- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 19, 2000

The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded $50.2 million in 777 grants to nonprofit arts groups around the country, including $40,000 to the headline-grabbing Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.

The Whitney, whose recent "Sanitation" exhibit prompted Marylou Whitney, daughter-in-law of the museum's founder, to withdraw financial support, received the $40,000 grant to fund touring exhibits. "Sanitation," which opened last month, portrayed New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, along with conservative activist Pat Robertson, presidential candidate Pat Buchanan and Sen. Jesse Helms, North Carolina Republican, as Nazis.

The bulk of the NEA grants $33.3 million went to 64 state and regional arts councils. Awards included $840,400 to Arts Midwest, based in Minneapolis; $960,000 to Western States Arts Federation, based in Denver; and $710,200 to the Mid-America Arts Alliance in Kansas City, Mo.

The arts agency also gave $25,000 to the Kitchen, a New York theater, and its parent company, Haleakala Inc., which has featured explicit acts by feminist and homosexual performers. The grant will help pay for a video archive of performance artists such as Laurie Anderson, Cindy Sherman, Steve Reich, Joan Logue, Meredith Monk, Eric Bogosian, Nam June Paik and Bill T. Jones.

Congress cut NEA money 10 years ago for funding the Kitchen. In recent years, the NEA has resumed grant awards to avant-garde groups if they propose noncontroversial projects not related to past disputes. Thus, Haleakala Inc. received a $25,000 grant from the NEA in December for seven "interdisciplinary projects."

Local grants include $20,000 to support a folklorist position in Arlington County, Va. schools, especially in black and immigrant (largely Hispanic) communities, in the Columbia Heights West neighborhood. This person also would identify immigrant folk artists.

The Wolf Trap Foundation in Vienna, Va. got $150,000 to support ArtsLink, a program for preschool or kindergarten children.

The American Architectural Foundation was given $400,000 to pay for up to six meetings of the Mayors' Institute of City Design.

The Levine School of Music got two $10,000 grants to support music education programs for children in the District, string master classes and a festival weekend for two youth orchestras.

The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz was awarded three grants in the amounts of $40,000, $80,000 and $11,000 to, among other things, provide an Internet-based jazz curriculum to public school students, hire jazz musicians as teachers in Los Angeles and District schools and maintain an artists in residence program at the University of Southern California.

Grants around the country include:

• $15,500 to the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services to document the experiences of Detroit-area Arab auto workers.

• $8,000 to fund a play, "Crack's Stanglehold," about the effects of crack in Los Angeles' skid row area.

• $25,000 to the Women's Philharmonic in San Francisco, a project boosting career opportunities for female conductors; $10,000 to the Jewish Heritage Writing Project Inc. of New York, which teams young writers with Holocaust survivors to produce publishable literary memoirs.

• $47,000 to the NAMES Project Foundation of San Francisco to document the AIDS memorial quilt.

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