NEA Awards $915,900 to Nebraska Organizations

Eight Nebraska arts organizations have received a combined $915,900 in grant awards from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). This amount includes $780,900 awarded through a state partnership agreement with the Nebraska Arts Council for programs that benefit state residents.

“I am delighted that so many Nebraska organizations received NEA grants,” said Nebraska Arts Council Executive Director Suzanne Wise. “They are highly competitive, so you know that these projects are truly outstanding.”

She also noted that the Nebraska Arts Council’s partnership agreement with the NEA is a welcomed supplement to the organization’s pool of grant funds, as it helps support arts activities in metro areas and small towns across the state.

The NEA is an independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations and develop their creative capacities. This round of NEA grants will fund 1,148 projects totaling $82.3 million nationwide.

“The arts are all around us, enhancing our lives in ways both subtle and obvious, expected and unexpected,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Supporting projects like the ones in Nebraska offers more opportunities to engage in the arts every day.”

Other Nebraska grant recipients and award details include:

Friends of Homestead National Monument of America (aka Friends of Homestead), Beatrice, NE
$10,000 – To support Arts Afire! - Exploring Homesteading Culture Through Music and Dance. An Imagine Your Parks project, this series of performances will feature the traditional music and dance of the many ethnic groups who participated in the Homestead Act of 1862. The initiative will celebrate the centennial of the National Park Service and the 80th anniversary of the Homestead National Monument. Performances are likely to include Danish fiddling, Dutch Hop Polka bands, Irish music and Middle-Eastern dance.

Nebraska Folklife Network, Inc., Lincoln, NE
$30,000 – To support statewide folk arts services and programming. The Nebraska Folklife Network will assist traditional artists and cultural organizations through organizing documentation, cultural programming assistance, traditional arts workshops, artist residencies and apprenticeship programs, as well as providing complete cultural educational materials of Nebraska's Burmese cultural groups geared towards fourth through eighth grades. Additionally, the Nebraska Folklife Network will provide technical assistance to traditional artists and cultural organizations, including meeting with refugee resettlement agencies to identify ways to assist their traditional artists.

University of Nebraska at Lincoln, Lincoln, NE
$15,000 – To support the presentation of "Flight, on earth, in sky" by puppeteer Heather Hensen at the Lied Center for Performing Arts. The work celebrates the natural wonder of North American cranes, including Nebraska's Sandhill Cranes and the endangered Whooping Cranes, whose physicality has fascinated naturalists, writers and artists for generations. The project will include public and school performances, education workshops in rural communities and a master class for university students. All educational programs will explore connections between people and the natural environment, and raise environmental awareness of the challenges facing cranes.

Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, NE
$20,000 – To support the exhibition, catalogue and related programming for Sheila Hicks: Material Voices. The exhibition will examine 60 years of Hicks's work in fiber and textile art – the first Midwestern presentation of the native Nebraskan artist. The project will include partnerships with the Omaha Refugee Task Force, Boys & Girls Clubs, Salvation Army, YMCA and Omaha Public Schools, working with refugee and migrant populations that might have a particular affinity with textile and fiber art.

Metropolitan Community College, Omaha, NE
$30,000 – To support PlayFest 2017. A component of the Great Plains Theatre Conference, PlayFest will feature several evenings of plays by nationally recognized guest playwrights in venues across Omaha. Other conference activities may include workshops, master classes, staged readings, panel discussions and talkbacks. In particular, PlayFest 2017 will examine how theater is produced, how production methods affect our connection to society and what new possibilities arise when artistic disciplines are crossed.

Omaha Performing Arts Society (aka Omaha Performing Arts), Omaha, NE
$20,000 – To support Musical Explorers, a music education and engagement program. In partnership with the Carnegie Hall Weill Music Institute, students' basic music skills will be built as they learn songs from different cultures and reflect on their own communities. Designed for kindergarten through second grade students, the project will include a comprehensive curriculum with accompanying audio resources, professional development for teachers and workbooks for students. The year-long program will culminate with a participatory concert in the Holland Performing Art Center's Kiewit Concert Hall.

Omaha Symphony Association (aka Omaha Symphony), Omaha, NE
$10,000 – To support community engagement initiatives across Nebraska. Titled Omaha Symphony Community Engagement Initiatives, the project will comprise numerous educational activities and community events, such as side-by-side concerts pairing professional and amateur adult musicians in Omaha and a community engagement tour of participatory, educational residencies throughout the state. The orchestra will work closely with instructors and musicians to present free orchestral concerts at Wayne State College in Wayne, Nebraska, and Grand Island Senior High School in Grand Island, Nebraska.

For more information on the NEA's grant announcement, visit