The University of Iowa has been selected by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to receive one of the first projects funded through a new program, NEA Research Labs. The cross-sector projects supported through the program investigate how the arts contribute to positive outcomes for individuals and communities. The NEA will fund four inaugural projects totaling $598,600 that will yield insights for the arts sector and for non-arts sectors such as healthcare, education, business, and management.
The Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI) at the University of Iowa College of Public Health, in partnership with the organization Art of the Rural, will look at the intersection of the arts, entrepreneurship, and innovation in rural contexts. RUPRI also will work with its Rural Intracultural Policy Council to develop pilot studies of rural “cultural ecologies.” The pilot studies may use social network analysis, structured interviews, and respondent-driven survey sampling to test hypotheses about cultural and social capital as preconditions to innovation.
Other labs recommended for funding are: Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA; University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR; and Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.
Each of the labs will design and implement a research agenda and prepare reports in one of three areas:
- The Arts, Health, and Social/Emotional Well-Being
- The Arts, Creativity, Cognition, and Learning
- The Arts, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation
The NEA Research Labs initiative is intended to fulfill milestones of the agency’s new five-year research agenda.