Spring Grants Announcement

Spring Grants Announcement:
National Endowment for the Arts & California Arts Council

The California Arts Council, a state agency, announced it plans to award $12,000 to PEN Center USA as part of its Artists Activating Communities program. Artists Activating Communities, a new pilot grant program, supports sustained artistic residencies in community settings, demonstrating the arts to be a central component of civic life, and artists to be vital in shaping society. Artists Activating Communities projects are artist-driven, engage community members as active participants, and activate participants to develop and express their own creativity.

This is the first time the Artists Activating Communities program has been offered. PEN Center USA is one of only forty-seven grantees for this highly competitive program, which received applications from eighty-five organizations statewide.

PEN Center USA will engage Lilliam Rivera as a Young Adult Writer in Residency. Ms. Rivera will facilitate a series of creative writing experiences featuring workshops in fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and screenwriting for PEN Center USA members. The workshops will incorporate the use of social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram to share writers’ stories.

Read about Lilliam's upcoming novel, The Education of Margot Sanchez, here.

National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $82 million to fund local arts projects and partnerships in the NEA’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2016. Included in this announcement is an Art Works award of $20,000 to PEN Center USA for its Emerging Voices Fellowship and PEN in the Community programs. The Art Works category supports the creation of work and presentation of both new and existing work, lifelong learning in the arts, and public engagement with the arts through 13 arts disciplines or fields.

Through PEN in the Community, PEN Center USA will conduct artist residencies in which professional writers work in tandem with either a classroom teacher or community center personnel in Los Angeles. The teaching pair takes program participants through a creative writing process, wherein they transfer their life stories into poetry, fiction, or memoir. Residencies then culminate in the publication of a literary anthology and a public reading.

The Emerging Voices Fellowship will select five individuals who are in the early stages of their literary careers, based on their writing talent, potential, and limited access to traditional educational and publishing opportunities for the eight-month fellowship. Fellows are mentored by a professional writer; take two free classes through the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program; attend a number of Author Evenings with prominent writers as well take genre specific Master Classes; participate in select marketing, editing and grant writing workshops; receive a nominal $1,000 stipend, and publicly read their works at venues throughout Los Angeles. The fellowship culminates in a public reading of the fellows’ works before an audience of their family and other artists.

To join the Twitter conversation about this announcement, please use #NEASpring16. For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, go to arts.gov.