• Creative Placemaking Guidelines and Report Launched by NEA

    Includes 2016 Our Town Grant and Technical Assistance Guidelines, and Report on Performing Arts and Transforming Place

    May 21, 2015

    Washington, DC—The arts are an integral component of building vibrant communities and as part of its commitment to supporting arts-based community development, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is posting information on funding opportunities and a new creative placemaking resource. These are:

    Creative placemaking is when artists, arts organizations, and community development practitioners integrate arts and culture into community revitalization work—placing arts at the table with land-use, transportation, economic development, education, housing, infrastructure, and public safety strategies. The NEA's programs support local efforts to enhance quality of life and opportunity for residents, increase creative activity, and create a distinct sense of place.

    “This moment is an exciting time for communities across the country to employ arts strategies to improve the places where people live, work, and play,” said NEA Director of Design Programs Jason Schupbach. “To help maintain that positive momentum, the NEA is highlighting successful creative placemaking practices through our grant-making, federal partnerships, convenings and publications like Beyond the Building.”

    2016 Our Town guidelines

    2016 is the sixth year of Our Town, the NEA’s primary creative placemaking program, providing funding that supports local efforts to enhance quality of life and opportunity for residents, increase creative activity, and create a distinct sense of place. Grants in 2016 will be available for projects in arts engagement, design and planning, and in knowledge building.

    The application deadline for the 2016 Our Town program is earlier than in years past and is on September 21, 2015. Guidelines and application materials for 2016 Our Town program are in the Apply for a Grant section of the NEA website.

    Since Our Town's inception in 2011, the NEA has awarded 256 grants totaling more than $21 million in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In addition, the NEA has created the online resource Exploring Our Town, with more than 70 case studies and lessons learned from organizations working in communities large and small, urban and rural across the country. In July, the NEA will announce the 2015 grantees, including projects from the new project type of supporting knowledge-building in the field of creative placemaking. 

    Webinars to assist Our Town applicants

    To help applicants prepare competitive proposals, the NEA is offering two webinars; July 29 and August 5, 2015. Each session will be from 3:00 – 4:00 pm ET. Program staff will lead a Powerpoint presentation with tips and tricks for crafting compelling applications, followed by Q and A.

    Registration for the webinar will be available in July in the webinar section of the NEA website.

    Our Town technical assistance initiative

    The NEA is releasing a program solicitation for an organization to manage a new pilot technical assistance (TA) program that will assist Our Town grantees in completing their NEA-funded projects and building their organizational capacity. 

    After a managing organization has been selected, it will work with the NEA to provide direct assistance to select Our Town grantees to help increase the likelihood that grantees’ projects are fully successful, resulting in longer term positive outcomes for communities. The NEA will share lessons learned, significant field trends, and other program resources with the public. Our Town grantees will be able to apply in February 2016 when guidelines are available, to be among the organizations selected to receive the direct assistance.

    Report on performing arts and transforming place

    The report features outcomes of the November 2014 convening, Beyond the Building: Performing Arts and Transforming Place. The event brought together 26 leaders from dance, music, theater, and multidisciplinary organizations to examine how performance-based groups, and the artists they engage, transform places through their artistic practices. Participants included artists, representatives from performing arts organizations, discipline-based service organizations, and arts funders. The event was supported by ArtPlace America and attracted an active online audience through a Twitter conversation curated by HowlRound.

    The convening yielded key observations and guiding principles towards helping performing arts organizations expand the work they do in communities. The report follows the format of the event, presenting lessons learned in six areas: language and framing, place and mission, events and effects, issues and impacts, relationships and resources, and equity.

    A list of convening participantsgrouped by discipline or organizational type (dance, funder, opera, symphonic music, theater, community organization/program, presenter) along with selected observations provides a sample of the conversation.

    To follow the Twitter conversation about Beyond the Building: Performing Arts and Transforming Place, use #PerformPlace. 

    About the National Endowment for the Arts

    Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. For more information, visit www.arts.gov.

  • The National Endowment for the Arts Awards $1,343,600 for Art Projects in Virginia


    CONTACT:
    Margaret G. Vanderhye
    Executive Director
    Virginia Commission for the Arts
    1001 East Broad Street, Suite 330
    Richmond, Virginia 23219
    804-225-3132
    margaret.vanderhye@vca.virginia.gov

    Richmond, VA—Through its grant-making to thousands of nonprofits each year, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) promotes opportunities for people in communities across America to experience the arts and exercise their creativity.

    In the second major grant announcement of fiscal year 2015, the NEA will make 24 awards to nonprofit art and design organizations in Virginia totaling $1,343,600.This includes $683,600 awarded through a state partnership agreement with the Virginia Commission for the Arts for programs that benefit state residents.

