News & Events

Notices for partners, news for artists, announcements from the field, job postings.

E-Newsletter / June 26, 2017

Posted: Monday, June 26th, 2017 at 12:23 pm in E-Newsletters

Say Hello to Meijun Wang, NPN/VAN’s New Intern

Posted: Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 at 2:44 pm in News

NPN/VAN is happy to introduce Meijun Wang, our new intern, to the Network.

Meijun is from Guiyang, the capital city of Guizhou Province, in southwest China. She obtained a bachelor’s degree at the Arts College of Guizhou University, majoring in dance performance, teaching, and choreography. She also spent four years learning professional Chinese folk dance, including Tibetan, Uyghur, Mongolian, Northeast Yangko, Dai, Miao, Buyi, Tujia, Yi, as well as Korean, Spanish, Latin, and American Modern dance.

Meijun began studying dance when she was five years old and has participated in performances and dance competitions across China and in the United States. She performed as a dancer in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games Opening Ceremony and the Shanghai 2010 World Expo Opening Ceremony. In 2010, she was honored to perform for the Chinese Spring Festival, which was broadcast nationally on China Central Television 1 (CCTV). She is proud to have received numerous national dance awards thanks to these opportunities.

Meijun participated in a dance learning exchange with American arts and dance schools in 2009 and credits this experience with sparking her desire to study abroad. After graduating from Guizhou University in 2011, Meijun decided to study in the United States and studied English for a year in preparation. She moved to New Orleans in 2013 where she met her husband, Cheng. They have a two-year-old daughter, Melanie.

This year, Meijun completed the coursework for a master’s degree from the Arts Administration Program at the University of New Orleans and is spending the summer as an intern at NPN/VAN, working with the National Programs staff.

Meijun is a welcome addition to the NPN/VAN team!

Photo description: The Flower Blooming in the Spring – Dance from the Miao culture of Guizhou Province, southwest China.

The NPN/VAN Local Program in the spotlight again!

Posted: Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 at 2:27 pm in News

NPN/VAN is proud to be the recipient of another award for its contributions to its home community. The New Orleans Chapter of the National Conference of Artists annually honors outstanding individuals and organizations whose work enhances the creative, cultural, and economic climate of New Orleans. Stephanie Atkins, Director of Local Programs, accepted the award during the 6th Annual Margaret Burroughs Symposium on Saturday, June 10th. Other 2017 organizational honorees were the Center for African and African American Studies at SUNO and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. In the outstanding artists category were Mapo Kinnord, L. Kasimu Harris, and John Barnes; Dr. Stella Jones was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement in the Arts award. Past recipients include the Amistad Research Center, Arts Council of New Orleans, Ashe Cultural Arts Center, L9 Center for the Arts, McKenna Museums, New Orleans Museum of Art, and the Neighborhood Gallery.

The National Conference of Artists (NCA), founded in 1959, is devoted to the preservation, promotion, and furtherance of African and African American culture, and the creative forces of the artists that emanate from the African World experience. The NCA proudly proclaims its existence as the oldest African American visual arts advocacy organization in the United States. Its members include artists, educators, scholars, exhibitors, art distributors, art collectors, and supporters of African and African American art and culture. The New Orleans chapter has been at the vanguard of progressive cultural enlightenment by providing economic development, exposure, and acknowledgment for the arts and artists.

NEA Awards Two Grants to NPN/VAN

Posted: Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 at 1:12 pm in News

In June, the National Endowment for the Arts announced 1,195 grants totaling $82.06 million to support arts activities in every U.S. state and jurisdiction.

In the Art Works: Dance category, NPN has been awarded $50,000 for programs that support contemporary U.S. choreographers, dance artists, and presenters to create, commission, tour, and engage diverse communities with new work across the United States. The programs will support the development and touring of innovative, new dance works; nurture the careers of hundreds of dancers; and create spaces for authentic dialogue between diverse dancers and audiences across the United States. Art Works is the NEA’s largest category and focuses on funding the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with art, lifelong learning in the arts, and strengthening of communities through the arts.

