CDM to Receive First-Ever $100,000 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose to Receive First-Ever $100,000 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

The award is part of the American Rescue Plan

Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose has been approved to receive an American Rescue Plan grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) that was created to help the arts and cultural sector recover from the pandemic. This is the first award from the NEA for the venerable children’s museum who is recommended to receive $100,000. The funding will restore an arts specialist position for the museum’s popular performing and visual arts programs for young children.

“Young children have suffered during this pandemic, and the arts offer youngsters a way to make sense of the world by expressing themselves through their own innate creativity,” said Marilee Jennings, executive director of Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose. “I’m thrilled that this award will help us rebuild our visual and performing arts for our littlest artists back to where the programs were before the pandemic.”

“Our nation’s arts sector has been among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Endowment for the Arts’ American Rescue Plan funding will help arts organizations, such as Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose, rebuild and reopen,” said Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson, chair of the NEA. “The arts are crucial in helping America’s communities heal, unite, and inspire, as well as essential to our nation’s economic recovery.” 

The arts play an essential role in the museum’s guiding principles of inspiring creativity, curiosity, and lifelong learning. An intentional three-prong approach drives the robust visual and performing arts programming. Number one: Young children observe professional artists at the peak of their skills; Number two: Children witness the work of their peers; and Number three: Youngsters are invited to participate in art-making themselves.

The museum’s programs reflect lively music, film, and dance from the local Latino, Chinese, Indian, Vietnamese, Native Americans, and Jewish cultures, as well as traditional art forms like professional ballet, opera, and Broadway musicals. These, along with painting, sculpting, drawing, and working with clay, are a few of the many varied art forms the museum has offered over the years.

Organizations may use this funding to save jobs and to fund operations and facilities, health and safety supplies, and marketing and promotional efforts to encourage attendance and participation. In total, the NEA will award grants totaling $57,750,000 to 567 arts organizations in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Washington, DC.

The American Rescue Plan was signed into law in March 2021 when the NEA was provided $135 million for the arts sector. The funding for organizations is the third installment providing more than $57.7 million for arts organizations. In April 2021, the NEA announced $52 million (40 percent) in ARP funding would be allocated to 62 state, jurisdictional, and regional arts organizations for regranting through their respective programs. The second installment in November 2021 allocated $20.2 million to 66 local arts agencies for sub granting to local artists and art organizations. 

About Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose

With over 150 interactive exhibits and programs, Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose is one of the largest museums of its kind in the nation. Since opening its doors in 1990, the award-winning museum has welcomed over 9.6 million visitors and offers new exhibits each year that respond to children's diverse educational needs. In 2017, Bill’s BackyardBridge to Nature opened, doubling the museum’s exhibit space with a half-acre of nature exploration and science and environmental education. The striking, 52,000 square foot purple building was designed by Mexico City-based architect Ricardo Legorreta. Encompassing the broad themes of community, connections, and creativity, hands-on exhibits invite self-directed, open-ended explorations.  For more information, visit

For more information on the NEA’s American Rescue Plan grants, including the full list of arts organizations funded in this announcement, visit