Arts Grants Support Local Institutions

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The National Endowment for the Arts announced grants for local cultural institutions The National Endowment for the Arts recently released their grants for the 2013-2014 fiscal year, and several major cultural institutions on the Upper West Side, Upper East Side and downtown Manhattan reaped the benefits of the extra funds. Many organizations saw an increase in funds this year, like the Metropolitan Opera, which received $265,000 this year (a $70,000 increase from 2012), and the Guggenheim Museum, whose NEA funds almost doubled from 2012-2013. Over the past few years the NEA, the government agency that financially supports cultural institutions nationwide, has been going through several changes. This year, the agency saw a reduction in fund availability by over $3 million, but they made up for it by using carry-over funds. In addition, 2011 saw the addition of a new category for modern arts organizations: the "arts in media" category (includingsmartphone apps, podcasts and video games) which flooded the NEA with triple the amount of grant applications. "After the initial excitement, the number of applications for fiscal year 2013 have normalized," said Liz Auclair, the public affairs specialist for the NEA. This may explain the increase in funds from last year to this year, but Leah Maddrie, a representative from Symphony Space, a performing arts center on the Upper West Side, whose organization saw a decrease in funds this year, believed that the pool still remains fairly competitive. "I would imagine in the last couple of years, the amount of money available to distribute has gone down and the pool is much more competitive," said Maddrie. "They're trying to keep up with the times by recognizing different art forms, but that also means they will get many more people applying than before."( But as a result of the change in looking at new forms of media, Symphony Space was able to talk about new forms of media, like the podcast, when asking for federal fund. This year, Symphony Space received $25,000 for Selected Shorts, a radio and podcast show featuring stories performed by well-known stage and screen stars - a program that the NEA has supported in years past. The New York Philharmonic was also happy with their NEA grants, worth $170,000, this year. Most of the funds went toward their school partnership program, which brings classical music education and concerts to students all over the city, including neighborhood schools like P.S. 199 and P.S. 165. This year, for the first time they received the maximum grant of $100,000. "The school partnership program really gets us out into neighborhood schools in all five boroughs," said Ted Wiprud, a representative from the New York Philharmonic education program. "We're always aiming to expand the program, both within the schools and by adding schools, the NEA support makes me optimistic that we can see growth for the coming years. We always have a bunch of schools on a waiting list, so we'll hopefully be able to include more schools now." Lincoln Center, the home of the New York Philharmonic, received $190,000 for their education program, the Lincoln Center festival and the production of artist profiles. The Metropolitan Opera, also housed in Lincoln Center, saw a $70,000 increase in funds from last year. Most of the $265,000 will be going toward a new production of Handel's "Giulio Cesare." On the Upper East Side, the Guggenheim Museum received $80,000 for the exhibit "Gutai: Splendid Playground." The Whitney Museum received $50,000 for an exhibit on Edward Hopper. Downtown, Tribeca Film Institute received $100,000 for a professional development program and their reframe collection website. The Children's Museum of the Arts received $30,000 to support Multicultural Explorations: Artistic Traditions and Contemporary Interpretations.

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