December 13 – December 20, 2007 Edition

National Endowment

For Arts Grants $1 Million

In Fellowships to Writers

WASHINGTON, DC/12/4/07– In its first major grant announcement of fiscal year 2008, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has announced that it will award $20.2 million to fund 908 grants. Included in the funding are 42 individual Creative Writing Fellowships totaling $1 million.

Literature Fellowships are the Arts Endowment’s most direct investment in American creativity, encouraging the production of new work and allowing writers the time and means to write. The agency received more than 777 applications for its Creative Writing Fellowships in Prose. The forty-two writers will receive fellowships of $25,000 each, including Brockway Clarke from Cincinnati, Ohio; John D’Agata from Iowa City, Iowa; Kelly Madigan Erlandson from Lincoln, Nebraska; and Sheila Ortiz-Taylor from Tallahassee, Florida.

The Arts Endowment will distribute $19,189,000 in this round of FY 2008 funding to nonprofit national, regional, state, and local organizations across the country through the NEA’s Access to Artistic Excellence category.

NEA Chairman Dana Gioia said, "This group of NEA grants supports a wide range of artistically excellent projects across the country. Among our grants, NEA funds help dance companies tour, theaters to mount new productions, museums to provide education programs, and small communities to celebrate their local traditions with folk festivals."

Access to Artistic Excellence grants support the creation and presentation of work in dance, design, folk and traditional arts, literature, media arts, museums, music, musical theater, opera, presenting, theater, and visual arts. This round of funding also supported grants to local arts agencies for service-to-the-field projects that assist artists and arts organizations with improving managerial infrastructures. Projects include commissions, residencies, workshops, performances, exhibitions, publications, festivals, and professional development programs. Through this category, the NEA will fund 866 projects out of 1,312 eligible applications, for a total of $19.189 million.

Examples of projects supported by Access to Artistic Excellence grants include:

A $90,000 grant to the New York City Ballet to support a retrospective of the work of Jerome Robbins, one of the great American choreographers of the 20th century. The company will perform 33 of his ballets three to four times per week during the spring season at the New York State Theater.

An $18,000 grant to the University of California at Berkeley for the University Art Museum to support planning for the exhibition State of Mind: Conceptual Art in Northern and Southern California. The goal of the project is to investigate and identify California’s significant contributions to conceptual art and the distinctions that marked the development of this genre in the northern and southern parts of the state.

A $15,000 grant to the Sarasota Opera to support the commissioning of a two-act, one-hour opera, written for the young voices (ages 10 to 18) of the Sarasota Youth Opera Chorus. The new opera will be composed by Ned Rorem with a libretto by J.D. McClatchey.

A $35,000 grant to the Western Folklife Center in Elko, Nevada to support the Out West, Back East Tour. In honor of the center’s 25 years of presenting the arts of ranch culture, the project will bring some of the West’s most respected poets, narrators, singers, and songwriters to urban centers in the East, Midwest, and West for performances and short residencies.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

The NEA is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts — both new and established — bringing the arts to all Americans, and providing leadership in arts education. Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Arts Endowment is the largest national funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases. For more information, please visit