Press Released: 02 Nov 2016

OPERA America Launches Innovation Grants

Generously supported by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation

Providing $1.5 Million Annually to Foster Innovation and Field-Wide Learning

OPERA America, the national service organization for opera and the nation's leading champion for American opera, is thrilled and deeply honored to launch Innovation Grants, a new program generously funded by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation.

Innovation Grants will support exceptional projects that have the capacity to improve the vibrancy of opera in the field’s most important areas of practice, including artistic vitality, audience experience, organizational effectiveness and community connections. These grants will invest $1.5 million annually in OPERA America’s Professional Company Members, enabling organizations of all sizes to increase their investment in experimentation and innovation, and contribute to field-wide learning.

This new program reflects the longstanding commitment to opera by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation. For the past three decades, the Foundation has provided operating funds to opera companies across North America, and beginning in 2012, the Foundation also supported OPERA America’s Building Opera Audiences grants, which provided $1.2 million over four years to enable opera companies to develop inventive audience-building strategies.

Innovation Grants will continue this legacy of generosity, while also providing a new infrastructure to assess and capture outcomes of funded projects. OPERA America will provide administrative and technical support that will enable companies to document successes, learn from one another, borrow and adapt good ideas, and ultimately engender a stronger field.

“We are profoundly grateful to the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation for this support, which will give opera companies the capacity to experiment and innovate, as well as the ability to share best practices and lessons learned,” stated OPERA America President/CEO Marc A. Scorca. “The Foundation’s generosity will bolster the field’s collective capacity to learn and forge relationships among companies, benefitting individual organizations and communities across North America.”

“The Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation is excited to partner with OPERA America in facilitating pathways to ensure and expand the future of opera in America,” said the Foundation’s director, Lisa Delan. “We are poised at a moment of great cultural change in this country, and the Foundation embraces the opportunity to explore the ways in which classical music can adapt to the shifting landscape and broaden its reach and relevance.”

Innovation Grants are designed to support efforts that are new to the field; adaptations or applications of strategies that have been implemented elsewhere but are new to an applicant organization or its community; and refinements or enhancements to proven organizational strategies. Funded projects will address four key areas of practice:

  • Artistic Vitality: Production activity that has the potential to advance the art form, demonstrate ambitious creativity and reflect exceptional artistic vision.
  • Audience Experience: Projects that lead to new and more frequent attendance and enhance the audience experience.
  • Organizational Effectiveness: Changed structures, systems or operations that bolster a company’s ability to fulfill its mission.
  • Community Connections: Programs and partnerships that enhance the civic value of opera and opera companies.

Grant funds may be allocated toward research, professional development and evaluation that will help the recipient organization derive learning from the project.

Application and Award Process
All of OPERA America’s Professional Company Members (PCMs) in the U.S. and Canada are eligible to apply. It is expected that between 25 and 30 companies across each of OPERA America’s five PCM budget categories will be awarded grants in the first year of the program. A company may apply for one- or two-year support, and award size will be determined according to a company’s budget size.

Through December 7, OPERA America is accepting letters of intent for the first year of Innovation Grants, which will fund projects beginning on July 1, 2017. Applications will be reviewed by an independent panel convened by OPERA America and drawn from a pool of experts in opera, the arts, nonprofit leadership, organizational change, entrepreneurship and program evaluation.

Visit operaamerica.org/Grants for more information about the program.

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For more information on OPERA America, visit About Us.

For press inquiries, contact Press@operaamerica.org or 212.796.8628.