NEA awards skimpier grants

December 16, 1996|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

WASHINGTON -- The National Endowment for the Arts announced a set of drastically reduced grants to organizations yesterday, the first to reflect major budget cuts imposed by Congress.

And for the first time, impact on the community was used as a criterion for selecting winners. In the past, grants were awarded on artistic merit alone.

Jane Alexander, NEA's chairwoman, said the finalists are of such high quality, and money is now so limited, the agency had to find a new standard to pick winners.

Hundreds of applicants were awarded far less than in past years, or nothing.

The largest grant, $1 million, went to Educational Broadcasting Corp. and WNET in New York for the 1998 season of "Great Performances" and "Dance in America," as well as their "American Masters" series.

About two-thirds of 887 applicants were turned down. Yesterday's grants amount to about 20 percent of the $82.5 million to be awarded for 1997. Another round of awards is to be announced in the spring.

Pub Date: 12/16/96

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