Spring Grants Announcement

Spring Grants Announcement:
More Than $82 Million Awarded for Arts Projects Nationwide
Includes $10,000 awarded to PEN Center USA

[Los Angeles, CA]—National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $82 million to fund local arts projects across the country in the NEA’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2017. Included in this announcement is an Art Works award of $10,000 to PEN Center USA to support our Author Evening Series. The NEA received 1,728 Art Works applications and will make 1,029 grants ranging from $10,000 to $100,000.

“The arts reflect the vision, energy, and talent of America’s artists and arts organizations,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support organizations such as PEN Center USA in serving their communities by providing excellent and accessible arts experiences.”

"PEN Center USA values the NEA's 52-year commitment to the arts in America. Our Author Evening Series celebrates the power of words to inform, entertain, and inspire. This is essential work, especially in 2017, and we're glad the NEA agrees. We're looking forward to producing a new season of conversations that connect writers, readers, and free expression advocates."
—Michelle Franke, Executive Director PEN Center USA

In 2016, PEN Center USA hosted the Author Evening Series (Series) at a local bookstore and invited the general public to join Emerging Voices Fellows in their conversations with authors. In 2017, we seek to enrich and deepen the public’s engagement even further by inviting a distinguished group of writers from outside the local community to the Series. PEN Center USA hopes the Series will serve as a bridge for individuals and communities to connect with each other as they explore themselves and the world through the written word.

To join the Twitter conversation about this announcement, please use #NEASpring17. For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, go to arts.gov


California Arts Council

The California Arts Council, a state agency, awards $18,000 to PEN Center USA as part of its Artists Activating Communities program.

The Artists Activating Communities program supports artistic residencies by centralizing artists and their artistic processes as vehicles for community vitality.

One of just 62 grantees, PEN Center USA will engage Chris L. Terry as an Artist in Residency for our PEN In The Community program.  Mr. Terry will facilitate a series of creative writing experiences featuring workshops in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for youth and adults. The workshops will incorporate visiting artists and culminate in a public reading of participants’ work. “This program champions the power of story and in turn, deepens the meaning of community,” says Libby Flores, Director of Literary Programs at PEN Center USA.

“The value of artists to their respective communities cannot be understated,” said Donn K. Harris, Chair of the California Arts Council. “They are an essential part of the framework that defines the area in which they live, preserving its past, examining its present, and cultivating its future. The California Arts Council looks forward to witnessing the impact of this collaboration between PEN Center USA and Chris L. Terry through this Artists Activating Communities project.”

To view a complete listing of all Artists Activating Communities grantees, GO HERE.


Chris L. Terry has an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia College Chicago and a BA in English from Virginia Commonwealth University. His debut novel Zero Fade (Curbside Splendor, 2013) follows a week in the life of an African-American middle school boy whose favorite uncle is coming out of the closet.

The California Arts Council announced its plans to award $18,000 to PEN Center USA as part of its Local Impact program.

The Local Impact program fosters equity, access, and opportunity by providing project and partnership support for small arts organizations with operating budgets under $1 million. All projects extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations that have limited access to the arts.

PEN Center USA will present its seven-month Emerging Voices Fellowship, which pairs five new writers with professional Los Angeles-based writers-mentors. The five fellows will attend free classes donated by the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program; attend genre-specific classes taught by prominent writers; participate in marketing and editing workshops; receive a $1,000 stipend; and share their work with the public three times, including a free culminating event.

“Emerging Voices is grateful to receive support from the California Arts Council. Championing diverse writers from underserved communities is the spirit of this fellowship.” -Amanda Fletcher, Emerging Voices PEN Center USA

PEN Center USA is one of just 130 grantees chosen for this highly competitive program, which received applications from 203 organizations statewide. The news of PEN Center USA’s grant was featured as part of a larger announcement from the California Arts Council, which can be viewed online HERE.

“The Local Impact program eliminates barriers keeping low-income, rural, and historically underserved communities from equal access to arts programs,” said Donn K. Harris, Chair of the California Arts Council.