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The Actors Theatre of Louisville, which will receive $90,000 from the NEA to support its annual Humana Festival of New American Plays.

NEA's First Cycle of 2015 Grants Totals $29 Million

Among the first batch of grants announced under Jane Chu’s chairmanship, more than $3.58 million went to theatre companies.

WASHINGTON, D.C.: The National Endowment for the Arts made its first announcement for the fiscal year 2015 today, awarding $29.1 million to 1,116 grants. The grants come in three categories: Art Works, Challenge America and the NEA Literature Fellowships in Creative Writing. Theatre organizations are not among the biggest beneficiaries but they do play a role. This represents a slight uptick from last year’s first cycle, in which $25.8 million in awards were announced.  Another grant announcement is expected next summer.

Jane Chu, who began as the NEA’s new chairman in June, said in a statement, “Since coming to the NEA, I have met with many NEA grantees and have seen firsthand the positive impact they have on their communities. These new projects will continue to demonstrate the power the arts have to deepen value, build connections and foster an atmosphere of creativity and innovation both at the community level and with individuals throughout the nation.”

Art Works grants focus on the creation and presentation of particular projects; these constitute the bulk of the grants, totalling 917 awards and nearly $27 million. Theatres received 152 of these grants, totaling $3.58 million, with individual amounts ranging from $10,000 to $90,000. The latter amount went to Actors’ Theatre of Louisville to support its Humana Festival of New American Plays. A complete list of Art Works grantees can be found here.

The NEA has also developed a new subset of grants within the Art Works categories known as Collective Impact, which focuses on arts education programs that encompass entire schools, school districts and/or states. Seven grants totaling $495,000 were awarded. The John F. Kennedy Center was the only theatre to win one of these grants, receiving $100,000 for its Any Given Child program, which works with local communities to develops art education opportunities for K-8 students nationwide. The grant will allow the Kennedy Center to expand AGC to six new sites.

Theatres were also represented among the Challenge America grants, which offer $10,000 each to 163 recipients for projects designed to expose underserved populations to the arts. San Francisco’s African-American Shakespeare Company, for example, received a grant for their production of Xtigone, an adaptation of Sophocles’ Antigone with a focus on gang violence, to support its performance in public schools. The complete list of Challenge American grantees can be found here.

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