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The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has announced its second round of grants for fiscal year 2024. Totalling more than $110m, the grants fund everything from museums to dance companies, theatres, literary organisations, arts festivals, opera companies and music and art schools—representing all 50 US states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, the Virgin Islands and Guam. The more than 800 individual grants range from $10,000 to $2.5m each, with the larger amounts going to state and regional cultural bodies and arts councils.

The Western States Arts Federation will receive the heftiest grant (more than $2.5m) to support its programming in 13 US states in addition to American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam. The state of New York will receive both the largest number of grants—277, more than 200 of which will go to organisations within New York City’s five boroughs—and the greatest total amount (just over $11m).

The grant summaries reveal several interesting, yet-to-be-announced projects at museums throughout the US. Some of the most notable collaborations with individual artists are an upcoming “large-scale sculptural work” by Agnes Denes at the Desert Biennial in Palm Springs, California (receiving a $55,000 NEA grant); a new Duane Linklater commission at the Dia Art Foundation in New York ($50,000); an exhibition spanning two decades and more than 100 works by the Pakistani American artist Anila Quayyum Agha at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art in Western Pennsylvania ($45,000); a comprehensive survey of works by Jackie Winsor at Laumeier Sculpture Park in St Louis ($40,000); and a solo show by the Austrian Nigerian photographer David Uzochukwu at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art in Tennessee ($40,000).

The NEA will also fund museum-anniversary exhibitions, including one marking the 65th anniversary of Puerto Rico’s Museo de Arte de Ponce, home of Frederic Leighton’s Flaming June (1895), “the world’s most liked masterpiece” ($60,000 grant); and a celebration of the 60th anniversary of The Panorama of the City of New York at the Queens Museum, complete with new site-specific works inspired by the famous miniature model of the Big Apple ($50,000).

Noteworthy public-art projects on the grant list include a Living Streets Alliance programme in Tucson, Arizona, of “traffic-calming interventions” ($90,000); a Chilkoot Indian Association collaborative project in Alaska to help heal generational trauma in the Tlingit community ($75,000); and an initiative by (Neo)Muralismos de México in St Paul, Minnesota, to work with the local community to create 10,000 alebrijes, vibrantly coloured traditional Mexican folk-art sculptures of mythical creatures ($30,000).

American economy

Arts industries contributed a record $1.1 trillion to the US economy in 2022

“These projects exemplify the creativity and care with which communities are telling their stories, creating connection and responding to challenges and opportunities in their communities—all through the arts,” the NEA’s chair, Maria Rosario Jackson, said in a statement. “So many aspects of our communities such as cultural vitality, health and well-being, infrastructure and the economy are advanced and improved through investments in art and design and this funding at the local, state and regional levels demonstrates the National Endowment for the Arts’ commitment to ensuring people across the country benefit.”

In January, the NEA announced 1,288 grants totalling more than $32m in its first round of funding for fiscal year 2024. In March, the annual Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account report revealed that the US’s arts and cultural industry generated a record $1.1 trillion in 2022 (4.3% of the country’s GDP) and provided jobs to 5.2 million people.

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