Hancher receives $50,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

Hancher Auditorium has received an Art Works award of $50,000, which will be used toward ongoing projects with Step Afrika! and the Kronos Quartet.


Nick Rohlman

Hancher Auditorium is seen on Thursday Jan. 25, 2018.

Madison Lotenschtein, Arts Editor

Although Hancher Auditorium’s once bustling aisles and lively stage have been temporarily silenced by the 2019 novel coronavirus pandemic, the space has received a $50,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to complete ongoing projects, according to a Wednesday release.

The grant money – one of the 1,015 grants distributed across the country during a second round of Fiscal 2020 funding – will assist ongoing projects with dance group Step Afrika! and Kronos Quartet, a contemporary stringed instrument group, according to the release

According to the NEA’s website, over $25 million in Art Works grants were distributed during the second round of Fiscal 2020 funding. The grants range in size from $10,000 to $100,000 and “support artistically excellent projects that celebrate our creativity and cultural heritage, invite mutual respect for differing beliefs and values, and enrich humanity,” according to the site. 

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“We’re grateful to the NEA for this important support,” said Chuck Swanson, Hancher’s executive director, in the release. “And we’re particularly excited about the projects supported by this grant. We’re co-commissioners of new works by both Step Afrika! and Kronos Quartet, and these works delve deeply into the African American experience. That, of course, is a crucial conversation to be having right now.”

Swanson went on to say that the performance venue is working closely with artists to create “extensive residencies” over the next few years in an effort to produce “essential and frank” conversations about a wide variety of topics. 

“These awards demonstrate the resilience of the arts in America, showcasing not only the creativity of their arts projects but the organizations’ agility in the face of a national health crisis,” NEA Chairman Mary Anne Carter said. “We celebrate organizations like Hancher Auditorium at the University of Iowa for providing opportunities for learning and engagement through the arts in these times.”