NEH awards $2 million to pubmedia projects

Seven public media projects got a boost July 21 with the announcement of grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, which included almost $2 million for pubcasters. The largest grants, each for $600,000, will support documentaries from WGBH in Boston and Firelight Media in New York. WGBH will use the grant for a two-hour American Experience episode, “Into the Amazon: The Roosevelt-Rondon Scientific Expedition.” The documentary, produced by American Experience Executive Producer Mark Samels, covers a 1913 expedition to an unmapped territory of the Amazon led by Theodore Roosevelt and Brazilian colonel Candido Rondon. Firelight Media, whose documentaries frequently air on PBS, will use the grant to fund Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Firelight founder and filmmaker Stanley Nelson is leading the project to produce the two-hour documentary.

Growth in aid to media foundations aimed mostly at web-based efforts

Foundation support for media-related activities increased 21 percent between 2009 and 2011, according to a study that examined how private philanthropies responded to the increased fragmentation of the media landscape. Grants for traditional public media organizations grew at a slightly slower rate than other categories of media grantmaking, from $100 million in 2009 to $118 million in 2011, an increase of 18 percent. Yet major stations such as New York’s WNET and Minnesota Public Radio are among the top recipients of philanthropic aid. “Growth in Foundation Support for Media in the United States,” released Nov. 12 by the Foundation Center, is a comprehensive look at the scope and size of foundations’ investments in media.

Join the NEA webinar on Media Arts funding

The National Endowment for the Arts will be holding a webinar Jan. 29, 1-2 p.m. EST, to provide guidance for applying to their Media Arts grant opportunities. Applicants have a shot at earning up to $100,000 in individual grants. The webinar registration link can be found on the NEA’s website.

NEA allotted this year’s media aid ‘to present art in new and . . . engaging ways’

Soon, listeners will hear celebrities read James Joyce’s entire masterpiece Ulysses via satellite and Internet radio; a New York City theater will use video-game technology to invent a new medium for the performing arts; and a San Francisco-based organization will craft computer data into interactive visual artworks. The projects are made possible through the newly expanded Arts in Media category from the National Endowment for the Arts, which this year branched out from primarily supporting public TV and radio programs. Last week the NEA announced 78 grants totaling $3.55 million, with an increased emphasis on technological innovation and multiplatform reach (Current, April 23). Several of the largest grants, $100,000 each, went to high-profile first-time recipients with strong digital components. Open-source pioneer Mozilla Foundation of Mountain View, Calif. — parent of the Firefox browser — won for Open(Art), which will commission collaborations between artists and technologists to create and exhibit artwork on the Web.