News & Events

Notices for partners, news for artists, announcements from the field, job postings. Submit news items using our online form.

Brave New Voices: Multi-year
Grants Available

Posted: Friday, September 19th, 2014 at 6:11 pm in Opportunities

Closed October 1, 2014

Youth Speaks, the renowned arts education program widely recognized as the nation’s leading spoken word program for youth, announces the launch of The Brave New Voices (BNV) Network Initiative. This seven-year initiative includes $10 million of grants directly to other nonprofits that work with teenagers in writing and performance.

The BNV Network Initiative is dedicated to building a sustainable field of organizations that intersect arts education and youth development practices with a deep focus on long-term civic engagement and public presentation. Currently, over 75 programs across the United States make up Youth Speaks’ BNV Network. The hope is that by investing in the field as a whole, Youth Speaks can create a pathway for the voices of 21st Century America to have the resonance, opportunity and access the both deserve and demand, while ensuring ongoing, local programs in communities nationwide.

Grants to Other Nonprofits

Over the next 7 years, Youth Speaks will provide direct multi-year grants to 25 organizations nationwide. Grants range from $175,000 to $550,000 a year, and include general operating support, technical assistance, and staffing support. The Initiative also includes an annual pool of $200,000 “programmatic grants” available for all BNV Network Member organizations. Additionally, the BNV Network will develop a robust, membership-driven web presence to support and train emerging leaders, engage the alumni base, and house the best practices of the network, as well as publicize and make visible the work happening across the country through the BNV Network.

Applications to The BNV Network initiative are available now at and remain open until October 1, 2014.

Rauschenberg Foundation Open Call
for “Artist as Activist” Program

Posted: Friday, September 19th, 2014 at 5:57 pm in Opportunities

The Rauschenberg Foundation has released a series of open calls for the first time in its history for its Artist as Activist Program. 

Artist as Activist provides game-changing resources to artists (of all disciplines – visual, performing, media, and beyond), designers, and other creative professionals who are addressing important global challenges through their creative practice. In years past this support has included a commissioned print edition to benefit a particular cause or organization. Today the Artist as Activist program is comprised of three distinct grant opportunities:

  • Artist as Activist Fellows: Artists and legally established art collectives with a demonstrated commitment to applying their creative work to the public sphere will receive up to $100,000 over two years, along with a suite of value-added support. Applications due October 13, 2014.
  • Artist as Activist Travel & Research Grants: a separate pool of funds has been reserved for similar artists seeking support (ranging from $2,500 to $10,000) to travel or conduct research related to this aspect of their work. Applications accepted on rolling basis September 8, 2014 – April 15, 2014.
  •  Artist as Activist OrganizationsTen organizations from across the U.S. that have been exemplars in supporting artists working at the intersection of art and change will receive general operating support. These organizational grants are by invitation only. 

For more info visit:

Surdna Foundation: RFP for Artists Engaging in Social Change

Posted: Friday, September 19th, 2014 at 5:52 pm in Opportunities

The Surdna Foundation is issuing a request for proposals to individual artists, culture bearers and nonprofit arts organizations. These funds are designed to support projects developed in response to communities’ specific challenges and to support artists and organizations whose long-term, deeply-rooted work has increased social engagement without necessarily being explicitly “activist.” The foundation will consider all artistic disciplines, including cross-disciplinary work. Successful applicants will receive grants ranging from $25,000 to $150,000 over one- or two-year periods, with a maximum total award of $150,000 per year.

The deadline for submitting a proposal is November 12, 2014 at 11:59 pm EST. Grants will be announced in April 2015. The Surdna Foundation will offer two webinars to answer questions. The first of these calls will take place on Tuesday, September 23 at 4:00 p.m. (EDT). The second will take place on October 21 at 1:00 p.m. (EDT). For more information go to:

National Asian American Theater Conference and Festival:
October 8-12 in Philadelphia

Posted: Friday, September 19th, 2014 at 5:16 pm in Events

The 2014 National Asian American Theater Conference and Festival is just weeks away! Taking place in Philadelphia from October 8-12, the ConFest features a dynamic line-up of performances, showcases, open mics, new play readings, plenary and breakout sessions!

True to the theme, “Home: Here…There…Where?” the ConFest will examine Asian Americans’ relationship to broad definitions and meanings of home as well as changing notions of what constitutes Asian American theater. Lend your voice to the conversation and register today:

E-Newsletter / August/September 2014

Posted: Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014 at 1:48 pm in E-Newsletters

An Interview with Abe Rybeck

Posted: Thursday, August 28th, 2014 at 7:24 pm in News

Kathie deNobriga, editor of the NPN/VAN E-Newsletter, interviews Board Chair Abe Rybeck about his long-term relationship with the National Performance Network.


