Supporting the arts

20 Austin organizations bestowed $1.7 million in National Endowment for the Arts funding

20 Austin organizations bestowed $1.7 million in federal arts funding

Paramount Theatre marquee movie series
Austin Theatre Alliance, which oversees the 105-year-old Paramount Theatre, received $95,000. Paramount Theatre/Facebook

The National Endowment for the Arts has bestowed grants on 20 Austin-based arts and entertainment organizations — the most of any city in Texas. This round of grants — NEA's second in 2020 — was selected in March, just as the COVID-19 pandemic began sweeping across the country, and announced on June 10.

The $84 million is awarded in 13 artistic disciplines, arts research, and partnership agreements. While the arts remain grossly underfunded across the U.S., the 2020 grants are a much-needed windfall during a time of great economic uncertainty. Here, in Austin, that windfall amounts to $1,706,800 across the 20 organizations. 

"These awards demonstrate the continued creativity and excellence of arts projects across America and the nimbleness of our nation’s arts organizations in the face of a national crisis that shuttered their doors for months," said Mary Anne Carter, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, in a release.

Austin-based organizations receiving NEA grants include:

  • Allison Orr Dance Inc. (aka Forklift Danceworks) — $10,000
  • Austin Chamber Music Center — $45,000
  • Austin Children's Museum — $20,000
  • Austin Classical Guitar Society — $80,000
  • Austin Film Festival, Inc. — $15,000
  • Austin Film Society — $20,000
  • Austin Lyric Opera — $25,000
  • Austin Symphony Orchestra Society, Inc. — $25,000
  • Austin Theatre Alliance (aka Paramount and Stateside theatres) — $95,000
  • Ballet Austin — $10,000
  • Blue Lapis Light — $10,000
  • Capitol Broadcasting Association — $15,000
  • Collide — $35,000
  • Conspirare — $40,000
  • Contemporary Austin — $35,000
  • Fuse Box — $30,000
  • MINDPOP — $54,000
  • Motion Media Arts Center (aka Austin Cinemaker Space) — $15,000
  • Texas Commission on the Arts — $1,087,800
  • Texas Folklife Resources — $40,000

The Contemporary Austin's $35,000 grant will go towards funding the ambitious exhibition "Deborah Roberts: I’m," opening at the downtown Jones Center location on January 23, 2021. Ballet Austin says its $10,000 grant will go towards Stephen Mills' There is No Other, which will run March 26-28, 2021 at the Long Center.

"I believe our nation is at a crossroads, with calls for social justice, equity, and inclusion for all citizens," said Mills, who serves as Ballet Austin's artistic director, in a release. "The dancers and I will explore these issues and the power words have to help and harm our progress in my new production, There is No Other, which premieres next spring as part of our upcoming 2020/21 season. We appreciate the NEA’s investment in our work and look forward to amplifying this important conversation.”

In total, the NEA bestowed 54 grants to Texas arts organizations in Abilene, Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Fort Worth, Galveston, Houston, Marfa, San Antonio, and Waco. 

In Dallas, four organizations received grants, amounting to $110,000:

  • buildingcommunityWORKSHOP (aka bcWORKSHOP) — $25,000
  • Cara Mía Theatre Co. — $40,000
  • Dallas Museum of Art — $20,000
  • Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra — $25,000

"This grant will help us serve communities that depend on Cara Mía Theatre for their cultural needs during the pandemic," David Lozano, executive artistic director of Cara Mía Theatre, tells CultureMap. "Funds will support salaries as well as our free School of YES! for youth ages 7 and up, digitization of our repertory of bilingual children's plays for schools, and our investigation of practices that integrate the arts and health."

Meanwhile, two organizations in Fort Worth were also bestowed the awards, amounting to $30,000:

  • Arts Council of Fort Worth and Tarrant County, Inc (aka Arts Council of Fort Worth) — $10,000
  • Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Association, Inc. (aka Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra) — $20,000

"We are delighted to have the NEA's support and recognition of the bold new approach to public art this project represents," said Arts Council of Fort Worth’s director of public art Martha Peters via release. "During the 20th Anniversary Year of the Fort Worth Public Art program, the work of internationally renowned new media artists will reflect the past, present and future of Fort Worth on a truly monumental scale to the broadest possible audience."

In Houston, 14 arts organizations received funding: 

  • American Festival for the Arts (aka AFA) — $20,000
  • Art League of Houston — $20,000
  • DiverseWorks, Inc. — $25,000
  • Glasstire — $20,000
  • Houston Arts Alliance (aka HAA) — $10,000
  • Houston Center for Photography (aka HCP) — $20,000
  • Houston Symphony Society (aka Houston Symphony) — $25,000
  • Houston Youth Symphony & Ballet (aka Houston Youth Symphony) — $42,000
  • Inprint, Inc — $20,000
  • Museum of Fine Arts Houston — $25,000
  • Society for the Performing Arts — $30,000
  • Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts  — $20,000
  • University of Houston – $20,000
  • Writers in the Schools (aka WITS) — $50,000

San Antonio was granted $32,500 in NEA funds across six organizations:

  • Centro Cultural Aztlan, Inc. — $25,000
  • Contemporary Art for San Antonio (aka Blue Star Contemporary) – $20,000
  • Esperanza Peace and Justice Center — $60,000
  • National Association of Latino Arts and Culture — $15,000
  • San Antonio Symphony — $17,500
  • Youth Orchestras of San Antonio — $15,000