NEA At A Glance
The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector.
The NEA is the largest annual national funder of the arts in the United States. In FY 2010, the NEA invested nearly $139 million through more than 2,700 grants across the country; in turn, these organizations had direct expenditures in their communities of $2.1 billion. NEA grants have a powerful multiplying effect, with each grant dollar typically matched by nine dollars of additional investments in this country's nonprofit arts organizations.
Since its inception, the NEA has awarded more than 135,000 grants, including early support for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial design competition, the Sundance Film Festival, Spoleto Festival USA, and PBS's Great Performances series. For more than four decades, the Arts Endowment has encouraged creativity through support of performances, exhibitions, festivals, artist residencies, and other arts projects throughout the country in a number of different disciplines/fields, including Artist Communities, Arts Education, Dance, Design, Folk and Traditional Arts, Literature, Local Arts Agencies, Media Arts, Museums, Music, Musical Theater, Opera, Presenting, Theater, and Visual Arts.
The NEA also extends its impact through partnerships with federal agencies, state organizations, and other public and private organizations in the following areas:
State and Regional: Forty percent of the NEA's funds go to the 56 state and jurisdictional arts agencies and the six regional arts organizations in support of arts projects in thousands of communities across the country, greatly extending the NEA's reach and impact, and translating national leadership into local benefit.
Federal Partnerships: The NEA works with more than 20 other federal agencies, as well as with state and local governments, on projects that provide opportunities for thousands of Americans to experience quality arts programming throughout the country. These partnerships include initiatives with such agencies as the Department of Education, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Defense, Department of State, and Department of Health and Human Services. For example, the NEA administers the Arts and Artifacts Indemnity Program on behalf of the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. Created by Congress in 1975, the Indemnity Program helps minimize the costs of insuring both domestic and international exhibitions, allowing museum attendees across the country to see important works of art from around the country and around the world.
Design: The Endowment's leadership initiatives in design are run in partnership with private not-for-profit organizations.
Arts Education: In addition to direct grants through Grants for Arts Projects, the NEA also supports arts education through federal, state, and public-private partnerships. Partnerships include:
International: Through cooperative initiatives with other funders, the NEA brings the benefit of international exchange to arts organizations, artists, and audiences nationwide. International partnerships provide opportunities for U.S. artists and arts organizations to travel abroad as well as for artists from other countries to participate in residencies in the U.S. The NEA's International Partnerships include USArtists International, U.S./ Japan Creative Artists' Program, and ArtsLink Residencies.
Through additional partnerships the NEA also carries out special initiatives, including:
In addition to grants to organizations, the NEA supports individuals through literature fellowships in the areas of creative writing (prose and poetry fellowships are awarded in alternating years) and translation. The goal of the fellowships program is to encourage the production of new work and allow writers the time and means to write. The NEA has supported authors who have gone on to write many of the most acclaimed novels of contemporary American literature: Jeffrey Eugenides's Middlesex, Alice Walker's The Color Purple, William Kennedy's Ironweed, and Bobbie Ann Mason's In Country. Through fellowships to published translators, the Arts Endowment supports projects for the translation of specific works of prose, poetry, or drama from other languages into English.
The NEA also supports artists through annual lifetime honor awards in three categories: NEA National Heritage Fellowships to master folk and traditional artists; NEA Jazz Master Fellowships to jazz musicians and advocates; and NEA Opera Honors to those who have made extraordinary contributions to opera in the United States. Each recipient receives an award of $25,000 and is celebrated at an awards ceremony and concert.
The NEA also manages the National Medal of Arts, the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the United States Government. Established by Congress in 1984, and awarded annually by the President, National Medal of Arts recipients are selected based on their contributions to the creation, growth, and support of the arts in the United States. Each year, the Arts Endowment seeks nominations from individuals and organizations across the country.
The NEA Office of Research & Analysis has produced landmark research reports that have provoked national debate on issues surrounding the arts and arts education. Among these is the 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, the nation's largest and most representative periodic study of adult participation in arts events and activities, conducted by the NEA in partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau. Five times since 1982, the survey has asked U.S. adults 18 and older about their patterns of arts participation over a 12-month period. The 2008 survey reveals dwindling audiences for many art forms, but it also captures new data on Internet use and other forms of arts participation. Using the data in this survey the NEA has also published companion reports/notes, including Arts Education in America: What the declines mean for arts participation; Beyond Attendance: A multi-modal understanding of arts participation; Age and Arts Participation: A case against demographic destiny; and Audience 2.0: How Technology Influences Arts Participation (2010).
The NEA has also tracked reading rates among children and adults in Reading at Risk (2004), To Read or Not to Read: A Question of National Consequence (2007), and Reading on the Rise: A New Chapter in American Literacy (2009). Other research, including Artists in the Workforce: 1990-2005 (2008) and All America's a Stage (2008), looks at employment and economic trends in the arts industry. Additional studies on creativity and aging, civic engagement, and arts education highlight the social impact of the arts in America.
National Endowment for the Arts · an independent federal agency