The National Performance Network (NPN), including the Visual Artists Network (VAN) is a national organization supporting artists in the creation and touring of contemporary performing and visual arts
NPN/VAN is about community engagement, touring, creating, sharing ideas and knowledge. NPN/VAN is about representing all artists who create something new and supporting the presenters who take the risk in showcasing it.
The National Performance Network has brought innovative performing artists to all corners of the United States for more than 25 years. Begun in 1985 by David White at Dance Theatre Workshop in New York, NPN was founded to address the issues of artistic isolation and the economic constraints of moving art around the country and the sharing of artistic and community voices. From a beginning of 14 organizations as “primary sponsors,” the network now numbers 61 NPN Partners.
In 2007 the Visual Artists Network (VAN) began as a pilot program and was formally launched with the selection of 15 VAN Partners that are leading contemporary arts organizations from across the United States.
As an artist-centered, field-generated network, NPN/VAN is unique in its structure. Its active and engaged network of presenters form an interconnected web or relationships through which support and services are strategically designed, effectively distributed, and successfully leveraged.
The National Performance Network and the Visual Artists Network are closed networks, intentionally kept small to facilitate active participation, build sustainable relationships, and measure impact over time. The national infrastructure meets NPN/VAN’s goal to support artists and the creation of new work in the context of community engagement. Every few years, a small number of organizations are invited to join the Networks following a rigorous nomination and application process.