NEFA Expands National Dance Project; New Initiatives and Increased Core Support Respond to Field Needs

The New England Foundation for the Arts announces new grantmaking and field-building elements of the National Dance Project, thanks in part to a $3.9 million three-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Now in its third decade, NDP is widely recognized as one of the country's major sources of funding for dance. NDP has invested more than $36 million in funding to artists and organizations to strengthen partnerships and bring dance into communities across the U.S. To date, NDP has supported 359 artists and companies and 787 cultural organizations, helping 668 unique dance works reach more than 2.8 million audience members in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam.

In celebration of NDP's 20th anniversary in 2016, NEFA published Moving Dance Forward, an extensive evaluation conducted by Metris Arts Consulting. NEFA translated the report's findings into a new program design that combines NDP's documented strengths with current needs and practices in the dance field.

Renewed support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, alongside lead support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, will enable the launch of several new initiatives, including:

  • Community Engagement Fund: NEFA will pilot a supplementary grant for selected Production Grantees to help them better resource and/or develop community engagement strategies in a touring context.
  • Finalist Awards: NDP Production Grant finalists who are not awarded a grant will receive a financial award to recognize the strength of their proposals and help offset the costs of applying.
  • Travel Fund: A travel fund will be established to support U.S. presenters, curators, residency directors, managers, producers, and collaborating artists to see work and connect in person with NDP artist grantees.
  • Production Residencies for Dance: NEFA will increase the number of NDP projects that receive this additional grant for late-stage production residencies, which help new works become fully realized and ready for touring.
  • NDP will also serve as a partner on Jacob Pillow's newly revived National Dance Presenter Forum at Jacob's Pillow, alongside the Association of Performing Arts Professionals. The Forum will provide a platform to discuss critical issues facing the dance field and bolster support for dance across the U.S.

NEFA will transfer the French-US Exchange in Dance program, known as FUSED, which operated as a partnership between NEFA and the French American Cultural Exchange (FACE) from 2004-2017 to FACE to manage exclusively; the next deadline is February 28, 2018.

"NEFA's National Dance Project is a signature initiative that links artistic creation with public engagement." said NEFA executive director Cathy Edwards. "We are extremely grateful for the continued support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation."

"With this renewed support, NDP will continue its commitment to building a more equitable and inclusive field, including greater support to artists who serve as advisors" said NEFA program director for dance Sara C. Nash.

NDP also receives lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, with funding for special initiatives from the Barr Foundation, the Boston Foundation, and the Aliad Fund at the Boston Foundation.

About The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation endeavors to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies. To this end, it supports exemplary institutions of higher education and culture as they renew and provide access to an invaluable heritage of ambitious, path-breaking work. The Foundation makes grants in five core program areas: Higher Education and Scholarship in the Humanities; Arts and Cultural Heritage; Diversity; Scholarly Communications; and International Higher Education and Strategic Projects.

About NEFA
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 networks and knowledge-building opportunities; 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

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