Lowell, Massachusetts – The National Endowment for the Arts and the National Park Service announced $797,500 in support of support 33 grants in 16 states, including an award of $35,000 to the Lowell Festival Foundation for the 2016 Lowell Folk Festival.

“Imagine Your Parks” is a new grant initiative from the National Endowment for the Arts to support projects in which the arts are used to engage people with memorable places and landscapes of the National Park System.

NEA Chairman Jane Chu said, “As the National Endowment for the Arts celebrates its 50th anniversary and the National Park Service observes its centennial, we want people to remember that our cultural and natural treasures are part of what makes America great. ‘Imagine Your Park’ projects from the Grand Canyon in Arizona, to downtown Atlanta, Georgia will inspire the imagination of people across the country. We are proud to support projects from organizations like the Lowell Festival Foundation to offer more opportunities to engage in the arts.”

“The ‘Imagine Your Parks’ grants build on a strong tradition of the arts in national parks, from the first stunning photographs of Yosemite and Yellowstone more than a century ago, to artists-in-residence and other programs in parks today,” said NPS Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “Inviting a new generation of artists to connect with Lowell National Historical Park is a great way to celebrate the National Park Service Centennial, and to inspire more Americans of all backgrounds to connect with these remarkable places.”

“Lowell National Historical Park is pleased that the Lowell Festival Foundation has been awarded this generous grant for the 30th Lowell Folk Festival,” said park superintendent Celeste Bernardo. “The funding will not only help us celebrate the NPS Centennial, it will help us engage master traditional artists and the public in this special place that is such an important part of the American experience.”

Craig Gates, the Executive Director of the Lowell Festival Foundation, was “thrilled and extremely honored that the National Endowment for the Arts saw fit to choose the Lowell Folk Festival, again as one of the 2016 grant recipients. The fact that the NEA is awarding us $35,000 shows how much the Lowell Folk Festival is revered in this country! It is a great success story in that it has lasted for almost 30 years and has been able to keep admission “FREE” for the three day cultural event! We are hoping all of our past sponsors and donors will follow the NEA’s lead and increase their support as we celebrate this milestone in 2016!”

The Lowell Folk Festival, with continuous music on five outdoor stages, is slated to take place on July 29 – 31, 2016 in historic downtown Lowell, Massachusetts. A family friendly event, the Lowell Folk Festival has presented an international array of traditional folk music, ethnic foods, folk craft demonstrations, craft artisans, and children’s activities to enthusiastic regional, national, and international audiences for the past 29 years. The Lowell Folk Festival is committed to presenting these artists in a way that allows a large cross section of people to experience and share rich traditional culture. It is the longest running “FREE” folk festival in the nation.