NEA announces grants to public media projects including StoryCorps

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The documentary My Father’s Land tells the story of Papa Jah, who wants to reunite with his 103-year-old father in Haiti. The film is part of “AfroPop: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange,” which just received NEA funding.

The NEA announced 1,195 grants totaling $82.06 million in its second round of fiscal year 2017 awards, with several awarded to public broadcasting initiatives.

“The American people are recognized for their innovative spirit and these grants represent the vision, energy, and talent of America’s artists and arts organizations,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu in the announcement.

President Trump has proposed eliminating the NEA, as well as the National Endowment for the Humanities, in his FY18 budget. Both are longtime funders of public media projects.

NEA public media awards include:


StoryCorps, Brooklyn — $100,000 for weekly radio segments on NPR’s Morning Edition.

NPR, Washington, D.C. — $70,000 for production and distribution of music programming and $60,000 for literary content including book reviews, author interviews, special literary series and an app.

Atlantic Public Media, Woods Hole, Mass. — $50,000 for the website and $35,000 for Transom Radio Specials, four pieces created in cooperation with community partners such as Public Radio Exchange and WCAI Cape and Islands Public Radio. The programs will be available on, featured on the Transom podcast, and offered to radio stations through PRX.

Radio Diaries, Brooklyn, N.Y. — $50,000 for The History of Now, a series of audio diaries and first-person documentaries that will combine radio art, oral history and journalism, to air on NPR’s All Things Considered.

Association of Independents in Radio, Dorchester, Mass. — $30,000 to expand professional development services for independent producers.

Minnesota Public Radio, St. Paul — $30,000 for a Performance Today community engagement touring project bringing musicians into schools for live performances.

PRX, Cambridge, Mass. — $30,000 for facilities access and training programs at the Podcast Garage.

Public Radio International, Minneapolis — $20,000 for production and distribution of the daily music feature The World’s Global Hit.

Radio Bilingue, Fresno, Calif. — $20,000 for production and public radio broadcast of The Sounds of California, a partnership among Radio Bilingue, the Alliance for California Traditional Arts and the Center for Folklife and Heritage. The series will combine features, live programming and listener call-ins to explore how music integrates with community transitions. Produced in English and Spanish, the show will be available to public radio stations.

Wave Farm, Acra, N.Y. — $15,000 for arts programs on WGXC-FM.

Grants also went to support production of public radio shows The Moth, Studio 360, Jazz Night in America, From the Top, Earthsongs, Echoes, Selected Shorts and Metropolitan Opera broadcasts.


National Black Programming Consortium, New York City — $45,000 for the NBPC 360 mentorship and professional development program; and $15,000 for outreach and engagement for the documentary series My Africa Is, stories of innovators across the continent.

Vision Maker Media, Lincoln, Neb. — $30,000 for staffing and master filmmaker honoraria for the National Minority Consortia Producer’s Lab, in partnership with the Center for Asian American Media, Latino Public Broadcasting, National Black Programming Consortium and Pacific Islanders in Communications.

Detroit Public TV — $15,000 for its series Detroit Performs, featuring dance, theater, music, graphic design, textile arts and opera with each season culminating in an annual concert, Detroit Performs Live!

KLRU-TV, Austin, Texas — $10,000 for Conspirare: Considering Matthew Shepard, a 90-minute broadcast commemorating the 20th anniversary of the gay man’s brutal murder. The production features the Grammy-winning ensemble Conspirare performing the concert-length work. It was recorded live earlier this year and will be available to PBS member stations next year.

Grants also went to the ongoing series POV, AfroPop: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange, America ReFramed,  Art:21 – Art in the Twenty-First Century, Live from Lincoln Center, Craft in America, Independent Lens, Voces, Great Performances at the Met and Pacific Heartbeat.


KCRW, Santa Monica, Calif. — $75,000 for the Independent Producer Project, enabling radio producers, performers, writers and artists to create new work for KCRW’s broadcast and digital platforms.

Center for Asian American Media, San Francisco — $65,000 for the multimedia storytelling project Changing Chinatown, including production of a virtual reality film.

WETA, Arlington, Va. — $50,000 for Art Takes Us, video segments profiling artists to air on PBS NewsHour and post on

WYPR Radio, Baltimore — $25,000 for the program Out of the Blocks, which documents the stories of Baltimore residents through audio interviews and photography of one neighborhood block at a time. The project will expand to as many as six cities across the U.S. in partnership with local radio stations. Up to six hourlong episodes along with video and photographs will be available free via PRX.

WNET, New York City — $20,000 for production of the free interactive online video game Mission US: No Turning Back, about the life of an African-American girl in Mississippi during the civil rights movement.

See the full list of awards.

Correction: Due to an error by the NEA, a previous version of this post reported that WVIK-FM in Rock Island, Ill., had received a grant for a large-scale public yarn sculpture. A museum at the station’s licensee, Augustana College, is involved with that project.

3 thoughts on “NEA announces grants to public media projects including StoryCorps

  1. Hello, it’s a mistake that WVIK is listed as the recipient of that NEA grant to yarnbomb a bridge. Augustana College holds the station’s FCC license, and its museum director co-hosts a podcast produced by WVIK. I don’t know who applied for the grant, but it was not WVIK. (And as someone who crochets, I love the idea!)

    • Thanks Michelle! Yes, we’ve heard from the station as well. They’re trying to figure this out as well. As soon as they get it untangled (heh) we will let readers know what happened. The government wants to give the station money for a big yarn project! Or knot. Heh. More soon.

      • For other readers, here’s NEA wording on the item we’re discussing:

        Augustana College, $15,000, Rock Island, IL
        To support the creation of a temporary large-scale public artwork by the Ohio-based artist Carol Hummel, commissioned by WVIK Augustana Public Radio. During the project, Hummel will work with community volunteers to create a sculptural covering made of yarn for a pedestrian bridge that connects the campus of the college to the city of Rock Island. The covering will be made of small, individually crocheted pieces created by the community during workshops taught by the artist at Creative Arts Academy, the Center for Active Seniors, Augustana Teaching Museum of Art, and the Figge Art Museum. A short film will be created to document the artistic process and community gatherings

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