Given the name chosen by Rocco Landesman and the NEA staff, which references Thornton Wilder's Pulitzer Prize winning play about fictional small town Grovers Corner, let's analyze the grants that were distributed in terms of geography and population. (Full disclosure: I was part of the applicant pool for the "Our Town" grant for a project in Bakersville, NC [pop 357], and was not funded.)
WHICH STATES WERE IGNORED?
Let's start with which states received no funding at all -- the number in parenthesis next to the state's name is the number of the 156 "Access to Excellence" grants for theatre in the most recent round (for details, see my post here):
- Alabama (0)
- Delaware (0)
- Georgia (4)
- Indiana (1)
- Kansas (1)
- Kentucky (3)
- Montana (2)
- Nevada (0)
- New Hampshire (0)
- New Jersey (0)
- New Mexico (2)
- Oklahoma (1)
- Oregon (2)
- South Dakota (0)
- Utah (0)
- Virginia (2)
In summary, these 17 states which received no "Our Town" funding received only 11.5% of the "Access to Excellence" grants for theatre. Seven of them received no funding in either round.
Of the three states that received the most funding in the "Access to Excellence" theatre funding -- New York, California, and Illinois -- both New York and California exceeded the average and median grants for those states who received them, with California far outdistancing every other state, having received $900,000 (the next highest was Texas with $525,000 and Florida with $400,000); Illinois was near the bottom with $50,000.
WHAT ABOUT POPULATION?
According to Wikipedia, "16.7% of U.S. counties had more than 100,000 inhabitants."
- Of the 50 grants funded by the NEA, 45 of them, or 90%, were in counties over 100,000.
- In fact, the average population of the counties funded was a bit more than 2.163 million people, and the median population was over 966,000.
- Of the 50 grants funded by the NEA, only two (Marfa, TX and Sitka, AK) went to a county that could be classified as rural.
So when funding for the NEA comes around once again, remember this distribution when you are condemning those Southern and Western representatives and senators who vote against.
Now let the rationalizing begin.