    The state partnership agreements allow the NEA to extend its reach to every community in America; translating national leadership into local, state and regional benefit. The NEA will make 1,023 awards totaling $74.3 million nationwide in this funding round.

    NEA Chairman Jane Chu said, “The NEA is committed to advancing learning, fueling creativity, and celebrating the arts in cities and towns across the United States including in Virginia. Funding these new projects represents a significant investment in local communities and the creative vitality of Virginia.”

    • American Youth Philharmonic Orchestras (aka Northern Virginia Youth Symphony Association)
      $15,000
      Annandale, VA
      FIELD/DISCIPLINE: Music
      To support the Chamber Ensemble Program. The project will comprise a residency with the Ensemble da Camera of Washington, D.C., which will lead coaching sessions, conduct free public master classes, and present concerts. Chamber ensembles will be formed with students from the orchestra's most advanced youth ensembles. The student ensembles will receive ongoing coaching, master class critiques, and will perform with the musicians of Ensemble da Camera.

    • Greater Washington Educational Telecommunications Association, Inc. (aka WETA)
      $50,000
      Arlington, VA
      FIELD/DISCIPLINE: Media Arts
      To support production and post-production costs for a series of video segments about artists and their communities. To be broadcast on PBS's "NewsHour" and featured on the PBS website, the series will focus on innovative activities that have strengthened artists and their communities. Staff from the PBS NewsHour's Culture Desk will travel across the United States to capture the interactions between artists and communities.

    • PBS Foundation
      $75,000
      Arlington, VA
      FIELD/DISCIPLINE: Media Arts
      To support "PBS Indies," a digital platform for independent film. This series of curated films will feature both narrative and documentary films, ranging from light-hearted comedies to coming-of-age stories, to intimate portraits of people coping with life-altering circumstances. In addition to providing access to independent film in non-traditional ways, the project will include the PBS Online Film Festival. The films also will be made available to the PBS LearningMedia service, giving teachers in the United States access to the films for classroom use.

    • Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University
      $20,000
      Blacksburg, VA
      FIELD/DISCIPLINE: Presenting & Multidisciplinary Works
      To support a series of multidisciplinary presentations. Programming will include presentations in music, theater,
      puppetry, jazz, folk music, dance, animation, opera, painting, and virtual environments. Accompanying engagement activities will include school matinees, workshops, and master classes.

    • Chateauville Foundation (aka Castleton Festival)
      $15,000
      Castleton, VA
      FIELD/DISCIPLINE: Opera
      To support the opera module of the Castleton Festival and the Castleton Artists in Training program. The international music festival with a primary focus on opera brings together established artists and emerging artists. The festival will offer varied performance opportunities for young artists as well as training in stagecraft. Founded by conductor Lorin Maazel and now led by Artistic Director Dietlinde Maazel, the 2015 festival will include two fully staged productions of Verdi's "La Traviata" and Mozart's "Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail." Selected emerging artists will participate in as many as four weeks of performances, two fully staged operas, and two young artist opera scenes programs in summer 2015.

    • University of Virginia
      $30,000
      Charlottesville, VA
      FIELD/DISCIPLINE: Design
      To support the 2015 planning and production of Design Futures. The project is a forum to introduce future design leaders to current leaders in the Public Interest Design (PID) field. At each forum, students participate in a series of workshops that allow them to apply the skills they are learning in real time. The students and faculty visit local examples of PID to see how these projects manifest in communities, and to discuss both the challenges of this type of work and the creative problem solving required to ensure high-quality, durable projects. Design Futures is part of a broader effort to support the maturation of the PID field and to respond to the significant demand for related cross-disciplinary training.

    • University of Virginia
      $25,000
      Charlottesville, VA
      FIELD/DISCIPLINE: Folk & Traditional Arts
      To support the Virginia Folklife Program's Folklife Apprenticeship Program. Master artists from a wide range of
      traditional art forms will be paired with dedicated apprentices. The program provides an opportunity to strengthen the transmission of traditions between generations, as well as engage new learners and reinvigorate master practitioners. The program also will help support a strong infrastructure of folklife resources and activities throughout the state.

    • Association of Writers & Writing Programs (aka AWP)
      $70,000
      Fairfax, VA
      FIELD/DISCIPLINE: Literature
      To support an annual conference, online services, and the publication and promotion of "The Writer's Chronicle." The conference will feature readings and panel discussions about literature, writing, editing, publishing, program administration, and teaching. The annual conference also will include a book fair that will showcase more than 700 small presses and literary organizations. The website will feature career advice; news and job listings; grant, award, and publishing opportunities; as well as essays and podcasts on writing and teaching. The website also will offer a searchable directory of writing programs. "The Writer's Chronicle" is AWP's print magazine, which features articles, news, and information for writers, editors, students, and teachers of writing.

