Member Spotlight: National Performance Network

For the month of August, GIA’s photo banner features work supported by National Performance Network (NPN).

NPN is a hybrid grantmaker and service organization, committed to advancing racial and cultural justice in the arts. Through its national network of artists, community leaders, and more than 100 arts presenting organizations, NPN’s mission is to build power for artists; advance racial and cultural justice; foster reciprocity between individuals, institutions, and communities; and work toward systems change in arts and philanthropy.

Over the last two years, NPN has undergone a holistic process of transforming the way the organization works. Moving forward, all of its programs, practices, and policies explicitly center justice, moving beyond diversity and inclusion to prioritize work of, by, and for people of color, immigrants, and Native and Indigenous peoples; people with disabilities; trans and LGTBQ people; people in remote, rural communities; and others who are systemically marginalized.

NPN’s most recent Creation & Development Fund awards demonstrate how this new mission is reflected in its programs. These commissioning grants – supported by regranting funds from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation – provide multi-year support to artists over three years. This year’s 20 awardees hail from 16 cities from Tucson, AZ to Bighill, KY, and include 47 co-commissioning presenters who ensure new work is nurtured and shared in communities across the country.

The Creation & Development Fund awards celebrate artists who are advancing their art forms and challenging notions of identity, justice, and belonging, including Borderlands Theater’s Antigone at the Border, a collaboration between theater artists, DACA communities, and Border Patrol agents; Christopher K. Morgan’s Native Intelligence/Innate Intelligence, a dance performance investigating how the artist maintains his Native Hawaiian identity when separated from ancestral land; Clear Creek Creative’s Ezell: Ballad of a Land Man, reckoning with extractive resource industry, intergenerational trauma, and ancestral legacies in rural Appalachia; and Gesel Mason’s Yes, And, which re-centers Black womanhood in the creative process.

“We enter this work with both love and fury,” says Caitlin Strokosch, NPN’s president & CEO.

“As we continue this evolution,” adds Strokosch, “we seek the patience to go deep, lean into complexity, and work toward systems change in the long-term, as well as the urgency to respond to the most critical issues of our times in ways both nimble and fierce.”

NPN joined Grantmakers in the Arts in 2012.

You can also visit the NPN photo gallery on GIA’s Photo Credits page.

Image: Courtesy of Ananya Dance Theatre

2018 Creation & Development Fund Artist — Ananya Dance Theatre, “Shymali: Sprouting Words”