The National Endowment for the Arts announced an expansion of projects eligible for grants, including a form usually demonized on Capitol Hill: Video games.
Alyce Myatt, the NEA’s director of media arts, explained the guidelines in a video posted to the NEA website, said, “We’ll continue to support television and radio, but we’re also going to fund content developed for the Web, for theatrical release, for mobile phones, content to be distributed via satellite, and even content for game platforms.”
The one caveat is that organizations, not individuals, are only eligible, and grants are given primarily to nonprofit groups.
The NEA also announced that its previous emphasis on grants to documentaries will be expanded to dramatic narratives. “Yes, it has been a while, but we are thinking that it would be great to have the endowment help bring the next ‘Vincent & Theo’ or the next Shakespeare adaptation of something like Julie Taymor’s ‘The Tempest’ to the American audience,” Myatt said.
The recognition of video games in the category comes just as the Supreme Court is poised to rule on whether states can ban the sale of violent titles to minors. A decision is expected any day now. It’ll also be interesting to see whether the expanded eligibility is brought up at Wednesday’s scheduled appropriations hearing on NEA funding for the next budget cycle. The moves by the NEA to expand its pool of potential grantees is undoubtedly designed to keep the agency relevant in the changing media environment.