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Boise State University to receive $125,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

Boise State University will receive a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Research Lab award of $125,000. This grant will support the Place, Arts and Cultural Systems Lab to study diversity, equity and inclusion in U.S. arts and cultural districts.

This grant is one of four new research labs the National Endowment for the Arts is supporting that fund transdisciplinary research teams grounded in the social and behavioral sciences, yielding empirical insights about the arts for the benefit of arts and non-arts sectors alike.

The Place, Arts and Cultural Systems Lab investigates how arts and cultural districts support diversity, equity, and inclusion using a national survey and case studies in the Intermountain West and Industrial Midwest. Arts and cultural districts are widespread: it is important to understand barriers to and best practices for making those districts inclusive, equitable, and drivers of economic and social innovation

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support this Research Lab from Boise State University, part of the NEA’s investment in exploring the value and impact of the arts,” said NEA Director of Research and Analysis Sunil Iyengar. “The NEA’s Research Labs are an important component of our agency’s goal of understanding the factors, conditions and characteristics of our country’s arts ecosystem and the many ways the arts can impact other areas of American life.”

“We’re thrilled to receive this highly competitive award to accelerate our research in the School of Public Service and the School of the Arts in the College of Arts and Sciences,” Director of the School of Arts and principal investigator, Amanda Ashley, said. “We’re particularly excited to have an excellent set of research and community partners at the local, regional and national level.”

Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and co-principal investigator Leslie Durham, noted, “Our NEA Lab is an outgrowth of a multi-year, interdisciplinary and inter-institutional collaboration catalyzed by Boise State’s Division of Research and Economic Development. I’m grateful for that past support and absolutely delighted and honored that the NEA is funding the new work of the lab.”

The Lab will both learn from and serve district organizations and neighbors by creating a typology and national public database of arts and cultural districts characteristics; using the database to analyze patterns of diversity, equity and inclusion practice; identifying good practices for different district types, geographies and capacities; and developing and sharing a flexible arts and cultural district toolkit for communities with a range of resources and needs. Boise State University is partnering with Cleveland State University, University of Arizona and Wayne State University on this research collaboration.

Read the working paper by Ashley and Durham on the National Endowment for the Arts website (PDF).

Learn more on the Boise State School of the Arts Place, Arts and Cultural Systems Lab webpage.

For more information on other projects included in the National Endowment for the Arts’ grant announcement, visit Visit to explore more of the Endowments’ work in research and analysis, including the agency’s five-year research agenda; in-depth reports and analyses of research topics in the arts; collections of statistics, graphics, and summary results from data-mining about the arts; and more.