NPN/VAN has also received its first Our Town grant. The $75,000 award will support the Knowledge Building Initiative, NPN/VAN’s creative placemaking research and archiving project. NPN/VAN is partnering with Paul Bonin-Rodriguez, PhD, and Elliat Graney-Saucke, to research and archive creative placemaking case studies and best practices in the 33 states represented by NPN/VAN’s network. The work will result in a series of written reports, blog posts, and filmed short interviews and oral histories, all of which will be accessible through NPN/VAN’s website. Research findings will also be disseminated through dedicated sessions at NPN/VAN’s convenings. Through this project, NPN/VAN will deepen engagement with its partner organizations, promote effective reflection and evaluative efforts, and better articulate the social change benefits of artistic production. The project will reach NPN/VAN’s national network of 84 organizational partners and their communities. Our Town is the NEA’s signature creative placemaking program that supports partnerships of artists, arts organizations, and municipal governments that work to revitalize neighborhoods. This practice places arts at the table with land -use, transportation, economic development, education, housing, infrastructure, and public safety strategies to address a community’s challenges. Creative placemaking highlights the distinctiveness of a place, encouraging residents to identify and build upon their local creative assets.

Read more…


About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. For more information, visit

E-Newsletter / May 22, 2017

Posted: Monday, May 22nd, 2017 at 1:23 pm in E-Newsletters

U.S.-Japan Connection Travel 2016-17:
Blog Reflection: Julie Bates MacGillis

Posted: Friday, May 19th, 2017 at 5:04 pm in International Program Reflections

Blog Reflection: Julie Bates MacGillis
Cultural Affairs

We had a great meeting with Dale Kreisher, Cultural Affairs Officer and Akihito (“Aki”) Nakanishi, Cultural Affairs Specialist, Public Affairs Section at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. Our goal was to meet these supporters of arts and culture and introduce them to our work in Japan. Our time with the officers was short, but we made the most of our 30-minutes at the US embassy. They were incredibly warm, positive and interested in the work we are doing in Japan. They had been working for Caroline Kennedy until the Trump administration took over and recalled all ambassadors. As no replacement has been appointed, they are in a bit of a holding pattern right now waiting for the new ambassador, and to learn who that person is and what their priorities are.

By the time we left, they were enthusiastic and very shocked they hadn’t known about this project before now. For their part, they brought up the issue facing Japan of having literally thousands of museums, and very little training available for curators. They are particularly interested in connecting with Western institutions for curatorial exchanges (for both performing and visual arts, though this seems more established in visual arts and more need in performing arts) to mentor Japanese curators.

They loved the project. They really want to stay in touch, and they were impressed by our emphasis on real two-way exchange between cultures, as well as the curatorial exchange aspect, rather than simply a touring program for individual artists and shows.

U.S.-Japan Connection Travel 2016-17:
Blog Reflection: Colleen Furukawa

Posted: Friday, May 19th, 2017 at 5:03 pm in International Program Reflections

Blog Reflection: Colleen Furukawa
International Commonalities

This was my first foray into meeting a variety of artists from around Asia on non-US soil. It was an interesting first day of attending different roundtables on a wide range of areas artists are working in. The world gets smaller and smaller as we find we all know common artists, shared interests, and commonalities on social issues, cultural perpetuation, activating, facilitating and community engagement. Through these exchanges, we have gained new awareness and insight into the impact of social structures in different cultures that are causative forces in the kinds of social issues that we all face. The power of one-on-one conversation is sharing knowledge.

U.S.-Japan Connection Travel 2016-17:
Blog Reflection: Benjamin Akio Kimitch

Posted: Friday, May 19th, 2017 at 5:01 pm in International Program Reflections

Blog Reflection: Benjamin Akio Kimitch

This is the first of many travels to Japan to come. Already, it has been a humbling and stimulating adventure, where even as a fourth-generation Japanese-American, my own cultural assumptions are challenged and my understanding is expanded. As we engage with Japanese artists and cultural workers, I am so grateful for their trust to share so openly and honestly. I’m learning that there are a lot of parallels to the political climate that Japanese artists are facing, and that us in the U.S. fear is just on the horizon. There is so much we can learn from one another as we build our networks and fight together to uphold our values and through art share these across our diverse communities.

