Crystal Alberts awarded National Endowment for the Arts grant to support UND Writers Conference

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $82 million to fund local arts projects across the country in the NEA’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2017. Included in this announcement is an Art Works award of $10,000 to Crystal Alberts for the 49th Annual UND Writers Conference, “Truth and Lies,” to be held March 21-23, 2018. The NEA received 1,728 Art Works applications and will make 1,029 grants ranging from $10,000 to $100,000.

“The arts reflect the vision, energy, and talent of America’s artists and arts organizations,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support organizations, such as the UND Writers Conference, in serving their communities by providing excellent and accessible arts experiences.”

“We are honored to receive another award from the NEA,” said Alberts, Director of the UND Writers Conference and Associate Professor of English. “The NEA’s ongoing support not only helps to make sure that our proud Conference tradition continues, but their past support has also enabled us to build our digital collection, which would not have been possible otherwise.” This is the fifth NEA grant that Alberts has been awarded since 2010.

Since its founding in 1970, the UND Writers Conference has brought well over 300 of the most influential authors in contemporary literature to Grand Forks, including thirty-five Pulitzer Prize winners and four Nobel Laureates. It continues to offer completely free and open access to the literary arts to those at UND, in the Red River Valley, and beyond, attracting around 1,700 attendees over the three-day Conference each year. “The Writers Conference is an important cultural literary event that provides the Grand Forks and UND communities a unique opportunity to meet, engage, and learn from talented authors and artists they otherwise would not have access to” said Debbie Storrs, Dean of the UND College of Arts & Sciences,

This year’s theme, “Truth and Lies,” intends to carry on the tradition. In a culture where the “Truth-o-Meter” is trademarked and it is common for those in power to receive regular “pants on fire” or “four Pinocchio” ratings, this year’s Conference will feature authors and artists whose work incorporates historical research or that is designed to comment on events, past and present. The hope is that this theme will spark lively discussions about the state of our cultural conversations, as well as create opportunities to talk about what role, if any, the arts play in revealing the “truth” about our world.

To join the Twitter conversation about this announcement, please use #NEASpring17. For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, go to

For more information on the UND Writers Conference, go to