WFMU, Art21, L.A. Theatre Works among winners of NEA grants

By Andrew Lapin

"James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket," which originally aired on American Masters in 1989, will find new life online with the help of an NEA grant. (Photo: Sedat Pakay/WNET)

“James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket,” which originally aired on American Masters in 1989, will find new life online with the help of an NEA grant. (Photo: Sedat Pakay, WNET)

The National Endowment for the Arts announced 886 grants Wednesday totaling $25.8 million for its latest round of Art Works projects, and multiplatform initiatives in public media had a strong showing, along with the usual suspects in broadcast programming.

Freeform radio station WFMU received $75,000 to build online tools around its Free Music Archive, while Games for Change got $55,000 to expand its interactive supplement to PBS’s Half the Sky series. An additional $50,000 went to the Maysles Institute to revive a 26-year-old James Baldwin documentary for a transmedia audience.

Sums went to public TV mainstays such as POV, American Masters and PBS NewsHour, while the NEA also gave sizable chunks to new and budding programming initiatives. NPR will use a $40,000 grant to mount a music portfolio for hip-hop and R&B similar to its Alt.Latino project, while the radio-drama company Los Angeles Theatre Works will put $100,000 toward expanding its two-year-old pubradio show.

This season’s other notable NEA Art Works grants to pubmedia organizations include:

  • $100,000 to American Documentary, producer of PBS’s POV, for continued support of the program;
  • $100,000 to New York’s Art21 arts organization for production of the pubTV series Art21: Art in the Twenty-First Century;
  • $100,000 to the Bay Area Video Coalition for video and audio preservation;
  • $100,000 to New York’s WNET for continued production of American Masters;
  • Two separate grants to Washington, D.C.’s WETA for NewsHour projects: $80,000 for a series about arts preservation and $70,000 for a series about arts organizations working with “underserved or underrepresented communities”;
  • $75,000 to the College of Charleston in South Carolina for production of a documentary about author Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor;
  • $75,000 to Los Angeles’s KCETLink for Artbound, a multiplatform series on the arts in Southern California;
  • $75,000 to New York’s Lincoln Center for production of the PBS performance series Live from Lincoln Center; and
  • Two grants to Public Radio International: $70,000 for production of “The World’s Global Hit,” a musical segment on The World, and $60,000 for continued production of Studio 360.

Read the full list of grants.

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