    • Fall for the Book, Inc.
      $10,000
      Fairfax, VA
      FIELD/DISCIPLINE: Literature
      To support the literary festival Fall for the Book. The festival will host readings, panel discussions, workshops, and exhibits in two dozen locations throughout the Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C., metro area. The festival includes as many as four headline events featuring a literary writer, a poet, a popular writer with a wide audience, and a nonfiction writer or memoirist.

    • George Mason University
      $15,000
      Fairfax, VA
      FIELD/DISCIPLINE: Presenting & Multidisciplinary Works
      To support a festival celebrating the history of Al-Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad. In partnership with Brentwood Arts Exchange, Cultural DC, and McLean Project for the Arts, GMU will create a cultural festival recognizing the historic Al-Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad as a cultural gathering space. (The street was a market and meeting place for literary artists going back to the 8th century. It was bombed in 2007 and is no longer active as a market.) The festival will include exhibitions, street performances, film screenings, lectures, literary readings, and experiential art workshops.
    • George Mason University
      $20,000
      Fairfax, VA
      FIELD/DISCIPLINE: Research
      To support a study examining whether middle school students from at-risk backgrounds who take arts electives show greater academic achievement than those who do not. Data for the analysis will come from the Miami School Readiness Project, a longitudinal study consisting largely of children who received free or reduced-price lunches in kindergarten. More than half of the students are English Language Learners, a historically understudied group.

    • Old Dominion University Research Foundation
      $20,000
      Norfolk, VA
      FIELD/DISCIPLINE: Presenting & Multidisciplinary Works
      To support The Birth of An Answer. African-American artists will contribute creative responses to the D.W. Griffith film "Birth of a Nation." A screening of Oscar Micheaux's "Within Our Gates" will be accompanied by a live performance of a new original musical score composed by Adolphus Hailstork and performed by members of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra. Local artists and historians also will be creating a multimedia photography essay documenting the African-American cinema experience in the Hampton Roads area over the past century that will precede the screening.  Additionally, Booker T. Mattison's short experimental film about the African-American cinema experience will receive its debut.

    • Virginia Stage Company
      $10,000
      Norfolk, VA
      FIELD/DISCIPLINE: Theater & Musical Theater
      To support a production of "Poem of the Sea," a new musical by playwright and composer Eric Schorr. Based on
      interviews with local residents, historians, and scientists, the work will explore the effects of rising sea levels in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia, and beyond. The story will feature diverse historical figures such as Langston Hughes, Walt Whitman, and the Japanese Emperor Hirohito, who embark on a transformative journey.

    • National Art Education Association (aka NAEA)
      $50,000
      Reston, VA
      FIELD/DISCIPLINE: Arts Education
      To support National Visual Arts Standards Professional Development Initiative. Visual arts teachers, administrators, and teaching artists will be trained in the use of new National Visual Arts Standards released in 2014 through regional professional learning forums, interactive virtual learning webinars, and conferences. A web-based resource will be developed to collect ideas and model curriculum and assessment tools. The project will lead to strategic development of a perpetual learning community that supports one another through shared success in reimagining teaching and learning in the visual arts based on the artistic processes of creating, presenting, responding, and connecting.

    • 1708 Gallery (aka 1708 Gallery)
      $35,000
      Richmond, VA
      FIELD/DISCIPLINE: Visual Arts
      To support InLight Richmond. A juried outdoor exhibition of light-based art, video, sculpture, interactive projects, and new media works will be created to activate building facades, storefronts, green spaces, sidewalks, and alleyways. The gallery will offer selected artists an honorarium, installation, and production support to develop new work that responds to the history and significance of a particular neighborhood. Past jurors have included prominent contemporary curators from major U.S. museums. A series of lantern-making workshops and a lantern parade will be organized in partnership with local schools and community groups.

    • Storefront for Community Design (aka Storefront)
      $20,000 Richmond, VA
      FIELD/DISCIPLINE: Design
      To support Recovery by Design. Storefront will offer a series of classes, a charrette, and a workshop to clients in recovery from mental health issues, intellectual disabilities, and substance abuse disorders. This project, led by Storefront and several arts partners, will culminate with art openings that showcase the work created during the classes. The Richmond Behavioral Health Authority also will receive design assistance in the form of promotional materials intended to destigmatize mental illness. The art openings and the design assistance will bring attention to how design can be used as a communication tool - broadly educating the public about mental health issues - and can include clients in the design process.

