Columbus, OH—National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa has announced that the Wexner Center for the Arts is one of 817 nonprofit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Art Works grant. The Wexner Center is recommended for a $60,000 grant to support creative residencies and commissions by the work of two artists, including related community engagement activities. This is among the largest NEA Art Works grants the center has received (in 2009, it was awarded $85,000, including $50,000 for the multimedia exhibition William Forsythe: Transfigurations).
Acting Chairman Shigekawa said, "The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support these exciting and diverse arts projects that will take place throughout the United States. Whether it is through a focus on education, engagement, or innovation, these projects all contribute to vibrant communities and memorable opportunities for the public to engage with the arts."
Notes Wexner Center Director Sherri Geldin, “We are honored to receive this generous award from the NEA in support of the Wexner Center’s artist residencies and commissions. This work remains at the very heart of the center’s mandate as a catalyst and laboratory for the creation of new work by artists in all fields. And with so many of these works traveling on to other venues, funding from the NEA amplifies and reverberates far beyond any single institution.”
The NEA grant-supported projects include the following:
- With the support of this grant and a Wexner Center Artist Residency Award, vanguard playwright Young Jean Lee is creating STRAIGHT WHITE MEN, a play about straight white male identity that examines “a striking aspect of the current cultural moment,” one filled with “ambivalence and unease” for that demographic group, according to the artist. The play will be in development this summer, with an on-site residency at the center in March and April 2014, and the world premiere here April 10–13, 2014, followed by a tour, including to New York’s Public Theater. After the performances, Lee and company members will participate in discussions with the community and Ohio State students. The Wex is a previous supporter of Lee’s work, which is known for its provocative, even radical approach to content and issues of stereotypes. After the performances, Lee and her New York–based company will also perform WE'RE GONNA DIE at the Wex October 11 and 12, 2013, as part of their residency year.
- Filmmaker Matt Porterfield, on the heels of a Sundance screening of his latest feature, I Used to Be Darker, will be working on a new feature film, Sollers Point, with the support of this NEA grant and a Wexner Center Artist Residency Award. Post-production on the film, which will be shot in Baltimore, will be done in the Wexner Center’s Film/Video Studio, and Porterfield will conduct a film master class and will introduce the film when it’s completed (and will be investigating nontraditional venues for screenings as well). Porterfield explores characters in working-class Baltimore in his films. His residency will also encompass the creation of a short, loosely related film that he will work on in the Wexner Center’s Film/Video Studio this summer.
In August 2012, the NEA received 1,547 eligible applications for Art Works grants requesting more than $80 million in funding. Art Works grants support the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and the strengthening of communities through the arts. The 817 recommended NEA grants total $26.3 million and span 13 artistic disciplines and fields. Applications were reviewed by panels of outside experts convened by NEA staff, and each project was judged on its artistic excellence and artistic merit.
For a complete listing of projects recommended for Art Works grant support, please visit the NEA website at arts.gov.