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Games now eligible for National Endowment for the Arts grants

Video games are among the new types of interactive media eligible for 2012 NEA grants. The grants can be given out for artistic works, or works about artistic mediums.

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Video games are among the new types of interactive media eligible for 2012 National Endowment for the Arts grants. The grant application guidelines for the Arts in Media category lists "digital games" as a new platform, along with Internet, interactive and mobile technologies, and arts content delivered via satellite, radio, and television.

The grants, which typically range from $10,000 to $200,000 can be given for works that are either arts in themselves, or about the arts. A game that helps to teach you about the opera, for example, would be eligible even if it isn't itself an artistic work.

The timing of this decision makes it interesting in light of the impending US Supreme Court decision on California's violent games bill. The NEA is an independent agency, but works under the federal government. Art is a form of protected free speech, which is why other artistic forms like music and movies don't have federal laws restricting their sale to minors. If the NEA recognizes video games as an artistic medium, a Supreme Court decision in California's favor could put the government at odds with itself.

Over the weekend, professional Luddite-curmudgeon Roger Ebert tweeted that under this definition, "just about everything" can be considered art. Besides his tendency to troll gamers (even after conceding), he has a point that this particular definition is fairly broad. We'll let you decide what that means for art, games, or both.

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    May 9, 2011 9:45 AM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Games now eligible for National Endowment for the Arts grants.

    Video games are among the new types of interactive media eligible for 2012 NEA grants. The grants can be given out for artistic works, or works about artistic mediums.

    • reply
      May 9, 2011 9:54 AM

      ATTN: Jonathan Blow

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        May 9, 2011 10:13 AM

        Screw that guy. He made tons of cash off his last game. ATTN: Jason Rohrer. That dude lives out in the wilderness and barely makes any money.

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      May 9, 2011 10:14 AM

      he has a point that this particular definition is fairly broad

      IMHO this is entirely appropriate. Trying to define what is (and can be) art is a pointless and ultimately reductionist approach. I like the idea that "art" is a very broad term, and the NEA ought to be able to consider a wide range. Of course, because they are working with a limited budget, few grants will be issued. But they ought to be able to consider virtually any creative medium. In fact I feel like the medium used should probably be the last and least important point of consideration.

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        May 9, 2011 1:54 PM

        I, for one, prefer the broad definition of "art," particularly the Scott Mccloud definition: "Art is anything not required for survival."

        Arranging food in a visually pleasing way? That's art.
        Choosing one shirt over another because of color? That's art.
        Humming in the shower? That's art.
        Creating a fictional universe to convey a particular atmosphere through mechanics, writing, acting (both voice and motion-capture), and visuals? That's definitely art.

    • reply
      May 9, 2011 11:07 AM

      Hmmm. I may need to make a "learn about art" Android app....

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