Arts & Entertainment

NEA awards more than $4 million to California arts projects

A student working during a 826LA writing workshop. 826LA is among the 2015 California
A student working during a 826LA writing workshop. 826LA is among the 2015 California "Art Works" grant winners.

The National Endowment for the Arts awarded more than $4 million through 178 grants to support arts projects in California in the latest round of grant funding. Projects range from a set of plays based on interviews with families who rely on food banks, to dance pieces that commemorate the National Park Service.

"The arts are part of our everyday lives — no matter who you are or where you live - they have the power to transform individuals, spark economic vibrancy in communities, and transcend the boundaries across diverse sectors of society. Supporting projects like those in California offers more opportunities to engage in the arts every day," NEA chairman Jane Chu said in a written statement. 

In the 50 years of the organization, NEA has awarded more than $5 billion in grants. This year, NEA awarded $27.7 million to projects across the county. The bulk of the money — more than $26 million — went to "Art Works" grants, which fund projects that focus on the creation and presentation of work and new ways of promoting arts in the community.

More than $2 million nationally went to arts education projects. Here's a selection of Southern California-based grantees in that category:

During this round of funding, the NEA marked both its 50th anniversary and the centennial of The National Park Service with grants that support arts projects that take place in National Parks. Eight California projects received funding from the "Imagine Your Parks" grant, including the Echo Park-based Machine Project. The group plans to curate performances, installations and other pieces that explore the legacy of National Parks. Think, nature hikes that end in concerts or virtual tours of scenic peaks.

A smaller portion of funding goes to Challenge America grants, which support smaller organizations that deliver arts to underserved populations. Two dozen California organizations received those grants. Explore the full list of grantees here.