National Endowment for the Arts

Diavolo Project
The Diavolo Project

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is an independent federal agency that funds, promotes, and strengthens the creative capacity of communities by providing diverse opportunities for arts participation.

The NEA offers grants for both organizations and individuals. See the NEA site for announcements, artistic Fields and opportunities, and grants for more details. The NEA also offers subscriptions to a number of area specific newsletters:

  • ARTmatters (General NEA newsletter)
  • Arts Education Newsletter
  • Challenge America
  • Dance Newsletter
  • Design & Creative Placemaking Newsletter
  • Folk & Traditional Arts Newsletter
  • Literary Arts Newsletter
  • Locals Newsletter
  • Media Arts Newsletter
  • Museums Newsletter
  • States and Regions
  • Research Newsletter
  • Theater/Musical Theater Newsletter
  • Visual Arts Newsletter

Contact the Willson Center if you would like to discuss a potential proposal. Examples of previously funded projects and partners are listed below.


UGA/Athens – NEA project partners and collaborators

  • Athens Community Council on Aging
  • Athens Cultural Affairs Commission
  • Athens Institute for Contemporary Art
  • Georgia Museum of Art
  • Dance Fx
  • Envision Athens
  • East Athens Educational Dance Center
  • The Georgia Review
  • Nimbl Athens
  • UGA Carl Vinson Institute of Government – Planning and Environmental Services offers support for strategic planning as well as design and placemaking in shaping public spaces.
  • UGA College of Education
  • UGA Department of Theatre & Film Studies
  • UGA Hugh Hodgson School of Music
  • UGA Ideas for Creative Exploration (ICE)
  • UGA Institute for African American Studies
  • UGA Institute for African Studies
  • UGA Institute for Women’s Studies
  • UGA Lamar Dodd School of Art
  • UGA Willson Center for Humanities and Arts
  • Watershed UGA


Previous UGA/NEA funded projects

The Georgia Review (2021), special issue titled SoPoCo, “Southern Post-Colonial,”

Category: Grants for Arts Projects

To support the publication and promotion of an issue of The Georgia Review. The planned special issue will celebrate the voices, history, and cultures of diasporic communities of the southern United States. Emerging writer fellows will be published in the issue and invited to give a reading in Athens, Georgia.


“Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?” (2021), Melisa “Misha” Cahnmann-Taylor, PI (Department of Language and Literacy Education, College of Education)

Category: Big Read

“Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?” is a series of readings, lectures and events focused on the works of famed American cartoonist Roz Chast. Chast’s book “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?” is a graphic memoir, that combines cartoons, text and photographs to tell the story of an only child helping her elderly parents navigate the end of their lives. Events will range from expressive dance classes and art lessons to family gatherings and book discussions, directed toward the elderly community. Cahnmann-Taylor has received three previous NEA Big Read awards supporting events focused on the works of American poets Robinson Jeffers and Edgar Allen Poe, and Chinese author Yu Hua.

Partners: Athens Community Council on Aging, Athens Institute for Contemporary Art, the Georgia Museum of Art, and Nimbl Athens.


The Georgia Review Reading Series (2018-2020), The Georgia Review

Category: Art Works

To support The Georgia Review Reading Series. The journal offered a series of free public literary readings in Athens, Georgia, in conjunction with the release of new issues of The Georgia Review. Planned participants included Layli Long Soldier, Phillip B. Williams, Eavan Boland and Kazim Ali. Events were designed to engage and inspire local audiences while offering opportunities to connect with contemporary writers.


Exhibition and Catalogue “Richard Hunt: Synthesis” (2018-2020), The Georgia Museum of Art

Category: Art Works

The exhibition highlighted the career of African-American sculptor Richard Hunt (b.1935) and was the first to feature a large selection of his works-on-paper, including lithographs and drawings, alongside his sculptures in a wide range of sizes. The exhibition represented the various phases of Hunt’s career, including welded and cast sculpture dating from the 1950s to the present, as well as models he made after his transition in the 1960s to large scale public commissions. Lithographs and other works-on-paper illustrated the consistent fascination with linear forms that provides Hunt with the foundation for many of his three-dimensional works and the conceptual basis for his complex sense of design.


