Local organizations win major National Endowment for Arts grants

A collection of 10 Greater Cincinnati and Dayton organizations received considerable funding from the National Endowment for the Arts to support efforts ranging from music education and gallery exhibitions to academic research.

NEA awarded more than $32 million overall through its first round of grants for fiscal year 2024. The 1,288 grants went to arts-minded agencies and programs from all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

In total, Ohio received 26 grants with a total value of $438,000. Those figures include $135,000 for seven organizations in Cincinnati.

NEA grants will support arts programs across the U.S.
(Photo by Annielly Camargo)

Most recipients received funding in one of four categories – Grants for Arts Projects, Challenge America, Research Grants in the Arts and Research Labs. The NEA also earmarked money for individual artists whose work focuses on literary translation.

Award values range from $10,000 to $100,000.

“The NEA is pleased to announce these grants, all of which strengthen our nation’s arts sector in different ways,” said Maria Rosario Jackson, NEA’s chairperson.

“Whether it’s the creation of new art, opportunities for the public to participate and engage in the arts or work to better understand the impact of the arts, these grants contribute to the well-being of individuals and communities and help meet the challenges of our time.”

Investing in local arts, local communities 

The majority of the Queen City’s awards will go toward traditional arts programming – Activities Beyond the Classroom ($10,000); The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati ($15,000); Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra ($15,000); Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra ($30,000); Contemporary Arts Center ($30,000) and Price Hill Will’s MYCincinnati youth orchestra ($15,000).

The University of Cincinnati received $15,000 to conduct a study on the impact of the arts on local commerce and street vitality in several major metropolitan areas.

MYCincinnati Youth Orchestra

Other regional recipients are Dayton (Ohio) Contemporary Dance Company ($20,000) and Oxford-based MAKETANK Inc. ($10,000).

There was only one Northern Kentucky awardee: Pones Inc. The Dayton, Ky. institution received $15,000 to commission and present a multidisciplinary performance.

​​“We are thankful to the NEA for their continued acknowledgment of the strength, vitality and impact of Ohio’s arts and culture sector,” said Donna Collins, director of the Ohio Arts Council. “These investments are a testament to the hard work, creativity and innovation of the state’s nonprofit arts organizations, which enrich the lives of all Ohioans and continue to power the state’s economy.”

Art serves the community in various ways

The NEA dollars will matriculate their way through Greater Cincinnati communities in myriad ways. Activities Beyond the Classroom, for example, is supporting the Cincinnati Public Schools International Jazz Festival.

Other uses include the creation of youth-minded productions by The Children’s Theatre, offsetting operational costs of the MYCincinnati summer camp and investing in CSO’s Classical Roots, a concert celebrating Black musical heritage.

With its funding, the CAC plans to create the first museum retrospective exhibition of American artist Vivian Browne (1929-1993), examining the intersections of art and activism.

Christina Vassallo

On display next winter, the retrospective will receive accompaniment from various academic and public events, including a series of community conversations. There will also be a pop-up “response” project in the museum’s educational spaces, according to Christina Vassallo, director of the CAC.

“Using new research and commissioned texts, visitors will have the opportunity to explore Browne’s more than three-decade-long career as she navigated the Black arts and feminist movements with passion and purpose,” Vassallo said.

In announcing the funding decisions, Jackson and the rest of the NEA selection committee praised the CAC and other awardees for contributing to the “strength and well-being” of the arts sector and the local communities they serve.

“We are pleased to be able to support this community and help create an environment where all people have the opportunity to live artful lives,” Jackson continued.

First Round NEA Grant Awards 2024

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