Fort Wayne, IN January 11, 2022 – Arts United has been approved for a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support the Allen County Folklife Study. In partnership with Traditional Arts Indiana, Arts United will lead this study of Allen County’s community cultures’ traditional dance and related art forms. This project is one of 1,248 projects across America totaling $28,840,000 that were selected to receive this first round of fiscal year 2022 funding in the Grants for Arts Projects category, as well as only one of two projects that were selected to receive funding in Northeast Indiana.


“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support arts projects like this one from Arts United that help support the community’s creative economy,” said NEA Acting Chair Ann Eilers. “Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne is among the arts organizations nationwide that are using the arts as a source of strength, a path to well-being, and providing access and opportunity for people to connect and find joy through the arts.”


“Arts United is thrilled to receive a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts” said Susan Mendenhall, President of Arts United. “We’re looking forward to partnering with Traditional Arts Indiana to support and celebrate the cultural traditions of dance and related art forms like music, instruments, and dress that thrive in Allen County.”


“Community scholar training is a proven strategy to help communities identify, document, and make use of their distinctive cultural traditions and practices,” said Jon Kay, Director of Traditional Arts Indiana. “I look forward to working with the region’s diverse community partners to bring this opportunity to the Fort Wayne area.”


The Allen County Folklife Study, planned to be conducted in 2022, will include contracting five Allen County Folklife Scholars. These scholars will represent and serve as a liaison to a cultural community that celebrates and honors its culture through dance and related art forms, conduct artist interviews, participate in training led by Traditional Arts Indiana, present a performance of the dance form, and advise Arts United and Traditional Arts Indiana about how to best support this type of cultural community programming in the future. 


To learn more about Arts United and its other initiatives, visit To learn about Traditional Arts Indiana, visit For information on other projects included in the Arts Endowment grant announcement, visit


About Arts United

Arts United is a private, nonprofit local arts agency that serves Northeast Indiana through arts advocacy and promotion, fundraising and grantmaking, back-office business support, community and economic development, and Arts Campus Fort Wayne coordination. Arts United’s mission is to mobilize resources to develop, coordinate, and support arts and culture, enhancing the quality of life and the economic vitality of Northeast Indiana.


About Traditional Arts Indiana

Traditional Arts Indiana is dedicated to expanding public awareness of Indiana’s traditional practices and nurturing a sense of pride among Indiana’s traditional artists. TAI identifies, documents, and seeks to understand more fully the many ways in which cultural values are embedded in daily life. It calls attention to neglected aesthetic forms that firmly ground and deeply connect individuals to their communities–from the spoken text to the hand-made object to customary behavior. TAI’s overarching goal is to integrate and connect cultural heritage to educational activities, cultural conservation, arts, and community development at the local, state, and national level.