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NEA announces $57 million in American Rescue Plan grants

567 arts organizations benefit, including five in S.C.

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) today announced it has recommended American Rescue Plan (ARP) awards totaling $57,750,000 to 567 arts organizations to help the arts and cultural sector recover from the pandemic.

The organizations may use this funding to save jobs, and to fund operations and facilities, health and safety supplies, and marketing and promotional efforts to encourage attendance and participation. The full list of recommended awards, sorted by city/state, is available from arts.gov. “Our nation’s arts sector has been among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Endowment for the Arts’ American Rescue Plan funding will help arts organizations rebuild and reopen,” said Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson, chair of the NEA. “The arts are crucial to helping America’s communities heal, unite, and inspire as well as essential to our nation’s economic recovery.” Grants are recommended to organizations in both rural and urban communities; in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Washington, DC; and represent all 15 of the NEA’s artistic disciplines. The NEA encouraged applications from a variety of organizations for this opportunity and provided numerous resources for navigating the application process. Among the recommended organizations, 27 percent are first-time NEA grantees and 78 percent are small or medium sized organizations with budgets of less than $2 million. [caption id="attachment_14408" align="alignright" width="250"]Catawba potter Keith Brown works on a project. Catawba potter Keith Brown works on a project in this file photo.[/caption] Grant award recommendations are for $50,000, $100,000, or $150,000 and do not require cost share/matching funds. In South Carolina, five organizations are recommended for the awards:
  1. Beaufort County Black Chamber of Commerce: $150,000
  2. Greenville Light Opera Works: $50,000
  3. Hampton County: $150,000
  4. Colour of Music, Inc.: $150,000
  5. Catawba Indian Nation: $150,000
The American Rescue Plan was signed into law in March 2021 and included $135 million for the National Endowment for the Arts for the arts sector. This is the third installment of ARP funding. In April 2021, the NEA announced $52 million (40 percent) in ARP funding would be allocated to 62 state, jurisdictional, and regional arts organizations for subgranting through their respective programs. In November 2021, the NEA announced $20.2 million to 66 local arts agencies for subgranting to local artists and art organizations. The National Endowment for the Arts received more than 7,500 eligible applications requesting $695 million. To review the applications, the agency employed more than 450 expert readers and panelists to review and score each application using the published review criteria. The NEA recognizes that the financial needs of the arts and culture field far outweigh the available funds that will be awarded through these programs and encourages eligible organizations to explore the agency’s other grant opportunities which can be found on arts.gov.

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 arts.gov or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Jason Rapp

Six S.C. organizations receive Arts Endowment grants

NEA releases first FY21 grantees


The National Endowment for the Arts is pleased to announce the first round of recommended awards for fiscal year 2021 totaling $27,562,040.

Supported projects span 14 artistic disciplines in communities throughout the U.S. Also included in this announcement are the recipients of NEA Literature Fellowships in creative writing and translation and support for arts research projects. “The creativity and resilience of artists and arts organizations across the country have inspired Americans during this challenging year,” said Arts Endowment Acting Chairman Ann Eilers. “These projects represent the vitality and perseverance of arts organizations small and large to overcome significant challenges, transform to new ways of engagement, and forge new relationships that benefit the diverse populations in neighborhoods and cities throughout the United States.” The Grants for Arts Projects (GAP) awards range from $10,000 to $100,000 and cover these artistic disciplines: Artist Communities, Arts Education, Dance, Design, Folk & Traditional Arts, Literary Arts, Local Arts Agencies, Media Arts, Museums, Music, Musical Theater, Opera, Presenting & Multidisciplinary Works, Theater, and Visual Arts. In February 2020, the agency received 1,674 eligible GAP applications requesting more than $82.4 million in FY 2021 support. Approved for funding are 1,073 projects totaling nearly $25 million, with grants recommended to 64% of all applicants and an average grant amount of $23,190. Grant guidelines and upcoming application deadlines are now available on the Arts Endowment website for organizations wishing to apply. Five arts projects in South Carolina were granted in this cycle. They are:
  • College of Charleston ($20,000)
  • Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston ($40,000)
  • Columbia Film Society ($20,000)
  • Greenville Light Opera Works ($10,000)
  • Hub City Writers Project ($10,000)
The Arts Endowment is committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and fostering mutual respect for the diverse beliefs and values of all individuals and groups. Part of this commitment includes our partnership with the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Outreach to develop relationships and help HBCUs navigate funding opportunities has led to an increased number of applications from and involving HBCUs. A few Grants for Arts Projects examples of successful applications from this round of funding include:
  • A $20,000 award to National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta, Georgia, to support the Move/Dance! Program in partnership with Atlanta Public Schools and Spelman College, which will virtually engage students in the appreciation of Black dance in America.
  • A $15,000 award to Illinois State University to support outreach to HBCUs and the publication of Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora. With the aim of growing its readership and cultivating new voices, Obsidian plans to offer online literary programming at HBCUs across the country.
  • A $25,000 award to Coalition for African Americans in the Performing Arts to support a master class series for aspiring classical music singers. The project will take place at several historically Black colleges and universities such as Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland; Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia; and Virginia State University in Petersburg, Virginia.
  • A $20,000 award to Josephine Sculpture Park in Frankfort, Kentucky, to support an artist residency program for visual artists and related public programming. Artists will engage local rural audiences and a partnership with Kentucky State University will enable students to engage with the residency program as interns and volunteers.
  • A $100,000 award to Arts and Humanities Council of Tuscaloosa in Tuscaloosa, Alabama to support the pARTners Project. The goal of the initiative is to increase access to arts education for students in West-Central Alabama, with a special focus on preK-12th grade students in rural areas, by creating a strategic plan, providing arts integration programs to schools, including developing curriculum and training teachers. Teaching artists will be recruited for participation from local colleges and universities such as Stillman College.

The National Endowment for the Arts will award $1.2 million in FY 2021 Literature Fellowships to creative writers and translators. This includes 35 Creative Writing Fellowships of $25,000 each. These FY 2021 fellowships are in poetry and enable the recipients to set aside time for writing, research, travel, and general career advancement. In addition, the Arts Endowment approved $325,000 in fellowships to 24 translators to translate works from 16 languages and 19 countries into English. Click here to take a more in-depth look at these fellowships and other Literary Arts grants this round.
The National Endowment for the Arts also offers two funding opportunities for research projects. This year marks the tenth anniversary of grants for arts research, a program currently known as Research Grants in the Arts. For FY 2021, 14 organizations are recommended for Research Grants in the Arts totaling $833,000. In addition, five NEA Research Labs are recommended for funding totaling $645,790. Transdisciplinary research partnerships grounded in the social and behavioral sciences will examine and report on the benefit of the arts in non-arts sectors. Click here to explore more about the recommended arts research awards. A research project by Clinical Biotechnology Research Institute at Roper St. Francis Hospital in Charleston was the recipient of an $80,000 research grant.
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. Visit arts.gov to learn more.

Jason Rapp