What in American public arts foundations?
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is a federal agency that has funded American art since 1965, including local venues in Irvine and Orange County. President Trump recently proposed a budget that would eliminate four cultural agencies, including the NEA, but dance teacher Judy Scialpi remains confident the arts will continue to thrive.
Part of her confidence comes from the success of Costa Mesa’s Segerstrom Center; a performing arts complex where acclaimed actors and orchestras perform.
“The NEA is a strong and supported group with so many benefactors. And if you look at what’s happening with the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, that was all private funds. There’s always going to be people that are willing to donate. It’s just a matter of keeping people aware of what it does for kids,” Scialpi said.
Involvement in the arts makes a significant impact in student lives.
“Before I started working as a certificated, regular public school employee, I was one of the people who went out on those grants,” she said. “I used to work at inner-city schools in Long Beach. First, we had to present our projects [to the City Council], and then we would go into schools and teach low-income students. So I know firsthand what a difference that makes.”
Irvine is also affected by the power of public arts funding and engagement. In 2015, the Barclay Theatre received a $20,000 grant to support the National Choreographers Initiative. In the Initiative, four choreographers worked with 16 professional dancers to develop new dance forms and put on a culminating show. The next year, the Barclay received another award of $20,000 in support of its Dance and Movement Portfolio. The Barclay’s New World Flamenco Festival program has also benefited from NEA grants.
Other Orange County organizations that have received these grants include Chapman University, Muckenthaler Center, OC Therapeutic Arts Center, Pacific Symphony and South Coast Repertory.
We here at the Arts and Entertainment page of The Howler thank the NEA for supporting the arts.