The National Endowment for the Arts announced on November 17, 2011 its most recent round of grants, awarding $22.5 Million to 863 organizations and individual fellows nationwide. More than $1.6 Million will support creative residency programs – artist communities, colonies, and residencies that provide artists of any discipline with dedicated time and space for the development of new work.
The NEA’s letter to the field in 2009 recognized “the critical role that Artist Communities play in American Culture. You are a unique field whose main focus is on the individual artist. You play an irreplaceable role in this nation's artistic creativity and vision.”
“We are thrilled to celebrate the NEA’s support of the field, which will provide artists with necessary resources to develop new work,” says Caitlin Strokosch, Executive Director of the Alliance of Artists Communities, a national and international association of artists' communities, colonies, and residency programs. “The NEA’s recognition is a symbol of the relevance and immediacy of our field's work: to support living artists in the creation of new work and the exploration of new ideas. The Alliance of Artists Communities was founded on the belief that supporting today's artists in developing new work is essential to human progress – not as a luxury, not as a leisure activity, but as a vital and necessary force in society.”
Many artist residency programs remain relatively unknown to the public, the artists they have served and some of the works created in-residence are immediately recognizable: Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs, Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring, Gregory MacGuire’s Wicked; Thornton Wilder’s Our Town; Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay; as well as works by Allen Ginsberg, David Sedaris, Marcel Duchamp, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Robert Rauschenberg, James Baldwin, John Lennon, Truman Capote, Bill T. Jones, Spalding Gray, Leonard Bernstein, Edward Albee, Langston Hughes, Liz Lerman, Sylvia Plath, Gwendolyn Brooks, Bob Dylan, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, and many, many more.
There are an estimated 500 artist residency programs in the U.S. (and more than 1,000 worldwide), which in turn provide residencies to more than 12,000 artists each year – painters, poets, composers, choreographers, playwrights, filmmakers, novelists, scholars, and others.
The Alliance of Artists Communities is a national and international association of artists' communities, colonies, and residency programs — a diverse field of more than 1,000 organizations worldwide that support artists of any discipline in the development of new creative work. Believing that the cultivation of new art and ideas is essential to human progress, the Alliance's mission is to advocate for and support artists' communities, to advance the endeavors of artists. For more information, visit: www.artistcommunities.org
For a complete list of 2012 “Art Works” grants awarded by the NEA, visit: www.arts.gov
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. To join the discussion on how art works, visit the NEA at www.arts.gov