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National Endowment for the Arts Recognizes Video Games as Art

May 8, 2011

While this is specific to America, it does set a wonderful precedent for video games in general. Icrontic reports that the National Endowment for the Arts has added “digital games” as a form of art that will be eligible for grants from the US government.

Here’s the pertinent portion of the text from the link Icrontic got:

The Arts in Media builds on the success of The Arts on Radio and Television. All project types that were previously eligible remain eligible. In addition, the expanded category now includes:

  • All available media platforms such as the Internet, interactive and mobile technologies, digital games, arts content delivered via satellite, as well as on radio and television.
  • Media projects that can be considered works of art.
I could think of a couple of ways this could work out, but Icrontic already mentioned some of the most important ones:

What does this actually mean for developers? It means that if a developer wants to create games for people, doesn’t want to charge money for them, but still wants to be able to eat, there is an option. One can apply for a grant, and potentially get paid by the government to be a creator, just as painters and sculptors have been able to do for many years.

And for the public it means that we may begin to see some video games of the ‘public’ works’ variety, games which are released for the world to enjoy, which may have good production values, but which are also not part of the commercial video games world. What these games will look like, we have no idea at this point, as it’s a completely new thing. The projects that receive funding are chosen by the agency, and there are not many guidelines or descriptions for what kinds of projects will be accepted.

Of course, that means that while grants are available, video game proposals may still not get chosen. The point, remains, however, that it is a step towards having society see video games as a new form of art, and that should give us pause.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 8, 2011 20:39

    It’s been a long road from the ‘typical’ image of games being anti-social to one where they can be considered mainstream (facebook) and now, works of art. Very nice.

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