The Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University has received two awards from the National Endowment for the Arts in its second round of funding for fiscal year 2017. The Wex is the only organization in Ohio to receive grants in two separate categories, totaling $60,000—a level of support to Ohio institutions second only to that received by the Ohio Arts Council.
“The American people are recognized for their innovative spirit and these grants represent the vision, energy, and talent of America’s artists and arts organizations,” NEA Chairman Jane Chu said in a statement accompanying this round of funding. “I am proud of the role the National Endowment for the Arts plays in helping advance the creative capacity of the United States.”
The two grants will bolster the Wexner Center’s robust commitment to directly support artists in the research, development, and production of new work through annual residency programs that also aim to engage and educate the community. Many of the artists whose work will benefit from this round of grants have a long, productive history with the Wex.
A $35,000 award for “Presenting & Multidisciplinary Works” will fund several projects, including a creative residency for choreographer Faye Driscoll, a creative residency for Columbus-based dance artist Bebe Miller, and the world premiere presentation of Miller’s next piece, Dancing in The Making Room, which was co-commissioned by the Wexner Center. Miller will share material developed during her residency for the piece on Thursday, July 13, before it makes its world premiere at the Wex November 30–December 3. Driscoll will also offer insight into her artistic process for the Wex-commissioned work Thank You for Coming: Space, the final installment of a trilogy exploring new ways to engage with audiences, on Thursday, August 31.
Additionally, part of this grant will be allocated to the world premiere presentation of A Thousand Thoughts, a new collaboration between filmmaker Sam Green and the Kronos Quartet, which was co-commissioned by the Wexner Center. This “live documentary” reflects on Kronos Quartet’s 45-year history, combining live narration, archival footage, and interviews—all accompanied by live music performed by Kronos—and will have its world premiere at the Wexner Center on Thursday, January 25, 2018.
The grant also funds the presentation of a new work by the British theater ensemble Improbable, which was co-commissioned by and launched through a creative residency at the Wexner Center. This new work, inspired by a series of famous 20th-century psychological experiments, is entitled Opening Skinner’s Box (after the Lauren Slater book of the same name) and will be presented at the Wex March 29–April 1, 2018.
A second award of $25,000 under the NEA’s “Media Arts” category will provide essential resources to the center’s unique Film/Video Studio Program, which in turn supports 15– 20 filmmakers each year through all aspects of post-production. Among this year’s roster of artists in residence is Ohio-born Kevin Jerome Everson, whose work was recently featured at the 2017 Whitney Biennial.
Wex director Sherri Geldin noted: “We’re honored by the continued generosity of the National Endowment for the Arts and deeply grateful for its support of our mission to advance contemporary art across a range of disciplines. In this time of uncertainty surrounding the future of federal arts funding, the Wexner Center, alongside other distinguished arts organizations in Ohio and across our nation, stands as testament to the NEA’s vital role in encouraging artistic excellence and enriching the cultural conversation in communities throughout the US and beyond.”
For more on The National Endowment for the Arts: www.arts.gov.