Washington receives a welcome boost from new NEA grants

May 17, 2011

In the round of grants announced Tuesday by the National Endowment for the Arts, groups in the Washington region received some welcome financial help.


The Corcoran Gallery of Art, which received a NEA grant, is a place for art and art discussions. It recently held a panel on censorship in the arts. (Photo by Evy Mages for the Washington Post)

Last month the theatre learned it was among the local casualties of a congressional budget reduction. Congress cut the National Capital Art and Cultural Affairs program budget from $9 million to $2 million. Congress started the program to support organizations that would normally receive state funding if the District was a state.

Gala’s federal grant went from $296,000 to $87, 371, said Rebecca Medrano, the company’s executive director.

“The NEA money has certainly come through at a good time,” said Medrano. The season-opener is budgeted at $150,000 and the theatre has raised half of the total. “Everyone’s money is drying up at the same time,” she said. “And the fiscal year is winding down and my deficit would be exactly what I lost from the Capital Art fund.”

Other Washington recipients of NEA’s grants were also affected by the Capital Art fund’s drastic reductions.

Dance Place received $30,000 from the NEA for performance and residencies. The National Building Museum received $60,000 for an exhibition about grand architectural plans in the area that were never built. The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz is getting $45,000 for an education program with New Orleans musicians. In addition Monk is receiving $75,000 for jazz education tours in partnership with the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts Foundation.

The Corcoran Gallery of Art was also cut back by the Capital Art. The NEA has awarded the Corcoran $47,000 for a mobile app for visitors to customize their tours.

Other Washington region groups received money from the $88 million the NEA announced. National Public Radio, which is headquartered in Washington got two grants, $40,000 for a Latino multimedia arts and music project and $125,000 for a music website.

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