Durham, NC – National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Jane Chu announced this week [12/8/14] that Duke Performances is one of 919 nonprofit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Art Works grant. Duke Performances is recommended for a $45,000 commissioning grant to support its new, multi‐year From the Archives initiative, a collaboration with the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Duke University.

This marks the second NEA grant Duke Performances has received this year; the organization also received a recommendation in April for a $45,000 grant to support artist residencies engaging Chinese, African-American, and Turkish communities at Duke and in Durham during the 2015-16 season. The two awards, totaling $90,000, are a testament to Duke Performances’ strengths in both commissioning and campus and community engagement.

Duke Performances’ From the Archives, also a partnership with the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, aims to pair world-class performing artists with archival materials from Duke’s Rubenstein Library to create new works. The initiative will support the commissioning, development, residency, and premiere of a trio of new projects by California-based composer/singer/violinist Jenny Scheinman, engaging the Depression-era films of H. Lee Waters, to premiere March 20, 2015 at Duke’s Reynolds Theater; singer-songwriter MC Taylor, of Durham, NC‐based band Hiss Golden Messenger, engaging the Eastern Kentucky photographs of William Gedney, to premiere in Fall 2015; and Seattle‐based choreographer and Spectrum Dance Theater artistic director Donald Byrd, engaging the archives of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, to premiere in Fall 2016.

NEA Chairman Jane Chu said, “I’m pleased to be able to share the news of our support through Art Works, including the award to Duke Performances. The arts foster value, connection, creativity, and innovation for the American people and these recommended grants demonstrate those attributes and affirm that the arts are part of our everyday lives.”

From the Archives endeavors to be a national model, providing extraordinary artists with the opportunity to create and tour transcendent new work engaging with and elevating archival materials and the people who produced them. Duke Performances recently premiered the inaugural project of the initiative Corduroy Roads by acclaimed Nashville solo guitarist William Tyler, an important new film/music commission that reflects on the lingering legacy of the Civil War and draws from extraordinary photographs taken by George Barnard and Alexander Gardner, rare 150-year‐old artifacts recently acquired by the Rubenstein Library.

Art Works grants support the creation of art, public engagement with art, lifelong learning in the arts, and enhancement of the livability of communities through the arts. The NEA received 1,474 eligible applications under the Art Works category in the most recent round of applications, requesting more than $75 million in funding. Of those applications, 919 are recommended for grants for a total of $26.6 million.

For a complete listing of projects recommended for Art Works grant support, please visit the NEA website at arts.gov.

(With thanks to DP’s marketing staff for providing this news item.)