For Immediate Release

GRAM to Receive Art Works Grant from National Endowment for the Arts

Award supports Museum’s arts and literacy unit of study, Language Artists 

GRAND RAPIDS, MI, February 7, 2018 – The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has approved an award to the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) as part of the NEA’s first major funding announcement for fiscal year 2018. The $20,000 Art Works grant will support the Museum’s year-long arts and literacy program, Language Artists.

The Art Works category is the NEA’s largest funding category and supports projects that focus on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and/​or the strengthening of communities through the arts.

As the only funder in the country to support arts activities in all 50 states and five U.S. jurisdictions, the NEA will award grants totaling more than $25 million in this round of funding.

It is energizing to see the impact that the arts are making throughout the United States. These NEA-supported projects, such as this one to the Grand Rapids Art Museum, are good examples of how the arts build stronger and more vibrant communities, improve well-being, prepare our children to succeed, and increase the quality of our lives,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. At the National Endowment for the Arts, we believe that all people should have access to the joy, opportunities and connections the arts bring.”

Language Artists integrates literacy and the visual arts through a year-long unit of study that promotes academic and cultural achievement among third grade students. Developed in partnership with Grand Rapids Public Schools, the program positions GRAM as an extension of the classroom to enhance student learning of the language arts.

The collaboration between Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS) and GRAM exemplifies the best of what partnerships can bring,” commented Grand Rapids Public Schools Executive Director of Elementary Schools and Early Childhood Education Rick Noël. A strong commitment to the arts and core content create stronger students, and ultimately, a more vibrant community.”

Through Language Artists, students participate in engaging museum visits, empowering cultural experiences, unique classroom activities, and relevant test preparation. This robust program helps students strengthen their writing skills, and foster lifelong skills like critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication.

Language Artists is rooted in the understanding that the visual arts and literacy enhance and build upon each other when experienced together,” added GRAM Director of Learning and Creativity Christopher Bruce. The Grand Rapids Art Museum is incredibly thankful for this award from the National Endowment for the Arts, which supports a lifelong impact on students in our community through dynamic and nationally-recognized learning experiences.”

Language Artists reaches many historically underserved schools, with over 75% of participating students from low-income households. Participating school districts include Grand Rapids Public Schools, Kentwood Public Schools, Godfrey-Lee Public Schools, Northview Public Schools, West Ottawa Public Schools, and several other area districts.

This past year, Language Artists delivered an enriching cultural learning experience to nearly 1,900 students from nine school districts across West Michigan. Among the program’s participating students, 44% improved on writing prompts over the course of the program.

Through active learning and direct engagement with the Museum’s collection and exhibitions, Language Artists helps build a foundation of the literacy and 21st century skills necessary to reach graduation and succeed in a global economy. 

About National Endowment for the Arts
Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. For more information, visit

About the Grand Rapids Art Museum
Connecting people through art, creativity, and design. Established in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids, the Art Museum is internationally known for its distinguished design and LEED® Gold certified status. Established in 1910 as the Art Association of Grand Rapids, GRAM has grown to include more than 5,000 works of art, including American and European 19th and 20th century painting and sculpture and more than 3,000 works on paper. Embracing the city’s legacy as a leading center of design and manufacturing, GRAM has a growing collection in the area of design and modern craft. For hours and admission fees, visit

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