National Endowment for Arts Makes First Grants for Video Games; PBS Funding Down

Friday, April 27, 2012
Henry David Thoreau, video game hero
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) upset many of its longtime grant recipients this week when it cut funding for numerous PBS programs. But it also won praise from videogame makers for awarding its first grants to non-profit game developers.
 
Let’s Breakthrough, Inc. in New York City received $75,000 to support the creation of an interactive video game that will engage children “in a creative exploration of democracy, diversity, and social change.”
 
Spelman College in Atlanta received $100,000 to develop “HERadventure,” which will be targeted to college-aged women and tell the story of a young female superhero who wants to save the Earth from global warming.
 
The University of Southern California was awarded $40,000 to support production costs for a video game based on the writings of Henry David Thoreau at Walden Pond.
 
Games for Change, based in New York City, received $75,000 to support a new game for Facebook based on the book Half the Sky, which tells true stories about women overcoming obstacles.
 
PBS programs that received less funding this year included “Live From Lincoln Center,” which got nothing, the Metropolitan Opera, which received $50,000, down from $150,000 in 2011, and WNET in New York, which was awarded $50,000, down from $400,000 last year. The documentary series “Independent Lens” dropped from $170,000 to $50,000, and another documentary series, “POV,” fell from $250,000 to $100,000.
 
Overall, the NEA received applications for 329 grants and awarded 78, but total funding was down from $4 million last year to $3.5 million this year.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
 
To Learn More:
Federal Arts Endowment Sharply Cuts PBS Grants (by Elizabeth Jensen, New York Times)

NEA Awards Grants To Video Games That Celebrate and Promote the Arts (by Tom Curtis, Gamasutra) 

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