Arlington Cultural Affairs Receives National Endowment for the A

Published on July 09, 2020

Arlington Cultural Affairs will receive a $35,000 Art Works award from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), a portion of the more than $84 million in grants recently approved as part of the NEA's second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2020.

Arlington Cultural Affairs will use the grant to support a multi-cultural artist residency project serving the Columbia Hills and Columbia Grove affordable housing communities in the County. With its partner for this project, Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH), the County will select an artist through a curated process to develop participatory arts activities for diverse resident populations, including Arabic, Amharic, Spanish, and English speakers. Activities will culminate in the creation of community-generated public art.  

"Arlington Cultural Affairs aspires to reach every resident of Arlington County with a variety of performing, literary, and visual arts that reflects our diversity," said Michelle Isabelle-Stark, Division Chief of Arlington Cultural Affairs"This NEA funded project will serve as a pilot to provide our affordable housing communities with the opportunity to experience the intensive process of developing public art in collaboration with an artist, expanding our portfolio of programs that bring art to people, where they live, work, and play.

The Arlington County Board approved acceptance and appropriation of the NEA grant funding during its Board meeting in June.

As a part of its regular grantmaking, separate from grants related to CARES Act funding, the NEA announced more than $84 million through 1,144 new awards to organizations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and each of the five U.S. territories. Grants were awarded in 13 artistic disciplines, arts research, and partnership agreements with all U.S. state and regional arts agencies. 

"These awards demonstrate the resilience of the arts in America, showcasing not only the creativity of their arts projects but the organizations' agility in the face of a national health crisis," said Mary Anne Carter, chairman of the NEA. "We celebrate organizations like Arlington Cultural Affairs for providing opportunities for learning and engagement through the arts in these times."  

Applications for these recommended grants were submitted to the Arts Endowment last summer and reflected the wide range of performances, exhibitions, and activities that the agency has traditionally funded. At the end of March 2020, the listed projects were approved, followed by two months of extensive technical assistance in which agency staff worked one-on-one with hundreds of organizations to adjust their projects to meet the new reality created by the pandemic. Changes include postponing activities and taking activities virtual as the examples below illustrate. As a result of this, plus additional work related to the CARES Act, project descriptions are not being included in the grant lists accompanying this announcement. The most current information for all projects will be available on the agency's grant search tool

This marks the fifth successful NEA grant request in the last decade for Arlington Cultural Affairs, a division of Arlington Economic Development, which previously received grants in support of: the Arlington Art Truck launch in 2017 ($25,000); planning & design of the Town Square in Green Valley (formerly Nauck) in 2013 ($75,000); research & documentation of Arlington's Bolivian dance community ($10,000); and a cultural heritage program with Arlington's Mongolian community in 2010 ($35,000). 

About Arlington Arts

Arlington Cultural Affairs, a division of Arlington Economic Development, delivers public activities and programs as Arlington Arts. Our mission is to create, support, and promote the arts, connecting artists and community to reflect the diversity of Arlington. We do this by: providing material support to artists and arts organizations in the form of grants, facilities and theater technology; integrating award-winning public art into our built environment; and presenting high quality performing, literary, visual and new media programs across the County.  

About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America's rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit to learn more. 
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