The National Endowment for the Arts, a U.S. government agency that offers funding for art projects and exhibitions, has awarded several major grants to video game projects that teach players about the arts or important social issues.
The NEA introduced this grant opportunity last May, for the first time accepting submissions relating to mobile technology, digital games and other gaming platforms.
Before 2011, this grant category only included radio and television, but last year the NEA decided that games and multimedia programs also qualify as artistic works, as they occasionally exist within the "nexus of arts, science, and technology."
This year, the NEA awarded grants to game-focused organizations like the non-profit group Games for Change, which will receive $75,000 to develop a new educational Facebook game based on the human rights book Half the Sky.
In addition, the Museum of Fine Art at Spelman College will receive $100,000 to create an augmented reality game about climate change, and the University of Southern California has earned a $40,000 grant to make a video game based on the writings of Henry David Thoreau at Walden Pond.
Finally, the New York-based non-profit organization Let's Breakthrough, Inc has been awarded $75,000 to make a web and mobile game that uses pop culture and music to encourage positive social change.