The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded nearly $60 million in grants, dispensing of almost three-quarters of its 1998 grantmaking budget of $81 million. The NEA's total appropriation for the year is $98 million, the level it has stood for the last few years.
Of the 867 grants announced, fully 613, equaling over $17 million, were approved under Creation & Presentation, one of four categories under which arts organizations must apply. Following a decree by Congress that 40 percent of its grant money be earmarked for state and regional arts agencies, the NEA funneled nearly $33 million more to local organizations through partnership agreements.
New York State came out handsomely, landing 212 grants totaling nearly $7.5 million. Of that amount, almost $2 million was given to theatres and theatre-related groups. Apart from the New York State Council of the Arts, which took in almost $700,000, the groups most benefitting included The Big Apple Circus ($100,000), the Lincoln Center Festival ($82,500), and Off-Broadway's Second Stage Theatre ($65,000) and Signature Theatre Company ($63,450). Other Off-Broadway companies also did well, including the Vineyard Theatre ($25,000), New York Theatre Workshop ($32,900), Playwrights Horizons ($50,000), Classic Stage Company ($15,000) and Primary Stages ($20,000). Among the minority theatres which received funds were the Fiji Theater Company ($36,000), Mayi Filipino Theatre Ensemble ($11,750), New Federal Theatre ($47,000), and Spanish Theatre Repertory Co. ($32,250).
The venerable old Off-Off-Broadway institution La MaMa, E.T.C. did surprisingly well, netting $60,000 in funds. The experimental Wooster Group wasn't far behind with $46,000. Other downtown troupes to garner support included En Garde Arts ($7,050), Ontological-Hysteric Theater ($25,000) and Mabou Mines ($27,000).
Last December, the NEA awarded nearly $14.5 million in the grants areas of Heritage & Preservation and Education $ Access. -- By Robert Simonson