Just before his final public appearance as chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Rocco Landesman announced the recipients of its 2013 Art Works grants. Over $23 million will be distributed to 832 recipients throughout the United States and Puerto Rico, with an additional 40 creative writing fellowships consisting of $1 million awarded to poets.
Art Works is the broadest NEA funding category, offering awards to non-profit art organizations working to foster public engagement, lifelong learning, and strong communities through high-quality art programming.
Because this year marks the 100th anniversary of Igor Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring,” several grants were awarded to institutions with projects inspired by the revolutionary work, including the Mark Morris Dance Group, the Houston Ballet, and Bard College, which will host a music festival celebrating Stravinsky’s work.
Other grantees range from the Calista Elders Council in Anchorage, Alaska, which has received $45,000 to bring together 24 dance groups from remote Alaskan villages for a three-day festival; to the Dia Art Foundation, which has been awarded $50,000 for a traveling retrospective of Carl Andre.
This round of grants is just the beginning of awards planned by the NEA for 2013. While the Art Works category distributes the most funding, according to our calculations the organization still has around $110 million in their budget for the year, to be allocated among more specific categories such as Our Town, which offers grants for place-based art initiatives, and Poetry Out Loud, the national high-school poetry competition.
Recipients were chosen from vast applicant pools — particularly in the creative writing competition for poetry, which had over 1,130 applicants. Despite the tight odds, this cycle is the first time that both members of a married couple have been awarded NEA Creative Writing fellowships: Suzanne Buffam and Srikanth Reddy, both poets, graduates of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and professors at the University of Chicago, have quite a year ahead of them.