Wednesday, February 2, 2022 - 00:00

NEA announces over $33 million in project funding nationally, including $540,000 for North Carolina arts organizations and artists

Feb 2, 2022

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced its first round of recommended awards for the fiscal year 2022, totaling nearly $33.2 million, on Jan. 11. Of that amount, $540,000 was awarded to 28 North Carolina grant recipients from arts organizations, universities, theater companies, discipline-specific festivals, and museums.

“These National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grants underscore the resilience of our nation’s artists and arts organizations, will support efforts to provide access to the arts, and rebuild the creative economy,” said NEA Acting Chair Ann Eilers in a press release. “The supported projects demonstrate how the arts are a source of strength and well-being for communities and individuals and can open doors to conversations that address complex issues of our time.” Organizations in every state in the nation, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, will receive federal funding for arts projects in this round of fiscal-year 2022 funding.

Among North Carolina grantees, Bennett College, a private historically Black liberal arts college for women in Greensboro, will receive a $20,000 Theater Grants for Arts Projects to support the Black Lives Matter Theater Festival. This is Bennett College’s first grant award from the NEA. This project will establish a collaborative theater festival in Greater Greensboro, centered on Black lives and experiences in America. According to the NEA’s website, "outreach to HBCUs is a direct priority of the National Endowment for the Arts".

The festival partners include Theater Department Chairs of the Greensboro Consortium Colleges and Universities. Besides Bennett College, the Greater Greensboro Consortium includes Guilford College, Elon University, Greensboro College, High Point University, North Carolina A&T State University and UNC Greensboro.

"To our knowledge, this is the first time the Greensboro Consortium Colleges and Universities have collaborated in this way, and it all started with a remarkable group of department chairs who were committed to elevating stories and voices from the Black community," said Dr. Anne Hayes, Executive Director of Global and Interdisciplinary Studies at Bennett College. "There were too many stories to tell for a one weekend performance, so it needed to be bigger. We decided if we collaborated, we could offer four shows over four weekends — a full festival."

Independent scholar Alexis Pauline Gumbs was also among the grant recipients. She will receive a $25,000 Creative Writing Fellowship.

"The support of the NEA at this point in my career. . . connect[s] me to the legacy of those literary workers whose brave experiments have made my work and life possible," Gumbs said in a statement. "I dedicate my celebration of this award to those workers, including and especially the LGBTQ artists of color whose selection for this award terrified proponents of censorship in the arts."

A full, state-by-state listing of grants is available here.

A full list of North Carolina grantees follows:

Category: Grants for Arts Projects
Penland School of Crafts, Inc., Bakersville, $25,000 (Artist Communities)

Asheville Creative Arts, Inc., Black Mountain, $10,000 (Artist Communities)

LEAF Community Arts (aka LEAF Global Arts), Black Mountain, $45,000 (Presenting & Multidisciplinary Works)

Sun Publishing Company, Inc. (aka The Sun Magazine), Chapel Hill, $10,000 (Literary Arts)

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (on behalf of Playmakers Repertory Company), Chapel Hill, $15,000 (Theater)

University of North Carolina General Administration (aka UNC-TV), Chapel Hill, $20,000 (Media Arts)

Goodyear Arts, Inc., Charlotte, $10,000 (Presenting & Multidisciplinary Works)

McColl Center for Art & Innovation, Charlotte, 20,000 (Artist Communities)

Que-Os (aka BOOM Charlotte), Charlotte, $10,000 (Challenge America)

American Dance Festival, Inc. (aka ADF), Durham, $60,000 (Dance)

Center for Documentary Studies (aka Full Frame Documentary Film Festival), Durham, $20,000 (Media Arts)

Duke University (on behalf of Duke Performances), Durham, $15,000 (Presenting & Multidisciplinary Works)

Duke University (on behalf of Nasher Museum of Art), Durham, $25,000 (Museums)

Gaspard&Dancers, Inc. (aka Gaspard&Dancers), Durham, $10,000 (Dance)

Southern Documentary Fund, Durham, $25,000 (Media Arts)

Bennett College, Greensboro, $20,000 (Theater)

Elsewhere Incorporated, Greensboro, $15,000 (Visual Arts)

North Carolina Folk & Heritage Festivals, Greensboro, $30,000 (Folk & Traditional Arts)

Southeastern Theatre Conference, Inc., Greensboro, $10,000 (Theater)

County of Orange, North Carolina, Hillsborough, $25,000 (Local Arts Agencies)

Chamber Music Raleigh, Inc., Raleigh, $10,000 (Music)

North Carolina Theatre, Raleigh, $10,000 (Musical Theater)

Stecoah Valley Arts, Crafts & Educational Center, Inc., Robbinsville, $10,000 (Folk & Traditional Arts)

ShaLeigh Dance Works, Rougemont, $10,000 (Dance)

Central Park NC (aka STARworks Center), Star, $20,000 (Visual Arts)

Cucalorus Film Foundation (aka Cucalorus), Wilmington, $20,000 (Media Arts)

Category: Literature Fellowships
Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Durham, $25,000 (Creative Writing)

Category: Research Grants in the Arts
University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, $15,000

About the National Endowment for the Arts
Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. To learn more, visit

About the North Carolina Arts Council
The North Carolina Arts Council builds on our state’s long-standing love of the arts, leading the way to a more vibrant future. The Arts Council is an economic catalyst, fueling a thriving nonprofit creative sector that generates $2.12 billion in annual direct economic activity. The Arts Council also sustains diverse arts expression and traditions while investing in innovative approaches to art-making. The North Carolina Arts Council has proven to be a champion for youth by cultivating tomorrow’s creative citizens through arts education.

About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state's natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. NCDNCR's mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state's history, conserving the state's natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development.

NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, three science museums, three aquariums and Jennette's Pier, 41 state parks and recreation areas, the N.C. Zoo, the N.C. Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, the African American Heritage Commission, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, and the Division of Land and Water Stewardship. For more information, please visit

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