News Release

More than $1 Million Goes to Fund Arts Projects in National Parks

Date: May 10, 2016
Contact: Elizabeth Stern, National Park Service, 202-219-8933
Contact: Victoria Hutter, National Endowment for the Arts

National Endowment for the Arts Announces “Imagine Your Parks” Grants for National Park Service Centennial and NEA 50th Anniversary   

WASHINGTON — Today, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Park Service announced $1,092,500 in support of support 51 grants in 27 states for arts projects that celebrate the NPS Centennial and the NEA’s 50th Anniversary. The NEA created the Imagine Your Parks grant initiative in partnership with the National Park Service to support projects that use the arts to engage people with memorable places and landscapes of the national park system. These awards are part of a larger National Endowment for the Arts announcement also made today in which the agency will make 1,148 awards totaling more than $82 million to organizations in all 50 states and five jurisdictions. 

“As part of the NEA’s 50th anniversary, this year we are celebrating the magnificence of America’s national cultural treasures through art,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “The Imagine Your Parks grant program unites our mission with the National Park Service by connecting art projects with the natural, historic and cultural settings of the national park system and will inspire a new generation to discover these special places and experience our great heritage.” 

“The Imagine Your Parks grants are helping us celebrate the NPS Centennial and the NEA’s 50th Anniversary with some incredibly diverse and interesting projects that continue to inspire more Americans of all backgrounds to connect with their national parks,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “The earlier grants awarded last year are already demonstrating the success of the program through a variety of inspiring projects. A new generation of artists is connecting to national parks through their work, and motivating others to do the same.”

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 in 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 51 projects include a multidisciplinary arts festival at the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site and an orchestral work inspired by Crater Lake National Park in southern Oregon. A series of cultural activities will explore the traditions of the Pueblo civilization and the folk art of the Spanish who settled in the area of Pecos National Historical Park. And public art projects will consider the nation's founding principles  that are part of the story at Independence National Historical Park. 

A full list of the grants is available on the NEA website. General information about arts programs in parks can be found on the NPS website

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. 

Follow “Imagine Your Parks” on Twitter @NEAarts and @NatlParkService, #ImagineYourParks #NEASpring16.

About the National Park Service 

More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 411 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. To learn more about the National Park Service, visit

About the NEA 

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.

Last updated: June 22, 2016