MVLE to Receive Federal Arts Research Grant


[Springfield, VA]— National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu announced 10 awards totaling $550,000 to that investigate the value and/or impact of the arts, either as individual components of the U.S. arts ecology or as they interact with each other and/or with other domains of American life. Included in this announcement is a Research: Art Works award of $15,000 to MVLE to research the impact of the MVLE Moves performance project.


In 2015, MVLE partnered with BodyWise Dance to create the MVLE Moves program which provides weekly movement arts classes for individuals served through MVLE’s programs. Now, in its third year, the MVLE Moves program provides weekly inclusive movement arts classes for more than 150 MVLE clients and staff. These classes encourage exploration and expression through movement repertoire.  The success of the weekly movement classes encouraged Greenlee in 2016 to create an additional MVLE performance outlet, the Mighty Voice Liberation Ensemble (using “MVLE” as the inspiration). In the 2016-2017 season, the Ensemble, comprised of 20 self-selected participants and professionals, rehearsed and created its first original mixed-ability production, Everyday Oz. For the 2017-2018 season, the cast produced the original show, All About Dogs.

It is this highly engaged methodology that enhances participants’ capacity for community integration. The creative process and performance style replicates and thereby gives participants the opportunity to practice vital skills they need in community settings. Discussion, improvisation, physical and verbal control, adapting to new settings, focus, impulse control, leadership and followership, are essential to artistic excellence AND a quality daily life.

For the Research: Art Works research grant, MVLE will partner with Sharp Insight, LLC. This research project will evaluate artist and audience outcomes from the MVLE Moves performance project.  The research will explore the methodology, and preliminary outcomes of experiential performances with varied ability performers and audiences. Using the mixed-method approach accepted by the Institutional Review Board, the study will include a literature review, stakeholder interviews, observations, and surveys. Evaluators will deliver a documented case study comprising a completed manuscript detailing the methodology used and the project outcomes.

To join the Twitter conversation about this announcement, use #NEASpring18 and tag @NEAarts. For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, go to