    • Virginia Commonwealth University
      $30,000
      Richmond, VA
      FIELD/DISCIPLINE: Arts Education
      To support Currentlab Game Design Institute. Art teachers from across the state of Virginia will attend professional development workshops in the summer of 2015 in digital game design as an art form. The institute will train teachers in creating a working digital game while demonstrating learning of digital media arts concepts pertinent to game-making activities, including aesthetic meaning, game construction, and development and programming interactive experiences. The institute's curriculum aligns with national standards of learning in visual and media arts across grade levels including understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes; uses knowledge of structures and functions; and chooses and evaluates a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas. The project will refine and expand a game curriculum presented to art teachers in the 2014 school year with additional input from teachers who have implemented the curriculum in their schools.

    • Virginia Commonwealth University
      $20,000
      Richmond, VA
      FIELD/DISCIPLINE: Media Arts
      To support production and post-production costs for a documentary film by Sasha Waters-Freyer. The film will explore the life and work of acclaimed American photographer Garry Winogrand, whose "snapshot aesthetic" captured such iconic images as Norman Mailer's 50th birthday party, tourists at Dealy Plaza in Dallas after President Kennedy's assassination, and Marilyn Monroe with her skirt askew on the set of "The Seven-Year Itch." Once it has been completed, the film will be offered to film festivals and targeted for national broadcast.

    • American Shakespeare Center
      $10,000
      Staunton, VA
      FIELD/DISCIPLINE: Theater & Musical Theater
      To support the Dangerous Dreams Tour. A professional troupe of actors will tour classic repertory such as William Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" and "Henry V," and Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest" to performing arts centers, high schools, community centers, and colleges throughout the U.S. Locations may range from large cities such as Baltimore to more isolated, rural, and underserved areas such as Clarksville, Texas. Actors will be trained in the Renaissance staging conditions of universal lighting, audience contact, and musical interludes.

    • Heifetz International Music Institute, Inc.
      $30,000
      Staunton, VA
      FIELD/DISCIPLINE: Music
      To support an outreach and career development program for young musicians. Project plans will include residencies by institute alumni at the Jamestown Arts Center in Jamestown, Rhode Island, that will feature master classes, after-school programs, media interviews, and performances. Also, alumni will be in residence at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra working with their youth symphony as well as with public school students. Finally, one alumnus will spend a year as artist-in-residence at Mary Baldwin College in Virginia providing lectures, demonstrations, and performances in public schools, community centers, and non-traditional community venues.

    • Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann O'Neill Malcom Branch
      $10,000
      Sterling, VA
      FIELD/DISCIPLINE: Folk & Traditional Arts
      To support the Music Arts and Dance (MAD) Week 2015. Master artists will offer instruction in traditional Irish music for the fiddle, flute, concertina, button accordion, uilleann pipes, harp, guitar, piano, bouzouki, tenor banjo, and bodhran. Classes also will be offered in singing and various Irish dance styles. Instructors will be featured in a full-length concert and a showcase will allow students the opportunity to perform.

    • Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts (aka Wolf Trap)
      $60,000
      Vienna, VA
      FIELD/DISCIPLINE: Opera
      To support professional training programs for singers and fully staged opera performances. Filene Young Artists and Opera Studio Artists will receive individualized training from music and language coaches, directors, and conductors and will perform solo and supporting roles in three fully staged operas. The performance-based, residency training program will include career development seminars, voice lessons, language coaching, and master classes. During the summer of 2015, as many as three fully staged operas, two recitals, one concert, and community outreach presentations will occur at The Barns at Wolf Trap and at the Filene Center.
    • Some details of the projects listed are subject to change, contingent upon prior Arts Endowment approval. Information is current as of April 17, 2015.

      To join the Twitter conversation about this announcement, please use #NEASpring2015. For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, go to arts.gov


      About
      The Virginia Commission for the Arts is the state agency that supports the arts through funding from the Virginia General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts. The Commission distributes grants to arts and other non-for-profit arts organizations, educational institutions, educators, artists, and local governments. For more information about the Virginia Commission for the Arts, visit www.arts.virginia.gov or call (804) 225-3132. Media inquiries should be addressed to Margaret Vanderhye, margaret.vanderhye@vca.virginia.gov or the number above.


