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Matheny's Arts Access Program Receives NEA Grant to Support Full Circle

"My Brain's on Fire" from Full Circle 2011.

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Rocco Landesman has announced that the Matheny Medical and Educational Center’s Arts Access Program is one of 153 not-for-profit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Challenge America Fast-Track grant. Arts Access is recommended for a $10,000 grant to support Full Circle, the program’s annual celebratory event, which showcases art created by individuals with disabilities.  The Full Circle project includes an exhibition displaying original artwork created by artists with disabilities; and guest artists to help participants with disabilities create a culminating multimedia performance piece.

In this FY 2013 funding round, the NEA received 393 eligible Challenge America Fast-Track applications, requesting a total of $3,930,000. The NEA will award 153 Challenge America Fast-Track grants totaling $1.53 million awarded to organizations in 41 states, Washington, DC, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. These include 49 first-time Arts endowment grantees. The Challenge America Fast-Track category offers support primarily to small and mid-sized organizations for projects that extend the reach of the arts to populations whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability.

“We are extremely honored and gratified to receive this award,” said Eileen Murray, Director of the Arts Access Program. “It will help us to celebrate and honor the creative achievements of our artists with disabilities at Arts Access’s 20th anniversary event in 2013. This is a priceless opportunity for these talented individuals to shine, as they present their writing, dance and dramatic work on stage and exhibit their paintings and sculpture in a professional gallery.”

“The NEA was founded on the principle that the arts belong to all the people of the United States,” said NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman. “We’re proud that Challenge America Fast-Track grants bring more opportunities for arts engagement to underserved communities.”

See the complete listing of projects recommended for Challenge America Fast-Track grant support at

Matheny is a special hospital and educational facility for children and adults with medically complex developmental disabilities. Arts Access empowers individuals with disabilities to create art without boundaries. Through the use of innovative systems and techniques, participants can take part in the visual, performing and literary arts. Regardless of their disability, the artists are provided with the tools and materials needed to produce complete pieces of work.