Kathie deNobriga: Let’s start by finding out more about your early involvement in NPN.  How did you learn about NPN?

Abe Rybeck: In the early ‘90s, when The Theater Offensive (TTO) was doing a massive amount of programming, we featured Brian Freeman and the Pomo Afro Homos. He told me a little about NPN, and then I heard a little bit more when we presented Paul Bonin-Rodriguez. He and his director Steve Bailey [now Chief Operating Officer of NPN] thought we would be a ‘good fit’ with NPN. I wasn’t really sure what they were talking about, but we were invited to the 1999 Annual Meeting in Providence, Rhode Island, and I went anyway.

Kathie: And what did you think when you finally attended?

Abe: I was really impressed by the amazing array of presenters, but I think we weren’t quite ready to join, plus NPN wasn’t taking new Partners at that time. But three years later, we were invited to apply, and we attended the meeting in Chicago as a full-fledged Partner in 2003.

Kathie: Give us a little context about your presenting work during that time.

Abe: We are the only NPN Partner that is specifically devoted to showing queer work, particularly by people of color. A journalist did some research lately and reported that in 25 years, TTO had presented 200 works by queer (gay/lesbian/transgender) artists, of which 126 were people of color. I’m really proud of that record!

Kathie: Talk a little about how your experience within NPN has changed over time — TTO has been an NPN Partner now for 11 years. Has anything shifted for you?

Abe: Yes, in a couple of ways. First of all, Eve Alpern started coming to the meetings with me, and she also attended the Mid-Year Meetings, which move around the regions. As she became more active – she eventually served as the Regional Desk for a couple of years – she served as another voice and viewpoint about the importance of NPN.  It wasn’t just me raving to the staff, her enthusiasm helped spread the vision within TTO itself.  Now Evelyn Francis, Nick Bazo and others at TTO have stepped up.

I also noticed some changes within NPN. The Providence Annual Meeting was right after NPN became an independent organization, cutting the apron strings from Dance Theatre Workshop. Over time I began to notice more collaboration and less competition. There was more widespread, genuine respect.  It was less about ‘being in the club,’ and more about filling our role in the cultural ecology.

Kathie: Why do you think this transition occurred?

Abe: I think maybe it was the measured, reasonable expansion, with great attention to geographic mix and diversity. There was more a sense of not fighting over crumbs, but sticking together to get a seat at the table, where we could fight for more equity in the field. I think the diversity had a lot to do with that – hearing from rural presenters or ones facing urban challenges or organizations of color struggling for recognition – everyone’s struggles became more of a tapestry than separate threads, and we could see how we were connected.

Also, I believe that intention over years becomes character. I’ve seen NPN display an attentive intention around equity issues – not just race, but rural/urban, geography, gender. It’s become more “built-in” and is manifested by the respect for artists in their role in creating AND presenting work. I think NPN’s deep commitment to equity issues is for the long haul – it’s not just the flavor of the month, desiring a certain demographic or trying to build an audience. Equity is clearly mission-driven at NPN.

Kathie: TTO’s commitment to equity is pretty apparent in your programming, I’d say. But has being in NPN impacted TTO in other ways?

Abe: The artists we saw at the meetings were right up our alley. It was great to be in community with people around the country facing challenges and sharing their solutions. We learned ways of doing residency work that really resonated with us – I mean, we were already doing intense residency work, especially in the four neighborhoods where we now focus most of our work, but the exposure to other models really amplified our ingenuity and capacity. The Performance Residency contract turned out to be a powerful tool that really benefited artists. Through the Community Fund we were able to expand the work that we’d already been doing for years.

But I guess the greatest impact was being able to bring serious resources to commissioning new work. We had been doing some local commissioning, really on a shoestring, but the Creation Fund really allowed us to step up our commissioning activity. Also, although we haven’t participated yet, I’m enormously inspired by the International program.

Kathie: What else would you like to say about your and TTO’s relationship to NPN?

Abe: I have an absolute passion to see how this network breaks that old pattern of “them that’s got shall have,” of shaking up the status quo.  We can really leverage the network for equity by paying attention to structural support. The first time I saw Rhodessa Jones, one of my heroes, decked out to the nines, dancing at a closing party, I felt so lucky to be part of it.  How she welcomed me to the dance floor and we shook our “thangs” together, well that’ll live with me forever.  When I’m an old codger, sitting in my rocking chair, I’ll really treasure the heart-to-heart and cultural connections we’ve made. We love the culture of NPN and we’ve had a lot of fun together.

