The Game Innovation Lab at the USC School of Cinematic Arts has received two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts for projects directed by Tracy Fullerton, chair of the Interactive Media & Games division.
A $40,000 grant award will go to the further development of Walden, A Game, an interactive experience that gives players the chance to explore the natural world of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden Pond and better understand the ethos behind his literature and philosophy. The Night Journey, a game created in collaboration with media artist Bill Viola that explores an individual’s path toward enlightenment, will also receive a grant from the NEA for $25,000.
“The NEA is committed to advancing learning, fueling creativity and celebrating the arts in cities and towns across the United States,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu, who made the grant announcement on May 6. “Funding new projects like the ones from the Game Innovation Lab at USC represents an investment in both local communities and our nation’s creative vitality.”
These grants are two of the 1,023 awards, totaling $74.3 million nationwide, given out by the NEA during this funding round. Through its grants to thousands of nonprofits each year, the NEA promotes opportunities for people to experience the arts and exercise their creativity in communities across the country.
“Making games is my way of understanding the answers to questions that I have about the world,” Fullerton said. “And that is one of the primary impulses of an artist, to use a medium to explore the central questions that intrigue them and that they think are of interest to themselves and others. It is so exciting that the NEA is supporting this kind of artistic inquiring in the realm of games as art.”