The grants support art organizations, with a particular emphasis in bringing the arts to "underserved populations whose access to the arts it limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability." Challenge America has received additional funding in recent years as the NEA has shifted its focus from supporting individual‹and sometimes controversial‹artists to arts outreach.
Among others, the grants will go the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles, to support a new work by composer Rosephayne Powell; Opera Colorado, for a new chamber opera "with Hispanic themes"; Chicago's Innocent Eyes and Lenses, for the 10th annual Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival; and Tucson's Sovereign Arts Society, for a production featuring Afro-Cuban music and dance.
"The National Endowment for the Arts is committed to bringing programs of artistic excellence to all Americans," said NEA chairman Dana Gioia in a statement. "For the first time in NEA history we are now reaching every community in America. These Challenge America grants support that goal by helping arts organizations reach new, traditionally underserved audiences in communities large and small."