Plan for “What If,” Not “Why Me?”

Posted: Friday, August 22nd, 2014 at 2:25 pm in News

Arts Ready logo for web SA_ArtsReadyLogo_TAGURL
IT experts say the world consists of two kinds of people – those who back up their data, and those that will. That’s because it takes just ONE data crash with the resulting heartaches and headaches to learn the lesson.

The National Performance Network and the ArtsReady team encourage you to avoid the pain and panic of being unprepared, whether for a data crash, a PR debacle, or an auditorium flooded by a broken pipe. September is National Preparedness Month, and we hope you’ll take some time this month to start, or update/expand, your readiness plan! Here are some easy-to-use resources and ideas to help you out:

  1. You’ve likely had changes in the names and/or contact information for your staff and roster artists.  Make sure you have an updated phone/personal email tree to reach everyone speedily in the event of emergency, and that you have an “In Case of Emergency” contact for each individual (here’s a sample from the ArtsReady Library).
  2. Professional Development – attend ArtsReady workshops and get one-on-one consulting on readiness at this fall’s Western Arts Alliance, Arts Midwest and Performing Arts Exchange conferences.
  3. Download handy mobile apps that will help you keep tabs on bad weather, respond in first aid/emergency situations, or be aware of police activity in your area.
  4. Take a tour of your venue/working space, making sure that alarms, fire extinguishers, emergency signage and other safety devices are easy to see, operational and current.
  5. Join ArtsReady. A Premium Membership gives you access to an online planning tool, cloud-based critical information storage, online training opportunities and more. NPN is an ArtsReady partner, which means NPN/VAN Partners get their first year’s ArtsReady Premium membership at 50% off – use discount code npn2014gen.

Call on the ArtsReady team for assistance with any of these resources, Omar Nelson, membership manager,, (404) 874-7244 x 28.


Adeline Edwards Foundation
Opening for a Grants Administrator

Posted: Friday, August 8th, 2014 at 12:19 pm in Job Announcements

The Adeline Edwards Foundation, a newly established New Orleans nonprofit visual arts organization, seeks a Grants Administrator for a contracted part-time position to administer a grants program September 2014-January 2015. The Grants Administrator will be primarily responsible for creating web-based forms, developing social media networks, and assisting the directors in creating new administrative structures. The candidate must have a solid background in creating organizational systems and strong communication skills. Experience in arts administration is preferred.

You can download a full job description here. Please submit cover letter, resume and references by email attachment to Materials accepted by email only. Search is open until August 22, 2014, 5:00 p.m. CDT. EOE.

E-Newsletter / July 2014

Posted: Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 at 5:45 pm in E-Newsletters

Greetings from Incoming
Board Chair Abe Rybeck

Posted: Friday, July 25th, 2014 at 11:49 am in News

Every two years the NPN/VAN board of directors elects new officers. This flow of new perspectives keeps our collective imagination sharp. At the same time, we keep an even keel by maintaining most of the executive committee, including a seat for the immediate past board chair. As of July 1, 2014 our colleague and leader Vicki Meek shifted into that role.

I thank Vicki for her wise and gutsy leadership of NPN/VAN and for the generous mentoring she provides me as I step into her fabulous shoes.

Please join me in thanking four terrific board members whose terms ended on June 30, 2014. Each remains seriously engaged in our ongoing work, but the end of their terms gives us a chance to thank them and wish them happiness in their other important ventures. Maria-Rosario Jackson’s national leadership will continue to amplify our voice in cultural policy arenas, as she did so effectively as chair of the NPN/VAN board for two years. James Kass keeps us plugged in with the burgeoning national spoken word and hip-hop performance scenes. New Orleans’ own Tom Reese has his finger on the pulse of cultural collaborations with academia. Performer Maurice Turner, one of several working artists on the board, helps keep our deepest values — and often a live tune! — in every discussion. We thank them and look forward to staying engaged!

NPN/VAN faces tough challenges as well as exciting opportunities.  One of my top priorities for my term as NPN’s board chair is to address the looming threats to the survival of many of our NPN/VAN Partners. Racism and other systemic barriers prevent many rural and culturally specific NPN/VAN Partners from thriving. As a network, we stand in solidarity. Through our critical policy efforts, we stand up for artistic vitality and cultural equity at local, regional, national and international levels. But we are doing even more. We are prioritizing the campaign to leverage our network, bringing in new resources and sharing among us the expertise we each hold. I look forward to the challenge.

Abe Rybeck is the founder and executive artistic director of The Theater Offensive in Boston, MA, an NPN Partner.


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