Diverse array of NEA grants includes Mozilla, BAVC, multiplatform ‘Complete Ulysses’

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Now online, Current’s roundup of this month’s NEA Media Arts grants, which includes several high-profile first-time recipients with strong digital components. Open-source pioneer Mozilla Foundation of Mountain View, Calif. — parent of the Firefox browser — won $100,000 for Open(Art), which will commission collaborations between artists and technologists to create and exhibit artwork on the Web. The Bay Area Video Coalition in San Francisco also received $100,000, to support the Factory Hybrid Filmmaking Project, a pilot for young filmmakers producing digital and web-native short films.

Larry Josephson received $10,000 for his ambitious multimedia project, The Complete Ulysses. Josephson, a pioneering host on Pacifica’s WBAI in New York, has celebrities lined up to read James Joyce’s masterwork, estimated to take 30 hours or more. He’s hoping for distribution on pubradio, Sirius/XM satellite radio and the Internet as well as via smartphone apps and compact discs — a wide, multiplatform reach that the NEA was aiming for with the new grants category, enlarged from funding mainly TV and radio projects in previous years.

Other pubcasting-related grants included $75,000 to Appalshop Inc., which operates WMMT in Whitesburg, Ky., for the Thousand Kites radio series and a website for The Prison Poetry Workshop, presenting poetry composed by prisoners in jails across the country; and $75,000 to Auricle Communications, licensee of freeform community radio station WFMU-FM in Jersey City, N.J., for its Re:Mix Media Project, a  new series using the Free Music Archive’s interactive platform to create multimedia art.