

This year’s Creative Writing Fellowships are in fiction and creative nonfiction. These fellowships are highly competitive, with more than 2,100 eligible applications received for FY 2024. The NEA will award 35 Creative Writing Fellowships of $25,000 each, totaling $875,000. You can read more about this diverse group of writers and what this fellowship means to them in the Creative Writing Fellowships section of The next deadline for Creative Writing Fellowships is Wednesday, March 13, 2024 and will be for poetry.

The NEA will award Translation Fellowships to 18 translators ranging from $15,000 to $25,000 totaling $325,000 to translate works from 12 languages and 16 countries into English, including books from Kenya and Greenland, countries not previously supported through an NEA fellowship. You can read more about these translators and their projects in the Translation Fellowships section of

Please note, there may be a delay in the distribution of some grant awards in this announcement as the NEA is operating under a continuing budget resolution which currently expires on February 2, 2024. For more information on all of the NEA’s grant opportunities, including 2024 deadlines, and resources for applicants and grantees, including a guide for first-time applicants, visit the Grants section of

About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts 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 Arts Endowment 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. To learn more, visit or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.