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NEA gives more than $1 million in grants to Utah arts organizations

The National Endowment for the Arts announced today that it has awarded more than $1 million in grants to 11 Utah arts organizations.

The grants come in the second round of fiscal year funding for 2017 and are part of 1,195 grants, totaling $82.06 million, awarded in all 50 states and five U.S. jurisdictions. Added to the first round of fiscal year funding for 2017, Utah has received $1,323,200 in year-to-date funding across 20 grants.

Utah arts organizations that received funding in the most recent round of grants include Epicenter (a nonprofit community design center), the Center for Documentary Arts (a nonprofit that creates and promotes documentaries) and Plan-B Theatre Company (which focuses mostly on plays written by Utahns).

Jena Woodbury, executive director of the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company in Salt Lake City, whose organization also received an NEA grant this round, said receiving this funding makes a difference in how many people they can reach with their work.

“One of the things I think that is really remarkable about this grant that we get … is that it really helps us serve rural areas and underserved (areas),” Woodbury said. “So it’s incredibly important for us and for a lot of organizations to make sure that we bring the arts not only to those who live in a metropolitan area, but to those who live in rural areas.”

Woodbury said she began serving as executive director five years ago when her mother, who is an original founder of the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, went into semi-retirement. Their $20,000 dollar grant from NEA will fund trips to Colorado and Texas to hold performances and educational outreach programs. She also said it will fund community classes, such as parent-child workshops and dance classes for nondancers.

“We try to reach as much of the community as we can when we go out on these tours,” she said.

The NEA is an independent federal agency that was established by Congress in 1965 “whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations and develop their creative capacities,” according to its website. In addition, the NEA recommended over 2,400 grants in almost 16,000 communities during the 2016 fiscal year.

For a complete list of NEA grants, including all of those awarded in Utah, visit the NEA website.