      Media Contact
      Margaret G. Vanderhye
      Executive Director
      Virginia Commission for the Arts
      1001 East Broad Street, Suite 330
      Richmond, Virginia 23219
      804-225-3132
      margaret.vanderhye@vca.virginia.gov

      ###

    • Virginia Commission for the Arts announces 2015 Poetry Out Loud State Champion

      POL Photo Credit: Chris Poupore

      Richmond - On Friday, March 13, 2015 at the WCVE public television studios in Richmond, Virginia, Ahkei Togun, a junior from Tallwood High School in Virginia Beach was named Virginia’s 2015 Poetry Out Loud Champion. At the state finals competition, he outperformed ten other contestants drawn from an original field that included over 10,800 high school students who participated throughout the Commonwealth.

      The top three finalists among the eleven state contestants were asked to recite a third poem of their choosing from among a selected anthology. Ahkei chose “The Way It Sometimes Is” by Henry Taylor. He captivated the four judges and the audience with his expressiveness and mature interpretation. As the state champion, he received a $200 cash award, a $500 stipend for his school and an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C. to represent Virginia at the National Poetry Out Loud competition April 27-29, 2015. First runner-up Isabelle Andrews of St. Catherine’s School (Richmond), received a $100 cash award and $200 for her school library. Second runner-up was Ben Elliott of Grace Christian School (Staunton).

      Poetry Out Loud is celebrating its tenth year as a national program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation, and in Virginia with the Virginia Commission for the Arts. The Commission’s Executive Director, Margaret Vanderhye said “On behalf of Governor McAuliffe, our Commissioners and staff, and poetry lovers throughout Virginia, I extend congratulations to all of our competitors from the eleven high school students who advanced to the State Finals to the thousands of our wonderful students who participated in Poetry Out Loud this year across the Commonwealth.” She added, “We are so pleased to launch our new Virginia partnership for this program with The Community Idea Station, WCVE Richmond, and with the Virginia Education Association so that we can reach a wider audience and encourage even greater participation in the future”.

      Recordings by WCVE of the Virginia Poetry Out Loud State Finals will air throughout the state. Broadcasting dates and affiliates are listed below. Friday’s program emcee was Daphne Maxwell Reid, a frequent speaker and guest on WCVE. A spoken word musical performance was provided by Teens With a Purpose, a creative youth development organization in Hampton Roads since 1996, whose mission is to creatively cultivate the next generation of leaders. The awards were presented by Virginia’s Secretary of Education Anne Holton who spoke about the importance of poetry as a literary genre and of the program itself to build self -confidence, master public speaking skills and think critically for the purpose of recitation.

      When asked how he went about preparing for his own recitations, Ahkei responded: “I read over my poems dozens of times of course. As the days went by I would say them a million times in my head. Whenever I had free time, I would close my door, lock it, and go into my own little poetry world, reciting them over and over again and just having fun with it. Before I knew it, I could say them without thinking about it.” Supporters can cheer on Ahkei by joining Poetry Out Loud for the webcast of the 2015 National Semifinals and Finals at http://arts.gov/partnerships/poetry-out-loud-national-recitation-contest/webcast-national-semifinals-and-finals. The national competition will be held April 27-29, 2015 at the Lisner Auditorium in Washington, D.C.

      To find out how to participate in Virginia’s Poetry Out Loud program visit http://www.arts.virginia.gov/programs_POL.html.

      Broadcast Dates of the Virginia Finals

      WCVE Richmond PBS
      Thursday, April 9 at 9:00 pm & Monday,
      April 13 at 11:00 pm

      WCVE Richmond PBS
      Sunday, April 12 at 4:00 pm

      WHTJ Charlottesville PBS
      Thursday, April 9 at 9:00 pm & Monday, April 13 at 11:00 pm

      WHUT Washington PBS
      Sunday, May 10 at 8 am, Friday, May 15 at
      8:00 pm, & Saturday, May 16 at 1:00 pm

      WBRA Roanoke PBS
      Sunday, May 17 at 3:00 pm

      WHRO Norfolk PBS
      Sunday, April 26 at 2:00 pm

      WVPT Harrisonburg PBS
      Thursday, April 23 at 8:00 pm

      About
      The Virginia Commission for the Arts is the state agency that supports the arts through funding from the Virginia General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts. The Commission distributes grants to arts and other non-for-profit arts organizations, educational institutions, educators, artists, and local governments. For more information about the Virginia Commission for the Arts, visit www.arts.virginia.gov or call (804) 225-3132. Media inquiries should be addressed to Margaret Vanderhye, margaret.vanderhye@vca.virginia.gov or the number above.

      Media Contact
      Margaret G. Vanderhye
      Executive Director
      Virginia Commission for the Arts
      1001 East Broad Street, Suite 330
      Richmond, Virginia 23219
      804-225-3132
      margaret.vanderhye@vca.virginia.gov