National Medal of Arts 2013Bill T. Jones, Brooklyn Academy of Music
Posted 24 July 2014 - 12:12 PM
Posted 24 July 2014 - 12:52 PM
If you follow the link you can see an image of the medal itself, which has some lovely dancing figures on it, but there's also another link to a 2009 interview with Jones where he talks about the importance of the NEA, and its late, lamented Choreographers Fellowship program. As the Michelin Guides say, it's 'worth the detour.'
NEA: What did it mean to receive the NEA Choreographers Fellowships in the early 1980s?
Bill T. Jones: There was a sense of suddenly being a part of the club—that literally, at the federal level, someone thought what we do was important enough to be funded. And on a psychological, emotional level, that was certainly a lift, and one begins to walk a bit more straight and upright and to think more seriously as an artist…. So that was what I think it meant. It also meant that we could begin to plan. We could begin to look for and attract administration [staff], which was rudimentary. We made lots of mistakes: we didn’t really know how to get a board of directors. We didn’t know how to get the next piece made. We were just going to do it on sweat and enthusiasm. But the NEA imprimatur was definitely important to us. And the perception in the funding world that you were somebody that should be funded was very important.
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