News desk | ILLINOIS

CHAMPAGNE, Ill. — Jennifer Novak-Leonarda urban and regional planning professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, received a National Foundation for the Arts research grant.

NEA announcement nearly 1,500 scholarships totaling $33.2 million. Novak-Leonard’s award is one of 18 awarded by the NEA Arts Research Grants Category. A total of $815,000 is to be awarded in this round of funding through a competitive application process that includes expert panel review. The grants fund studies that analyze the value or impact of the arts.

Novak-Leonard’s project will offer a timely national look at the educational and professional experiences of artists, with a focus on racial inclusion in higher education and the impacts of the pandemic. The education and training of future artists may need to change to prepare them for new post-pandemic work structures and social interactions and to enable them to overcome structural inequalities in the arts, which have likely been exacerbated by the pandemic. . The project will prepare a series of reports that analyze survey data and offer insights to policy makers, researchers, workforce experts, higher education officials, prospective students and alumni in art and design.

The project will use data from the National Arts Graduate Strategic Project, which collects, analyzes and reports on survey data from graduates of schools and colleges of art and design to understand the career success, educational satisfaction and personal growth of arts alumni. Novak-Leonard is Vice Chairman of the Board and Research Director of the Arts Alumni Project.

The National Arts Graduate Strategic Project will be a partner in the research project under the Arts Impact Initiative of College of Fine and Applied Arts. Novak-Leonard is also research director of the Arts Impact Initiative, which focuses on how art and artists contribute to community development and social well-being.

Novak-Leonard’s research examines the social roles of arts, artists and creativity; their impact on people and communities; and implications for policy and practice. She specializes in developing new measurement systems to understand cultural participation, and she studies racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic inequalities in opportunity in the arts.

The National Endowment for the Arts is an independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports learning in the arts, celebrates America’s cultural heritage, and promotes equal access to the arts.