May 7, 2015

Game Innovation Lab Receives Two NEA Grants

Tracy Fullerton, IMGD chair

The Game Innovation Lab at the School of Cinematic Arts has received two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) for projects directed by Interactive Media & Games Division (IMGD) chair, Tracy Fullerton.

A $40,000 grant award will go to the further development of Walden, A Game, an interactive experience that gives players the opportunity to explore the natural world of Thoreau’s Walden 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.

In making the grant announcement on May 6th, NEA Chairman Jane Chu said, “The NEA is committed to advancing learning, fueling creativity, and celebrating the arts in cities and towns across the United States. 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 given out by the NEA this funding round that total $74.3 million nationwide. Through its grant-making to thousands of nonprofits each year, the NEA promotes opportunities for people in communities across America to experience the arts and exercise their creativity.

Still from Walden, a Game

 “Making games is my way of understanding the answers to questions that I have about the world,” said Fullerton. “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 excitingthat the NEA is supporting this kind of artistic inquiring in the realm of games as art.”

For more information on other projects included in the grant announcement, please see: