NEA Awards $210,000 in Grants Across Tennessee

Nashville Ballet
Nashville Ballet

National Endowment for the Arts Announces First Round of FY 2018 Funding to Nonprofit Organizations

From Liz Auclair, Public Affairs, NEA –

Each year, more than 4,500 communities large and small throughout the United States benefit from National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grants to nonprofits. For the NEA’s first of two major grant announcements of fiscal year 2018, more than $25 million in grants across all artistic disciplines will be awarded to nonprofit organizations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. These grants are for specific projects and range from performances and exhibitions, to healing arts and arts education programs, to festivals and artist residencies.

“It is energizing to see the impact that the arts are making throughout the United States. These NEA-supported projects are good examples of how the arts build stronger and more vibrant communities, improve well-being, prepare our children to succeed, and increase the quality of our lives,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “At the National Endowment for the Arts, we believe that all people should have access to the joy, opportunities, and connections the arts bring.”

In Tennessee, ten organizations were awarded grants:

$10,000 Chattanooga, TN
Challenge America
To support a music composition lecture series and performance for youth.

International Storytelling Association (aka International Storytelling Center)
$30,000 Jonesborough, TN
Art Works — Folk & Traditional Arts
To support Storytelling Live!, a series of residencies for master storytellers.

Jubilee Community Arts, Inc. (aka Laurel Theater)
$20,000 Knoxville, TN
Art Works — Folk & Traditional Arts
To support traditional music performances at the Laurel Theater.

Knoxville Opera Company (aka Knoxville Opera)
$10,000 Knoxville, TN
Challenge America
To support a series of free public performances, in-school productions, and education programs intended to engage underserved audiences of East Tennessee.

University of Tennessee at Knoxville
$15,000 Knoxville, TN
Art Works — Theater
To support the Clarence Brown Theatre’s production of “Alabama Story” by Kenneth Jones.

Blues City Cultural Center (aka BCCC)
$10,000 Memphis, TN
Challenge America
To support a cultural tourism project highlighting the cultural assets of Orange Mound, a predominantly African-American neighborhood in Memphis, Tennessee.

Opera Memphis, Inc. (aka Opera Memphis)
$25,000 Memphis, TN
Art Works — Opera
To support 30 Days of Opera and The McCleave Project.

Frist Center for the Visual Arts Inc. (aka The Frist Center)
$55,000 Nashville, TN
Art Works — Museums
To support the exhibition, “Chaos and Awe: Painting for the 21st Century.”

Nashville Ballet (aka Nashville Ballet)
$15,000 Nashville, TN
Art Works — Dance
To support the company premiere of Stephen Mills’ “Light: The Holocaust and Humanity Project,” and accompanying community engagement programming.

Nashville Symphony Association (aka Nashville Symphony)
$20,000 Nashville, TN
Art Works — Music
To support the commissioning, performance, and recording of a new work by American composer Jonathan Leshnoff.

  • Click here for a list of recommended grantees in this announcement sorted by city and state.
  • Click here for a list of recommended grantees separated by category: Art Works (sorted by artistic discipline/field) and Challenge America.
  • Click here to use the NEA’s Grant Search to find additional project details for NEA grants.
  • Click here for the lists of the panelists that reviewed the applications for funding.

Other fiscal year 2018 grant announcements made to date include the NEA’s Literature Fellowships in Creative Writing and for Translation Projects.

Art Works

Art Works is the NEA’s largest funding category and supports projects that focus on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and/or the strengthening of communities through the arts.

The NEA will award 936 Art Works grants totaling more than $24 million to organizations in 49 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Supported projects include:

  • A grant of $10,000 to the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra in Indiana for their Metropolitan Youth Orchestra, designed to serve K-12 students in the most impoverished neighborhoods in Marion County, Indiana. As part of this project, a group of adults will learn to play an instrument alongside their children, providing them with shared skills and experiences.
  • A grant of $40,000 to the Toe River Arts Council in Burnsville, North Carolina, to support the second phase of the Burnsville Art Vision Plan, integrating designs by local artists into transit infrastructure. Artist-designed images and patterns inspired by local flora and fauna will be fabricated as steel traffic light pole wraps.
  • A grant of $10,000 to the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA) in Amherst, Virginia, to support artist residencies for military veterans. VCCA will partner with three Virginia galleries to present exhibitions of the work the artists produce during their residencies.
  • A grant of $12,500 to the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, to support a program for foster children and foster families that offers access to the Musical Instrument Museum along with attendance at musical performances and participation in workshops and other educational activities.

Challenge America

The Challenge America category features NEA support for projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations—those whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability. A number of these grantees have a history of support in both the Challenge America and Art Works categories.

For fiscal year 2018, the NEA will award 138 Challenge America grants of $10,000 each for a total of $1.38 million to organizations in 42 states. Supported projects include:

  • A grant to Ozark Foothills Filmfest in Locust Grove, Arkansas, to support their annual festival showcasing independent, narrative, and documentary films. The festival will focus on films that provide authentic portrayals of the people, places, and practices unique to rural America.
  • A grant to VSA Florida in Tampa to support dance performances and outreach activities by artists with disabilities who will conduct public performances, master classes, and events for students with and without disabilities in Tampa, Jacksonville, and Miami, Florida.



Related Content:

Motion Graphic—Our Grants Process

NEA Quick Facts

Video—The NEA: Serving Our Nation Through the Arts


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