Billboards about “gender-stereotyping,” LGBT book clubs for kids, an opera about child bullying, and poetry about climate change are all being billed to the taxpayers as new projects from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Issues of immigration, green energy, and gun control are each featured in art projects announced by the agency last month. The latest list of grants is consistent with the first round of projects for 2016, which included plays about food stamps and lesbian gun control activist.
The grant list includes $15,000 for public bus stop ads, posters, and a billboard in Los Angeles “addressing the issue of gender-stereotyping.” L.A. Freewaves, which has been heavily subsidized by the taxpayers in the past, received the funding. NEA-funded work by the group includes advertisements to encourage Californians to give up their cars in favor of bikes.
Green energy themes are also inserted into many art projects. A $30,000 grant will add solar panels and wind power to an art center in Belfast, Maine, and $25,000 is being spent on “multipurpose bike stations” in Detroit.
Part of a $10,000 grant will go to a poetry series on “Climate Change and Being” in Tucson, Arizona.
The Civilians, the theater group that received $700,000 from the National Science Foundation to put on a global warming musical, also received $10,000.
The funding will produce another play by Steve Cosson, the director of The Great Immensity, the climate change musical that featured songs about redistribution of wealth and “sea-soaked” teddy bears. The play ended its run early amidst lackluster reviews.
The new play “Shadowy Figures” will explore the questions of “what is it to be alive; what is consciousness; and what might happen to us after we die.”
A grant worth $45,000 will build light up “solar-powered pods” in Austin, Texas, and $100,000 is being spent to create a 20-acre “food hub and cultural gathering space” in Phoenix.
A traveling bicycle theater group in Santa Rosa, California, that gives “Story-time for Adults” received $10,000. In Houston, a $10,000 music workshops about scientists entitled “It’s All Relative” puts Neil deGrasse Tyson in the company of Galileo, Sir Isaac Newton, and Albert Einstein.