The program launched in April 2005 with a pilot phase: 11 grants totaling $1.183 million were awarded to support touring visual arts exhibitions. Since then, the initiative has expanded to include support not only visual arts, but chamber music, choral music, dance, literature, musical theater, and presenting.
American Masterpieces Chamber Music celebrates the country's rich tradition and evolution, from early music groups to amplified string ensembles. These grants support chamber music performances and related residencies that highlight repertoire by American composers and enable ensembles to engage with communities in a variety of settings. Chamber Music grants were awarded in FY 2008, FY 2009, and FY 2010.
Projects funded include a FY 2008 grant to the Kronos Quartet to support a re-staged production of George Crumb's Black Angels (Thirteen Images from the Dark Land). Educational activities included post-concert discussions, master classes, coaching sessions, school concerts, and open rehearsals. An FY 2010 grant to the Da Camera Society of Texas supported a jazz series and related educational activities. The series includes performances by drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts with Terence Blanchard, Branford Marsalis, and Christian McBride; the SFJazz Collective with a tribute to Stevie Wonder; pianist Brad Mehldau's Trio; the Ellis Marsalis Quartet; Anat Cohen Quartet with a tribute to Benny Goodman; and Lionel Loueke Trio.
American Masterpieces Choral Music grants supported a series of regional choral festivals and tours. Choral Music grants were awarded in FY2006 and FY 2007.
Projects funded included a FY 2006 grant of $75,000 to Conspirare, Inc. to support a regional choral festival in Austin, Texas, and a FY 2007 grant of $100,000 to Minneapolis's VocalEssence to support a tour by VocalEssence Ensemble Singers northern Iowa, eastern North Dakota, and western Minnesota where they performed and gave workshops and master classes for college and high school students and community and church choirs.
American Masterpieces Dance grants fall under three categories: support for the reconstruction and restoration of masterpieces for inclusion in a company's active repertory; support for dance companies to tour masterpieces; and opportunities to make these masterpieces available to students in undergraduate dance programs, enabling them to perform dances from the nation's greatest choreographers. Dance grants were awarded in FY 2007 through FY 2010.
Projects funded include an FY 2009 grant to the Nikolais/Louis Foundation for Dance to support the reconstruction of dances from Alwin Nikolais's 1956 ballet Kaleidoscope on the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company. In FY 2010, the University of Hawaii at Manoa received an American Masterpieces grant to support the restaging of Murray Louis's Porcelain Dialogues (1974) for its dance students. The project included documentation, master classes, lectures, and lecture/demonstrations at community institutions.
American Masterpieces Musical Theater grants honor the rich heritage and broad range of masterworks produced in the United States and illustrate the evolution, growth, and change of the field over time. Musical Theater grants were awarded in FY 2006 and FY 2007.
Projects funded include a FY 2006 grant to Studio Theatre in Washington, DC, to support the production of a contemporary musical, Caroline, or Change by Pulitzer Prize-winner and playwright Tony Kushner and composer Jeanine Tesori. In FY 2007, a grant to Kansas's Music Theatre of Wichita supported a production of Damn Yankees.
American Masterpieces Presenting grants provide many American cities with the chance to experience performing, visual, media, design, and literary arts on par with what is available in major metropolitan areas. Grants supported both single multidisciplinary projects or a series of projects featuring artists from more than one discipline. Presenting grants were awarded in FY 2008, FY 2009, and FY 2010.
Projects funded include an FY 2008 grant to the University of Washington for its Director's Choice: American Masterpieces program of the UW World Series. Masterworks were performed by the Paul Taylor Dance Company, pianist Terrence Wilson, Emerson String Quartet, and pianist Leon Bates, singer La-Rose Saxon, and actor Cedric Cannon. In FY 2010 Susquehanna Folk Music Society received a grant to support the American Masters: the Future of the Traditional Arts Series. Music and dance performances will be complemented by lectures, workshops, and educational activities.
Visual Arts Touring
American Masterpieces Visual Arts Touring grants bring exhibitions of the highest quality art to communities of all sizes across the nation. Visual Arts Touring grants were awarded in FY 2006 through FY 2010.
Touring exhibitions funded include Native Views: Influences of Modern Culture (Artrain, Ann Arbor, MI, FY 2006), American Impressionism: Paintings from the Phillips Collection (Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, FY 2007), and American Modern: Abbott, Evans, Bourke-White (Amon Carter Museum of Western Art, Fort Worth, TX, FY 2009).
National Endowment for the Arts · an independent federal