Grant Announcement

The Weatherspoon Art Museum to Receive $30,000 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts


The Weatherspoon Art Museum at UNC Greensboro is delighted to announce that it has been approved for a $30,000 NEA Art Works grant to support the exhibition To the Hoop | Basketball and Contemporary Art. This winter and spring the Weatherspoon Art Museum explores basketball’s many intersections with contemporary art and culture. To the Hoop offers visitors—basketball fans and gallery enthusiasts alike—an opportunity to consider our world through the overlapping lenses of sport and art. The exhibition is organized by Dr. Emily Stamey, Curator of Exhibitions.

Overall, the National Endowment for the Arts has approved 1,187 grants totaling $27.3 million in the first round of fiscal year 2020 funding to support arts projects in every state in the nation, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

The Art Works funding category supports projects that focus on public engagement with, and access to, various forms of excellent art across the nation; the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence; learning in the arts at all stages of life; and the integration of the arts into the fabric of community life.

“The arts are at the heart of our communities, connecting people through shared experiences and artistic expression,” said Arts Endowment chairman Mary Anne Carter. “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support projects like the Weatherspoon’s To the Hoop | Basketball and Contemporary Art exhibition.”

WAM director Nancy Doll adds that, “To the Hoop aptly supports our mission and provides us with the opportunity to connect with multiple audiences. It also underscores our interest in developing exhibitions that are unique, visually stimulating, and intellectually satisfying.”

From its storied invention in 1891 by Dr. James Naismith as a recreational activity for “incorrigible” youth, to its multibillion-dollar industry today, basketball has uniquely captured America’s imagination—and stolen North Carolina’s heart.

The game’s golden era of the late 1970s through the 1990s coincided with both an explosion of the contemporary art market and with artistic shifts towards addressing so many of the social issues—race, gender, economics—that readily surface in basketball’s widespread popularity. And, basketball’s distinct visual qualities make it an apt subject for artists: unlike a baseball concealed in a glove or a football buried under a pileup, a basketball is readily seen, and the athletes wear relatively minimal uniforms on an indoor court where cameras easily capture their expressions as they soar towards elevated goals.

To the Hoop explores these myriad facets of the game by presenting the work of the following artists:

Gina Adams | Daniel Arsham | Bill Bamberger | Janet Biggs | Mark Bradford | Kendell Carter | André Leon Gray | David Hammons | David Hilliard | David Huffman | Brian Jungen | Jeff Koons | Suzanne McClelland | Esmaa Mohamoud | New Craft Artists in Action (NCAA) | Paul Pfeiffer | Joyce J. Scott | Lorna Simpson | Victor Solomon | Hank Willis Thomas | Nari Ward

The exhibition is accompanied by a scholarly catalogue distributed by UNC Press and including a foreword by UNCG Head Men’s Basketball Coach Wes Miller. In conjunction with the exhibition, the Weatherspoon will present a lively roster of programs, including an in-depth collaboration with the Guilford County Public Schools. On view as the city of Greensboro hosts both the ACC and NCAA basketball tournaments this March, To the Hoop provides an opportunity for a breadth of campus and community connections. Following its run at the Weatherspoon, To the Hoop will travel to the Ulrich Museum of Art at Wichita State University.

The exhibition and related programs have been generously supported by the Jane and John Ellison Publications Endowment; the National Endowment for the Arts; Sherry Sherrill; the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources; Seymour and Carol Cole Levin; Gail Boulton; the Greensboro Convention and Visitors Bureau; Barbara Kretzer; ArtsGreensboro; and Robert and Leslie Ketner.

For more information on projects included in the Arts Endowment grant announcement, visit

Image: Paul Pfeiffer, Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (18), 2004, Fujiflex digital C-print, 48 x 60 in. Courtesy of the artist and Paula Cooper Gallery, New York. © Paul Pfeiffer.

About the Weatherspoon Art Museum

The Weatherspoon Art Museum at UNC Greensboro enriches the lives of diverse individuals and connects multiple communities, both on and off campus, by presenting, interpreting, and collecting modern and contemporary art. In recognizing its paramount role of public service, the Weatherspoon fosters an appreciation of the ability of art to positively impact lives.

The Weatherspoon Art Museum at UNC Greensboro was founded by Gregory Ivy in 1941 and is the earliest of any art facilities within the UNC system. The museum was founded as a resource for the campus, community, and region and its early leadership developed an emphasis—maintained to this day—on presenting and acquiring modern and contemporary works of art. A 1950 bequest from the renowned collection of Claribel and Etta Cone, which included prints and bronzes by Henri Matisse and other works on paper by American and European modernists, helped to establish the Weatherspoon’s permanent collection.

In 1989, the museum moved into its present location in The Anne and Benjamin Cone Building designed by the architectural firm Mitchell Giurgula. The museum has six galleries and a sculpture courtyard with over 17,000 square feet of exhibition space. The American Alliance of Museums accredited the Weatherspoon in 1995 and renewed its accreditation in 2005 and 2015.

Collections + Exhibitions
The permanent collection of the Weatherspoon Art Museum is considered to be one of the foremost of its kind in the Southeast. It represents all major art movements from the beginning of the 20th century to the present. Among the nearly 6,200 works in the collection are pieces by such prominent figures as Henry Ossawa Tanner, Edward Weston, Joseph Stella, David Smith, Jackson Pollock, Elizabeth Catlett, Louise Nevelson, Gordon Parks, Sol LeWitt, Robert Mangold, Cindy Sherman, Adrian Piper, Betye Saar, Amy Silman, Nick Cave, Jennifer Steinkamp, and Sanford Biggers. The museum regularly lends to major exhibitions nationally and internationally.

The Weatherspoon also is known for its dynamic exhibition program. Through a lively annual calendar of exhibitions and a multi-disciplinary educational program for audiences of all ages, the museum provides an opportunity for visitors to consider artistic, cultural, and social issues of our time—enriching the life of our university, community, and region.

UNC Greensboro
Led by Chancellor Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr., UNC Greensboro is 1 of only 59 doctoral institutions recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for both higher research activity and community engagement. Founded in 1891 and one of the original three UNC System institutions, UNC Greensboro is one of the most diverse universities in NC with 20,000+ students, and 3,000+ faculty and staff members from 90+ nationalities. With 17 Division I athletic teams, 85 undergraduate degrees in over 125 areas of study, as well as 74 master’s and 32 doctoral programs, UNC Greensboro is consistently recognized nationally among the top universities for academic excellence and value. For additional information, please visit and follow UNCG on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Weatherspoon Art Museum
UNC Greensboro
Spring Garden and Tate Streets, PO Box 26170
Greensboro, NC 27402-6170, (336) 334-5770,

For more information or press images, contact:
Loring Mortensen, (336) 256-1451,