Artist Kehinde Wiley Is Part of the NEA’s Second Major Funding Round of 2023

Group of people dancing along the river.

In its second major funding round of the year, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) revealed yesterday (May 24) that it will give more than $103 million to organizations across the U.S, funding projects ranging from a Kehinde Wiley commission to an arts master plan in West Virginia.

These grants from the independent federal agency, established by Congress in 1965 to support national arts initiatives, will add to the $34 million in funding it announced earlier this year.

“The National Endowment for the Arts is pleased to support a wide range of projects, demonstrating the many ways the arts enrich our lives and contribute to healthy and thriving communities,” said Maria Rosario Jackson, chair of the NEA, in a statement. “These organizations play an important role in advancing the creative vitality of our nation and helping to ensure that all people can benefit from arts, culture, and design.”

Look out for a Kehinde Wiley commission in Philadelphia

More than 1,100 out of nearly 2,000 applicants were approved for $31 million in funding from the Grants for Art Project, a grant-making division of the NEA that gives organizations $10,000 to $100,000 each.

Recipients include the Association for Public Art’s commission of widely acclaimed contemporary artist Kehinde Wiley, who will create a site-specific public work on Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and Partner for Rural Impact’s Appalachian teaching artist fellowship in Borea, Kentucky. Wiley is known for his larger-than-life statues and figurative paintings that confront systemic violence against Black people.

Exhibitions and workshops also selected for grants include those at Buffalo’s Center for Exploratory and Perceptual Arts, Seattle’s Indigenous Creatives Collective and Texas’s Torch Literary Arts.

Woman works with sewing maching in workshop.

The NEA’s second division, known as “Our Town,’ focuses on advancing local communities through economic, physical and social initiatives. Requiring a partnership between a nonprofit and local government entity, 57 projects were approved for more than $4.1 million.

Wheeling, West Virginia, was selected to receive funding to support the development of an arts and culture master plan, while an NEA grant for Killingly, Connecticut, will support arts programming celebrating its local Laotian and Southeast Asian communities. Meanwhile, money earmarked for nonprofit Clockshop will help with community engagement activities influencing the design of 100 acres of parkland along the Los Angeles River.

State and regional partnerships, the agency’s third grant-making sector, has recommended $67.9 million in grants. The division funds regional arts organizations, national service organizations and state arts organizations, which are set to receive $55.1 million from the NEA.