National Park Service Press Release

For Immediate Release:
December 08, 2015
Elizabeth Stern (National Park Service),, 202-219-8933
Victoria Hutter (National Endowment of the Arts),, 202-682-5692

Nearly $800,000 Goes to Fund Arts Projects in National Parks: National Endowment for the Arts Announces “Imagine Your Parks” Grants for National Park Service Centennial and NEA 50th Anniversary

WASHINGTON – America’s national parks have inspired artists for generations. As the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Park Service commemorate milestone anniversaries in 2015 and 2016, the NEA will award $797,500 to support 33 projects to a special grant initiative called “Imagine Your Parks”, which encourages the American public to celebrate the arts at national parks around the country.

“Imagine Your Parks” grants are awarded through the NEA Art Works grant category to projects in which the arts engage people with memorable places and landscapes of the National Park System. The National Park System includes not only national parks, but also national historic sites, trails, rivers, seashores, landmarks and national monuments, heritage areas, preserves, battlefields, recreation areas, and more.

“The ‘Imagine Your Parks’ program is a testament to the commitment of the National Park Service and the National Endowment for the Arts to celebrate and protect America’s national and cultural treasures,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “’Imagine Your Parks’ unites our missions by introducing a new generation to our National Parks and connecting art projects with the natural, historic and cultural settings of the National Park System. Through this grant program we will see new commissioned art works created specifically for these special places, like a new dance by the troupe BANDALOOP to be performed in Yosemite National Park, and a new exhibition series on civil rights heroines in Atlanta, Georgia, home of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic site. We encourage the American public to take part in ‘Imagine Your Parks’ projects, and experience our nation’s great heritage.”

“These grants build on a strong tradition of the arts in national parks, from the first stunning photographs of Yosemite and Yellowstone more than a century ago, to artists-in-residence and other programs in parks today,” said NPS Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “Inviting a new generation of artists to explore the meaning and majesty of national parks is a great way to celebrate the National Park Service Centennial, and to inspire more Americans of all backgrounds to connect with these remarkable places.”

Imagine Your Parks Grants

“Imagine Your Parks” grants support art projects that encourage the creation of and greater public engagement with art about the National Park System. The funding encourages partnerships with park areas or programs.  “Imagine Your Parks” also supports projects that promote public engagement in urban environments, or that engage younger generations with the National Park System. Projects may take place at and around the National Park System, or may take place elsewhere in the United States with a focus on the work and mission of the National Park Service.

The 33 projects range from a traditional Tlingit Song Writing Workshop with Alaskan students at Glacier Bay National Park, to the Native American Composer Apprentice Project at the Grand Canyon Music Festival, to a special symphony series in St. Louis, Mo., Berkeley, Calif., and Washington, D.C., blending music composition and national park imagery and engaging students in creative workshops inspired by the piece.  A full list of the grants is available on the NEA website here.

Information about arts programs in parks can be found online here:

Commemorating Significant Anniversaries

In September 2015, the NEA launched its 50th anniversary celebration. Throughout the anniversary year, the NEA is collecting and featuring stories and participating in events that demonstrate that all Americans are connected through the arts and that the arts are an essential component of our everyday lives.

Also in 2015, the National Park Service began a two-year celebration of its centennial, beginning with a public engagement campaign, entitled “Find Your Park,” designed to increase awareness and excitement about the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary, which officially falls on August 25, 2016. As the National Park Service celebrates its achievements of the past 100 years, it is also kicking off a second century of stewardship of America’s national parks, and of engaging communities through recreation, conservation, and historic preservation programs.


About the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 409 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at, on, Twitter, and

About the 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. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the National Endowment for the Arts and the agency is celebrating this milestone with events and activities through September 2016. Go to to enjoy art stories from around the nation, peruse Facts & Figures, and check out the anniversary calendar.