Nebraska Organizations Receive National Funding

The National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, DC, recently awarded six grants totaling $140,000 to Nebraska artists and arts organizations. These funds are among the more than $30 million awarded by the NEA to support the arts in 48 states, as well as Washington, DC, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, in the first round of fiscal year 2017 funding. A full press release from the NEA can be found online at

Art Works is the NEA’s largest funding category and focuses on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts and the strengthening of communities through the arts. Nebraska organizations receiving Art Works funding include:

Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts (aka Bemis Center)
Art Works – Artist Communities
Grant Award: $25,000
To support an artist residency program and related activities. Selected in an open call by a juried process, American and international artists will receive support to participate in residencies at one of Bemis' two facilities in Omaha. Together, the facilities provide a large installation and performance space, dark room, art research library, computer stations and 10,000-square-feet sculpture and ceramics facility.

El Museo Latino
Art Works – Museum
Grant Award: $35,000
To support the exhibition, "Three Feminine Views of Mexico," and related programming. The project will focus on the topic of immigrants and immigration in Nebraska. Planned to coincide with the state's 150th anniversary, the exhibitions will cover historic imagery, urban renewal and development in Omaha and contemporary life in Mexico and Cuba. The exhibitions will feature work by contemporary artists such as Mina Barcenas (b. 1965) and the pioneering photographer Mariana Yampolsky (1925-2002). Public programming will include art workshops and artist lectures.

Film Streams, Inc. (aka Film Streams)
Art Works – Media Arts
Grant Award: $25,000
To support a series of curated films. The series will include the presentation of repertory programs, special programs and film events in collaboration with arts and social service organizations such as the Omaha Irish Cultural Center, Boris Center for Contemporary Arts and the Meyer Foundation for Disabilities. Recent programs include an Ingrid Bergman retrospective and a continuation of the "Great Director" series featuring the works of Chantal Akerman.

Omaha Performing Arts Society (aka Omaha Performing Arts)
Art Works – Presenting & Multidisciplinary Works
Grant Award: $20,000
To support the presentation of "it gets better," a multidisciplinary performance work created by the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles. The chorus will be in residence at the Omaha Performing Arts Society, during which they will work with local River City Mixed Chorus to create a unique presentation. In addition to performances, the artists will partner with local high schools and community organizations to participate in roundtable discussions, workshops and school visits.

The Challenge America category supports small and mid-sized organizations for projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations – those whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics or disability. Nebraska organizations receiving Challenge America funding include:

Lincoln Orchestra Association
Challenge America
Grant Award: $10,000
To support a free music outreach program serving members of the immigrant and refugee community. Members of Family Literacy, an English Language Learning program serving members of the immigrant and refugee community in Lincoln, Nebraska, will receive free tickets to music performances, as well as transportation to the concert venues. Audiences will take part in pre-concert talks, with translators, about concert etiquette, classical music history and the instruments used, and engage in family activities prior to the performance, such as face painting, an instrument petting zoo, musical games, photo booths, and arts and crafts projects.

Through its Creative Writing Fellowships, the NEA gives writers the time and space to create, revise, conduct research and connect with readers. Applications are reviewed on their artistic excellence and alternate between poetry and prose each year. Nebraska artists receiving Creative Writing Fellowship funding include:

Wabuke, Hope
Creative Writing Fellowship
Grant Award: $25,000

About the National Endowment for the Arts
Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA 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 NEA 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. Visit to learn more about the NEA.