Exhibition and Catalogue “Icon of Modernism: Representing the Brooklyn Bridge, 1883-1950” (2016-2017), The Georgia Museum of Art

Category: Art Works

The exhibition included approximately 45 paintings, works on paper, and photographs created from the bridge’s opening in 1883 until 1950. An aesthetic investigation of an enduring American symbol, the exhibition included works by a variety of artists and artistic movements including Impressionism, Cubism, and Realism. Among the artists in the exhibition were Childe Hassam, George Grosz, Yun Gee, Edward Steichen, and Weegee. A symposium, docent training, a family day and teen studio (art-making component), along with interdisciplinary programming with university faculty, complemented the exhibition.


Exhibition and Catalogue “Georgia’s Girlhood Embroidery: ‘Crowned with Glory and Immortality’” (2015-2016), The Georgia Museum of Art

Category: Art Works

Focusing on needlework samplers made in Georgia between 1775-1850, the exhibition featured samplers from public and private collections. Although a staple of American folk art, needlework samplers from Georgia had not been the subject of a comprehensive exhibition. Given the advent of widely available online tools for genealogical research, samplers might prove a newly appreciated resource as a first source of lineage, identity, and ancestry research. An essay commissioned for the catalogue reflected on a specific young sampler maker from Putnam County, tracing the young girl’s life through the records of her father, brother, and husband in an effort to demonstrate methods of documentation for the lives of marginalized individuals. The exhibition project allowed for the promotion and dissemination of original scholarship regarding this understudied art form.


Community-Built Places, (2012-2013), Katherine Melcher, PI (College of Environment and Design)

Category: Art Works: Research

To support a qualitative research analysis to generate a hypothesis about community-built practices to inform policies and programs. The term “community-built” describes a practice whereby artists and designers involve local community volunteers in the design, organization, and construction of projects such as playgrounds, mosaic sculptures, murals, community gardens, and amphitheaters.


American Chamber Music Festival (2010-2011), Michael Heald, PI (Hugh Hodgson School of Music)

Category: American Masterpieces

To support a festival of American chamber music at the Hugh Hodgson School of Music. Members of the Tokyo String Quartet, the Verdehr Trio and composer and pianist Lera Auerbach joined university faculty and student artists in performances at the University of Georgia Performing Arts Center as well as leading related residency activities.


The Diavolo Project (2010-2011) and From the Heart of America – Lou Conte’s “The 40s” (2008-2009), Lisa Fusillo, PI (Dance)

Category: American Masterpieces

The Diavolo Project (2010-2011)

The NEA American Masterpieces award supported The Diavolo Project for Jacques Heim’s Diavolo Dance Theatre to stage a master choreographic work, A.W.O.L., for UGA students. The Diavolo company artists selected 18 dance and theatre students, who worked with the company and performed A.W.O.L. in the professional performances by Diavolo Dance Theatre. The Diavolo Project included a six-day residency with six master classes at local high schools, dance studios, and theatre groups; five UGA master classes; a public lecture/demo at UGA; three open rehearsals setting a repertory work on UGA students; two public evening performances to inaugurate the newly renovated UGA Fine Arts Theatre, and several other events. This project had a significant impact on engaging the community and providing extraordinary experiences for students who for the first, and possibly only, time in their lives were able to work and perform with internationally renowned dance artists.

From the Heart of America – Lou Conte’s “The 40s” (2008-2009)

The NEA American Master Pieces Grant From the Heart of America – Lou Conte’s “The 40s” was a project to restage the original choreography of The 40s, which is Lou Conte’s signature work for his company, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. Lou Conte changed the style of dance seen in professional dance companies in America when he successfully transitioned musical theatre dance from the Broadway stage, film and television and into a new, exciting and unique concert dance form in the 1970s. The funding supported a 10-day guest artist residency, with over a dozen master classes at UGA and in the Athens community. UGA students learned and performed professional choreography from an American legend, Lou Conte, who personally coached the students for the performances. This project enabled UGA and community dancers to interact and work with professional dance artists, and provided students with an invaluable experience of learning and performing professional repertory.

Partners: East Athens Educational Dance Center, Dance Fx, Cedar Shoals High School, Atlanta Dance Central (Roswell), Sideways Contemporary Dance Company (Roswell), Foster-Schmidt Dance Academy for Down Syndrome (Roswell), Covington Regional Ballet, UGA partners including the Institute for African Studies, the Institute for African American Studies, the Institute for Women’s Studies, the Department of Theatre & Film Studies, and the Hugh Hodgson School of Music