MOPA Receives Two More Prestigious Federal Grants

Release Date: 
September 20, 2013

NEA and IMLS to Fund New Initiatives

The Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA) recently received grants from both the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for new initiatives focused on engaging audiences with innovative technology. This marks the second straight year that MOPA has won both of these awards and the tenth year since 2001 it has won funding from the NEA.

The new NEA grant, a $30,000 grantthat runs through June of 2015, is being used to support audience-driven innovation. The goal of this initiative is to identify meaningful and effective approaches to engage the public, especially young adults. The scope of the project will include extensive research, data analysis, prototype development and deployment of new technologies.

Similarly, the new IMLS grant, a three-year grant of over $116,000, is focused on engaging teens and young adults from diverse and generally underserved neighborhoods to develop and prototype new learning experiences. According to Joaquin Ortiz, Director of Education at MOPA, “Young people approach learning differently than previous generations. They expect technology to engage them, and want interaction, participation, and reward. At MOPA, we know if we collaborate with them we can create that experience."

 “IMLS recognizes three valuable roles museums have in their communities: putting the learner at the center, serving as community anchors, and serving as stewards of cultural and scientific collections,” said IMLS Director Susan Hildreth.  “It is exciting to see the many ways our newly announced grants further these important museum roles. I congratulate the slate of 2013 museum grant recipients for planning projects that advance innovation in museum practice, lifelong learning, and community engagement.”

At the opposite end of the spectrum from MOPA’s youth initiatives, the two existing grants that began in 2012 both deal with reaching out to senior citizens. The IMLS award is focused on a comprehensive approach to providing increased access and comfort to all museum visitors by directly serving the needs of seniors. With the 2012 NEA funding MOPA is reaching beyond the Museum’s walls to provide hands-on photography courses and off-site lectures that enable senior citizens to develop new technical, aesthetic and critical thinking skills.

“With everything we do, MOPA engages the broadest possible audience. Accessibility for all is part of our mission statement and these grants will help us achieve that,” stated MOPA’s Executive Director, Deborah Klochko. “From interacting with the younger generation through the use of technology to teaching visual literacy to seniors, lifelong learning is at the heart of MOPA’s efforts.”

With the addition of these two new grants, MOPA will build on past successes they have had with interactivity. In 2012, they were one of the first museums to use interactive technology and crowd-sourcing to curate an exhibition. The level of participation and the feedback for their Soapbox! The Audience Speaks exhibition substantiated their theory that this is something their patrons want and solidified their desire to pursue the interactive concept further. The new grants will allow MOPA to do just that.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. 

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit and follow IMLS on Facebook and Twitter.

About the Museum of Photographic Arts

The Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA) is one of the leading museums in the United States devoted exclusively to photography, film and video. Since its founding in 1983, MOPA has been dedicated to collecting, preserving and exhibiting the entire spectrum of the photographic medium. The Museum’s endeavors consistently address cultural, historical and social issues through its exhibitions and educational programs. Located in beautiful Balboa Park, MOPA is dedicated to serving local patrons, tourists and a global community through online access to the Museum’s rich permanent collection. Learn more at

September 12, 2013

Contact: Danny Cappiello
P: 619.238.7559 x203


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