“Telling Our Stories” part of NPN/VAN Knowledge-Building Initiative

Posted: Friday, May 19th, 2017 at 4:44 pm in News

March 3, 2017
Paul Bonin-Rodriguez

Under the Knowledge Building Initiative (KBI), a research project led by Paul Bonin-Rodriguez and Media Lead Elliat Graney-Saucke, NPN/VAN has begun documenting, assessing, and reflecting on its three-plus decades of accomplishment – in other words, planning for how the NPN/VAN archive will serve as a site for knowledge building and sharing.

To seed the KBI, a breakout session at the 2016 Annual Meeting, “Telling Our Stories/Documenting and Archiving our Work” assembled artists, partners, and colleagues to share strategies and experiences in archive building.

Artistic Director Stephanie McKee told how her work assembling the Junebug Productions’ archives provided deeper insight into the organization’s history, vision, and importance. Executive Director Laurel Raczka shared the process by which the Painted Bride assembled and moved its archives to the University of Pennsylvania Van Pelt Library. Sixto Wagan, Director of the University of Houston Center for Arts and Social Engagement, shared his experiences of digitizing Diverseworks’ history while serving as Co-Executive/Artistic Director. Dr. Eric Colleary, the Cline Curator of Theatre and Performing Arts, Harry Ransom Center, an archive repository at UT Austin, offered a host of resources, rationales, and strategies for archive building. His presentation paid special attention to the work of the American Theater Archive Project (ATAP), a grassroots effort that bearing similar partnership ethos as NPN/VAN.

The following suggestions are taken from all four presentations and the 20 people in attendance.

Why do it? Rationales for Building an Archive
(From ATAP’s Why Archive Theater? – A Call to Action)

  • Preserving the present can inform an artist’s/company’s future, artistically and organizationally.
  • The presence of the archive offers a tool for advocacy, artistic practice, and teaching, among other things.
  • A wide variety of individuals (scholars and students, artists, and advocates) may have a vested interest in learning from the archive.

What to save? Notes on Content
In its free online “Archiving Theatre” manual, the American Theatre Archive Project (ATAP) has a sample retention policy and schedule that lists what documents a company or artist should consider saving in perpetuity and what should be discarded after a set period of time. A sampling would include

  • Production/show materials (photos, programs, scripts and scores, videos, etc.), including those related to development.
  • Grants and reports, i.e., documents that demonstrate how the artwork was created to make an impact
  • Relevant agreements (contracts) and correspondence that demonstrate how the work functioned as an element of both practice and arts policy
  • Press, i.e., promotional materials, reviews, and letters, which demonstrate reception.

How to Get the Work Done? Strategies for Starting and Sharing an Archive

  • Decide who you’re preserving history for, what you’re going to save, and how.
  • Determine a consistent approach for saving materials and be sure to put dates on all articles that might one day be saved, so that the history can be accurately documented.
  • Also, think about where you might place this work – in a dedicated repository (collection), such as the library, or in the Cloud?
  • Determine an appropriate retention schedule and method (see In other words, on a consistent basis (quarterly, every six months, or year, perhaps), check on the location and status of saved items.
  • Talk to performance historians – scholars, who are key end users and emissaries for your work.
  • Start early. Even doing a little bit now is better than postponing the work for later. It’ll only pile up.
  • Board retreats and volunteer working sessions can be times where a lot of organizing can happen quickly and effectively.

Who can help? Additional Resources

Grantmakers in the Arts Seeks New CEO

Posted: Friday, April 21st, 2017 at 12:20 pm in Job Announcements, News

Grantmakers in the Arts is working with Koya Leadership Partners to conduct a search for its new CEO, and the position profile is now available online. As announced in December, GIA President & CEO Janet Brown will step down from her position at the end of 2017. GIA members are encouraged to share this email and the position profile with any interested parties. Candidate interviews are expected to begin in late May / early June. 

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