LABA at the 14th Street Y Receives National Endowment for the Arts Grant

LABA dance

New York City—National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Jane Chu announced today that the 14th Street Y’s LABA is one of 919 nonprofit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Art Works Grant. LABA is recommended for a $10,000 grant to support the LABAlive series, which showcases original art from a selected group of artist fellows four to six times per year.

Each year, the 14th Street Y’s LABA fellows study together in a non-religious house of study, or Beit Midrash, using classic Jewish texts to inspire the creation of new art and thought. These artists are selected from a large pool of applicants, all professional artists, and are in residence with LABA for a full year.   Recent themes, which serve as an organizing principle for the selection of text and programming for the year, have included The Body, Pardes (Paradise), Eros, Blueprint, Eat, and Mother. This year’s theme is Time.

The artistic directors of LABA meet with the artists weekly to provide mentorship and guidance, as well as to develop and produce each show.

Each LABAlive show features two to three works in progress from different disciplines, accompanied by a lecture to give context to program, and followed by a post-show reception. One show may feature music, dance and visual art, while another may showcase theater, poetry and multimedia. LABA groups artists according to how their works correlate to one another, their project’s development and how their works speak to one another.

Announcing the grant recommendations, NEA Chairman Jane Chu said, “I’m pleased to be able to share the news of our support through Art Works including the award to the 14th Street Y’s LABA.  The arts foster value, connection, creativity and innovation for the American people and these recommended grants demonstrate those attributes and affirm that the arts are part of our everyday lives.”

“It is an honor for the 14th Street Y to join the ranks of NEA grant recipients, along with other arts organizations like the Apollo Theater, Lincoln Center, and the Public-Shakespeare Festival. In downtown Manhattan, artists are hungry for space and support—and the National Endowment for the Arts allows LABA at the 14th Street Y to provide those, as well as community and the inspiration of Jewish text.” says Rabbi Shira Koch Epstein, Executive Director of the 14th Street Y, a program of the Educational Alliance. “We have always been proud that LABA: A Laboratory for Jewish Culture is such a unique incubator for artists and culture makers, and we are thrilled to have our program recognized and supported in this way.

Art Works grants support the creation of art, public engagement with art, lifelong learning in the arts, and enhancement of the livability of communities through the arts.  The NEA received 1,474 eligible applications under the Art Works category, requesting more than $75 million in funding.  Of those applications, 919 are recommended for grants for a total of 26.6 million.

For a complete listing of projects recommended for Art Works grant support, please visit the NEA website at Follow the conversation about this and other NEA-funded projects on Twitter at #NEAFall2014.

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