Once threatened with extinction, the National Endowment for the Arts, with encouragement from Congress, is moving ahead, and recently announced its spring grants.
Those grants include $2.7 million to 16 different Georgia organization, most of them in Atlanta. These grants are among the $82 million that the federal agency will distribute to support the arts in every state, plus the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and American Samoa.
Earlier this year the budget proposed by President Donald Trump suggested eliminating the agency, but Congress replaced funding for the NEA, plus a little more.
Among the Atlanta organizations receiving grants from the NEA are:
•ArtsBridge Foundation, Inc. ($10,000), which brings young people to performances at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.
•Center for Puppetry Arts ($10,000) to enable the production of “Cinderella Della Circus,” a “fairy-tale for the stage.”
•Robert W. Woodruff Arts Center ($35,000), to support a two-year plan by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra to celebrate the centenary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth along with the music of Ludwig van Beethoven.
•WonderRoot ($150,000), to contribute to “Embedded (Here),” a community revitalization project in the Oakland City neighborhood.
•The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Decatur Book Festival ($10,000), to help underwrite the country’s largest independent book festival.
The bulk of the grants, $742,200, will go to the Georgia Council for the Arts, which passes those grants on to constituent arts organizations.
A walk through the Center for Puppetry Arts:
For some organizations, such as the Atlanta Chamber Players (which will receive $10,000), the support from the NEA makes a big difference. The grant to the community non-profit WonderRoot represents a significant fraction of the group’s yearly budget.
It also validates the work being done by groups big and small. “A grant from the National Endowment for the Arts is a fantastic affirmation of what we do at the Decatur Book Festival,” said Daren Wang, the festival’s founder and executive director. “It makes me proud to be part of this fantastic literary community.”
“The arts reflect the vision, energy, and talent of America’s artists and arts organizations,” said NEA chairman Jane Chu. “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support organizations such as AJC Decatur Book Festival, in serving their communities by providing excellent and accessible arts experiences.”