Applications for grants from the NEA go through three rounds of deliberation and are judged on the basis of artistic excellence and merit.
“You apply to the NEA to support specific projects. We wrote the grant project about the artist, content and importance of the project specifically,” said Peter Nisbet, interim director and chief curator at the Ackland.
A peer-reviewed panel comprised of museum directors, curators, arts educators and artists deliberates and recommends select applications to the National Council on the Arts. After reviewing specific projects, the panel sends its recommendations to the NEA chairman, who makes the final decision on all grant awards.
The exhibition will feature the work of Ronald Lockett, a late twentieth century artist from Bessemer, Alabama.
It will be accompanied by a volume of essays guest edited by American studies and folklore professor Bernard Herman.
Nisbet said the grant will not only help the museum put up the exhibition, but also help it become available and accessible to other museums.
The versatility of an exhibit is crucial to its outreach in the community, and the grants help make this possible, Nisbet said.
“I think it’s a great thing for the museum,” Nisbet said. “The grant from the NEA is kind of a validation; it’s sort of an objective seal of approval.”