I was reviewing this list of Illinois organizations who will receive grants this year from the NEA, and a couple of things struck me.
First, there are 37 grants for just over $1 million. Given our government's immense wealth, that's a paltry sum for one of the nation's premiere cultural hubs. Like you, I've always heard about how our government goes cheap on the arts, but until I sat down and reviewed this list, I didn't understand how cheap.
Secondly, the NEA identified a lot of deserving organizations. Some of my favorites include: Experimental Sound Studio, Redmoon Theater, Tia Chucha Press and Dalkey Archive Press. That being said, the ethnic diversity represented here seems minimal despite the many cultural ideas and creativity bursting from our city (and state).
As a side note, the Illinois Arts Council grants money to both individual artists and organizations. The 2005 individual winners have been announced. I'm still trying to track down the 2005 organizations who will receive grants. If and when I succeed in finding out, I'll be sure to share it here.