NCCAS is awarded National Endowment for the Arts grant

July 3, 2013

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa has announced that the State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education, on behalf of the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS), is one of 817 nonprofit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Art Works grant. NCCAS has been awarded a $30,000 grant to support the convening of a national Artist Advisory Council at the August 1-5 meeting of the NCCAS writing teams and leadership.

The recommended NEA grants total $26.3 million and span thirteen artistic disciplines and fields. Applications were reviewed by panels of outside experts convened by NEA staff, and each project was judged on its artistic merit.

Acting Chairman Shigekawa said, “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support these exciting and diverse arts projects that will take place throughout the United States. Whether it is through a focus on education, engagement, or innovation, these projects all contribute to vibrant communities and memorable opportunities for the public to engage with the arts.”

NCCAS, a coalition of eight national arts and education organizations and media arts representatives, is writing the new, voluntary arts standards in dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts scheduled for release in 2014. The theatre standards are being created by representatives from the Educational Theatre Association and the American Alliance for Theatre and Education. Artists representing each of the five arts disciplines will attend the August meeting, serving in an advisory capacity for the writing teams.

EdTA Executive Director Julie Woffington called the NEA grant a strong affirmation of the new arts education standards’ value. “As an NCCAS leadership organization, EdTA has worked hard to reach out to our members and others in the theatre education community to ensure there is buy-in to these new standards. Funding from a public granting agency like the Endowment validates their worth in a broader national arts and education context.”

Woffington also said she is proud that EdTA has secured a commitment from playwright Jim Leonard, Jr. to serve as theatre’s representative on the project’s Arts Advisory Council. “Leonard is a well-respected playwright and screenwriter whose work is widely produced by schools throughout the country. We’re grateful and thrilled that he has agreed to serve in this capacity.”

Leonard’s plays include Anatomy of Gray, The Diviners, And They Dance Real Slow in Jackson, and Crow and Weasel. He has been awarded three NEA Fellowships, a New York Villager Award, the Midland Writers Award, the Samuel French Best New Play Award, and the Dramatists Guild Award. He co-wrote the screenplay for Mira Nair’s award-winning film My Own Country. Leonard has created and produced several television series including Close to Home (CBS), Skin (Fox), and Thieves (ABC); and he wrote and produced Dexter (Showtime) and The Closer (TNT). He is currently a writer-producer for Major Crimes (TNT). Leonard also serves on the boards of the New Harmony Project and Circle X Theatre.

For the most up-to-date information about the standards project, visit the NCCAS website.