NEFA's National Dance Project Announces Annual Awards

Over $38.5 million invested since 1996 to bring new dance works to communities across America

Ann Wicks
July 25, 2019
Original Article

(BOSTON, MA) The New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) has awarded $1,800,000 through the National Dance Project (NDP) to support the creation of 20 new dance works that will tour the United States. 

Now in its third decade, National Dance Project is widely recognized as one of the country’s major sources of funding and field building for dance, supporting both the creation and touring of new works. A panel of national dance artists, presenters, and arts administrators selected these projects out of 170 competitive applications. The choreographers and companies from around the country include 20 U.S. artists, 11 of which are first-time production grant recipients. Each project will receive $45,000 for the creation of the new work, as well as $10,000 in unrestricted general operating support. A total of $700,000 is allocated to support U.S. organizations to present these works.  

“As we strive to reach artists working in diverse forms from across the country, it's notable that over half of this year’s awardees are first-time recipients,” said NEFA executive director Cathy Edwards. “We are excited to see communities across the U.S. engage with all of these artists and acknowledge that this would not be possible without the continued support of our funders and partners.”

NDP has invested more than $38.5 million in funding to artists and organizations to strengthen partnerships and bring dance into communities across the U.S. To date, NDP has supported the creation of over 452 new choreographic works that have toured to all 50 states and Washington, DC, reaching over three million audience members.

“We have partnered with NDP since its founding, to help our foundation ensure our funds support contemporary dance artists across the country and connect with audiences in a wide range of communities,” said Maurine Knighton, program director for the arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.  “The people, projects, and places included in this group of grantees provide a glimpse of the breadth and depth of today's contemporary dance sector and are a wonderful testament to the vitality of dance.”

“The Mellon Foundation has supported NDP nearly as long as our esteemed colleagues at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Over the past two decades NDP has consistently played a vital role in helping to amplify the national work of diverse and talented danceartists,” said Susan Feder, program officer for Arts and Cultural Heritage at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.“We are deeply grateful to the NEFA staff and panelists for their dedication in assembling this exceptional group from a highly competitive applicant pool, and look forward to their work being seen across the country.”

NEFA's National Dance Project is generously supported with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with funding for special initiatives from the Barr Foundation, the Boston Foundation, and the Aliad Fund at the Boston Foundation.

The 2019 NDP Production grant recipients are:

To learn more about the grantees and their projects, visit the directory of NDP projects with tour support available on, look for the 2019 program publication available in early September 2019, or contact program staff at


The New England Foundation for the Arts invests in artists and communities and fosters equitable access to the arts, enriching the cultural landscape in New England and the nation.  NEFA accomplishes this by granting funds to artists and cultural organizations; connecting them to each other and their audiences; and analyzing their economic contributions. NEFA serves as a regional partner for the National Endowment for the Arts, New England’s state arts agencies, and private foundations. Learn more at

Jerome Hill Artist Fellowships Announced

Ashwini Ramaswamy receives Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship for new commission: 
Jerome Hill Artist Fellowships Announced

March 18, 2019
Original Article

The Jerome Foundation is pleased to announce the first recipients of the new Jerome Hill Artist Fellowships program. 60 Fellowships are being awarded (10 each in the disciplines of dance, film/new media, literature, music, theater/performance/spoken word, and visual arts) to early-career artists based in Minnesota and New York City.

Each Fellow will receive $40,000 over two years ($20,000 per year) in direct support to advance artistic or professional development and/or to create new work. Minnesota-based Fellows will also be offered individualized professional development guidance through Springboard for the Arts of St. Paul, while New York City artists will receive similar opportunities through the Multi-Arts Production (MAP) Fund of New York. An additional $10,000 per artist will be made available to select nonprofit organizations with which the Fellows are working during the grant period, bring the Foundation’s total investment to $3.2 million over two years.

The 2019-2020 Jerome Hill Artist Fellows are listed by discipline as follows:


Marjani Forté-Saunders (New York)

Jasmine Hearn (New York)

Raja Feather Kelly (New York)

Pedro Pablo Lander (Minnesota)

Dustin Maxwell (New York)

Leslie Parker (Minnesota)

Ashwini Ramaswamy (Minnesota)

Deneane Richburg (Minnesota)

Darrius Strong (Minnesota)

Andre Zachary (New York)

…. [For a full list of the selected artists, please click on the original article link above.]

Discipline-specific panels, composed of artists, curators, artistic directors and arts administrators, considered a total of 1,167 applicants before recommending the 60 Fellowships to the Jerome Board of Directors for approval. In their deliberations, panels considered samples of past works submitted by panelists; the applicant’s artistic goals, ambitions, motives and self-assessments of their own work; the proposed focus of the Fellowship period; and the ways in which applicants had learned from past interactions with audiences or the larger public. Applicants were also assessed in their fit with the Foundation’s core values of innovation, diversity and humility, defined by the Foundation as service to a larger aesthetic tradition and/or social community.

Approval of the panel’s recommendations was made by the Jerome Foundation Board of Directors at their January 2019 meeting. “We are so excited by the extraordinary social and aesthetic range of this cohort. The 2019 Jerome Fellows are taking risks that advance their practices and engage their communities in exciting ways. Over 80% identify as people of color or Native/Indigenous artists. Our only regret is that we did not have the funds available to offer even more fellowships to recognize the exuberant creativity and commitment we saw in this applicant pool,” said Board Chair Linda Earle. Additional Jerome Board members include Kate Barr of Minneapolis (Vice-Chair and Treasurer), Daniel Alexander Jones of New York (Secretary), Sarah Bellamy (St. Paul, MN), Lori Pourier (Rapid City, SD), and Elizabeth Streb, Mark Tribe and Ryan Wong, all of New York.

Applicants were eligible to apply either individually or jointly to share a single award as part of a sustained collaborative. 27 Fellowships supporting 28 artists were awarded to Minnesota applicants, while 33 Fellowships supporting 34 artists were awarded to New York City-based applicants. An additional 141 were identified as Finalists by panels before their final full-day deliberations.

“A survey of more than 1,600 artists in 2016 emphasized the need for artists to have significant, flexible, multi-year support that could help them address both artistic and professional needs. This program responds directly to those most urgent needs as identified by early career artists themselves,” said Jerome Foundation President Ben Cameron.

“By providing a sustained source of flexible funding over the course of two years, in combination with individualized professional development, Jerome Foundation hopes to offer artists the resources to continue vibrant and sustainable careers,” added Program Director Eleanor Savage.

Applications for the 2021–2022 Jerome Hill Artist Fellowships will open in early 2020.

Read the full PDF press release here.