It's a tough time for the arts. With performance venues shuttered by COVID-19 and the associated economic downturn hurting donations, arts nonprofits are struggling to make ends meet. Four Memphis arts organizations got some welcome relief this week when they learned they have been selected to receive grants from the National Endowment for the Arts.
All four grants were awarded through the Art Works program. The New Ballet Ensemble was selected for a $40,000 Arts Education grant. Opera Memphis will receive a $25,000 grant. In the theater category, Hattiloo Theatre was chosen for a $25,000 grant. And Indie Memphis will receive its first-ever NEA Media Arts grant worth $20,000.
In total, 18 grants worth $1.2 million will go to arts organizations in Tennessee. The largest is the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, which is slated for a $75,000 Our Town grant for design. The Dogwood Arts Festival and the Big Ears experimental music festival in Knoxville were also chosen. Among the 10 organizations in Nashville chosen for grants are the Nashville Children’s Theatre, the Nashville Symphony, and Vanderbilt University. By far the largest grant this funding cycle went to the Tennessee Arts Commission, which received $846,100 as part of the State and Regional Partnerships program.
In all, more than $84 million in competitive grants were awarded across all U.S. states and territories. The NEA is also supplying technical support for these organizations to help them adapt their programming to help stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.