The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced the 832 artists who will receive grants totaling $23.3 million. For the first time, in its 45th year awarding creative writing fellowships, a married couple (Suzanne Buffam and Srikanth Reddy) will receive individual fellowships at the same time. They met while pursuing their MFAs in poetry at the University of Iowa. Now both teach at the University of Chicago. They are 2 of the 40 poets awarded (in total) $1 million. 1,137 people applied (that’s a 3.5% success rate).
Six of the 832 Art Works grants will support projects inspired by the 100th anniversary of Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring: four in dance, one in music, and one in theatre. But the grandest grant this year goes to Mixed Blood Theatre of Minneapolis, MN which will receive $100,000 to produce two new works: a play inspired by the true underground resistance story of the Dominican Republic’s Mirabal siblings (based on Julia Alvarez’s novel In the Time of the Butterflies), and an oral history piece about veterans with disabilities. Mixed Blood is inviting veterans to the theatre for a series of story circles – to encourage veterans to share their experiences – to hear and be heard – and to be part of a creative project. The last circle is December 10, female vets only. More than 144 female troops have been killed and more than 860 have been wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan since the wars began according to Pentagon statistics.