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Ucross to Receive $30,000 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to Support Residencies for Native American Artists and Writers

The funds will support three residencies in 2020 and expand Ucross’s fellowship for Native American visual artists to include Native American writers

UCROSS, WY—January 15, 2020: Ucross, a prestigious artist residency program and creative laboratory for the arts, today announced that it has been awarded $30,000 from the NEA’s Art Works program to support residencies for Native American visual artists and writers.

The grant award, which was funded through the NEA’s Artist Communities program, will allow Ucross to expand its successful fellowships for Native American visual artists, now in its third year, to include Native American writers.

“As Governor and a former board member of the Ucross Foundation, I’d like to congratulate Ucross for securing this funding from the NEA,” said Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon. “It’s well-deserved recognition. I’ve heard over and over from artists whose masterpieces were inspired by their time at Ucross and its historic Wyoming ranch, which has become a leading artist-in-residence program in the country—Ucross is a special place." 

According to the National Endowment for the Arts, the Art Works funding category supports projects that focus on public engagement with, and access to, various forms of excellent art across the nation; the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence; learning in the arts at all stages of life; and the integration of the arts into the fabric of community life. Overall, the National Endowment for the Arts has approved 1,187 grants totaling $27.3 million in the first round of fiscal year 2020 funding to support arts projects in every state in the nation, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

Through its Artist Communities program, the NEA is committed to providing assistance to artist communities for projects that encourage and nurture the development of individual artists and foster and inspire their creative processes. Since this funding field was created in 2009, the NEA has granted more than $4.4 million to artist residency programs around the country. This is Ucross’s first NEA Art Works grant award.

“We are honored to be awarded this grant,” said Ucross President Sharon Dynak. “We’re especially proud of our work to expand residency opportunities for Native American artists and writers. NEA’s support is a boost of confidence in this initiative, as well as recognition from the NEA that our residency program is exceptional.”

Specifically, the grant funding will support three residencies for Native American writers and/or visual artists in 2020. Each resident will receive uninterrupted time, living accommodations, and studio space on Ucross's 20,000-acre ranch on the majestic High Plains in northern Wyoming. In addition, each artist will receive a stipend. Participating artists will be encouraged to share their work and participate in public programs, such as workshops, panel discussions, open studio events, and/or readings. 

“The arts are at the heart of our communities, connecting people through shared experiences and artistic expression,” said Arts Endowment chairman Mary Anne Carter. “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support projects such as Ucross’s fellowships for Native American artists and writers.” 

Ucross was founded in 1981 by Raymond Plank. It has provided more than 2,200 residencies to some of the world’s most accomplished artists. Located in northeastern Wyoming at the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains, the artist residency program is situated on a historic 20,000-acre ranch at the confluence of three creeks in Ucross, population 25. Its connection to the land, its vast open spaces, and its view of the contemporary American west have proven to be inspirational and uniquely generative for artists.

Ucross has been home to 10 Pulitzer Prize winners, eight MacArthur “genius” grantees, seven Tony Award winners, nine National Book Award winners, and two Academy Award winners. Through its residencies, partnerships, and support of emerging artists, it continues to have an impact on the cultural dialogue of the country and the world. Alumni include Billy Porter, Colson Whitehead, Yaa Gyasi, Annie Proulx, Terry Tempest Williams, Elizabeth Gilbert, Ann Patchett, Ricky Ian Gordon, and Adam Guettel.

For more information on projects included in the Arts Endowment grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.