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Art Works

Grants to USA Nonprofits, Agencies, and School
Districts to Strengthen Communities through the Arts

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National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)

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Deadline Date:

02/27/18 11:59 PM ET


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Grants starting at $10,000 to USA and territories nonprofit organizations, government agencies, tribes, and school districts for a broad range of arts projects that will enhance local communities. It is strongly recommended that applicants create or renew the required registrations by January 24 and complete the registration process no later than February 6.

Funding is available for the following categories: artist communities, arts education, dance, design, folk and traditional arts, literature, local arts agencies, media arts, museums, music, musical theater, operate, presenting and multidisciplinary works, theater, and visual arts.

"Art Works" refers to three things: the works of art themselves, the ways art works on audiences, and the fact that art is work for the artists and arts professionals who make up the field. Art works by enhancing the value of individuals and communities, by connecting us to each other and to something greater than ourselves, and by empowering creativity and innovation in our society and economy. The arts exist for beauty itself, but they also are an inexhaustible source of meaning and inspiration.

The NEA recognizes these catalytic effects of excellent art, and the key role that arts and design organizations play in revitalizing them. To deepen and extend the arts' value, including their ability to foster new connections and to exemplify creativity and innovation, NEA welcomes projects that:

-Are likely to prove transformative with the potential for meaningful change, whether in the development or enhancement of new or existing art forms, new approaches to the creation or presentation of art, or new ways of engaging the public with art;

-Are distinctive, offering fresh insights and new value for their fields and/or the public through unconventional solutions; and

-Have the potential to be shared and/or emulated, or are likely to lead to other advances in the field.

Beyond encouraging projects that demonstrate these characteristics, NEA wants to achieve the following four objectives through the Art Works category:

-Creation: The creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence,
-Engagement: Public engagement with diverse and excellent art,
-Learning: Lifelong learning in the arts, and
-Livability: The strengthening of communities through the arts.

Items of interest:

-Partnerships can be valuable to the success of projects. While not required, applicants are encouraged to consider partnerships among organizations, both in and outside of the arts, as appropriate to their project.

-American arts and design organizations must be inclusive of the full range of demographics of their communities, as well as individuals of all physical and cognitive abilities. Toward that end, NEA encourages projects for which NEA support is sought to strive for the highest level of inclusiveness in their audiences, programming, artists, governance, and staffing. NEA also welcomes projects that will explicitly address the issue of inclusion.

-NEA is interested in projects that extend the arts to underserved populations, those whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability. This is achieved in part through the use of Challenge America funds.

-NEA is interested in projects, regardless of the size or type of applicant organization, that are of national, regional, or field-wide significance; that tour in several states; or that provide an unusual or especially valuable contribution because of geographic location. This includes local projects that can have significant effects within communities or that are likely to serve as models for a field.

-NEA urges organizations that apply under these guidelines to involve artists in their projects and to provide specific information on the participating artists in their applications.

-NEA is committed to supporting equitable opportunities for all applicants and to investing in diversity in the arts including works of all cultures and periods.

-NEA recognizes that the significance of a project can be measured by excellence and invention, not solely by budget size, institutional stature, or the numbers of people or areas that are reached.

-NEA urges applicants to make accommodations for individuals with disabilities an integral part of their projects.

Under these guidelines, funding is available for projects only. A project may consist of one or more specific events or activities; it may be a part of an applicant's regular season or activities. Organizations that undertake a single short-term project in a year -- a ten-day jazz festival, for example -- could apply for that event, or they could identify certain components (such as the presentation of a key artist and the associated activities) as their project. Describe the activities for which our support is requested, and provide specific information on the artists, productions, venues, distribution plans, etc., that will be involved.

Organizations may apply for any or all phases of a project, from its planning through its implementation. A project does not have to be new. Excellent existing projects can be just as competitive as new activities. Projects do not need to be large. NEA welcomes small projects that can make a difference in a community or field.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 178743

Estimated Size of Grant:

Grants generally will range from $10,000 to $100,000. No grants will be made below $10,000. Grants of $100,000 or more will be made only in rare instances, and only for projects that NEA determines demonstrate exceptional national or regional significance and impact.

In the past few years, well over half of the agency's grants have been for amounts less than $25,000.

Term of Contract:

NEA generally allows a period of performance of up to two years. Many applicants request a grant period somewhere between 12 and 24 months. The two-year period is intended to allow an applicant sufficient time to plan, execute, and close out its project, not to repeat a one-year project for a second year.

The earliest beginning date for the period of performance is January 1, 2019 (First Art Works Deadline) or June 1, 2019 (Second Art Works Deadline).


  • City or township governments
  • County governments
  • Independent school districts
  • Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized)
  • Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
  • Private institutions of higher education
  • Public and State controlled institutions of higher education
  • See RFP and/or Grant Guidelines for full eligibility
  • Special district governments
  • State governments

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3), U.S. organizations; units of state or local government; or federally recognized tribal communities or tribes may apply. Applicants may be arts organizations, local arts agencies, arts service organizations, local education agencies (school districts), and other organizations that can help advance the goals of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Projects may take place in any part of the nation’s 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.

To be eligible, the applicant organization must:

-Meet the National Endowment for the Arts’ "Legal Requirements" including nonprofit, tax-exempt status at the time of application. (All organizations must apply directly on their own behalf. Applications through a fiscal sponsor are not allowed. See more information on fiscal sponsors.)

-Have a three-year history of programming prior to the application deadline.

-Have submitted acceptable Final Report packages by the due date(s) for all National Endowment for the Arts grant(s) previously received.

An organization whose primary purpose is to channel resources (financial, human, or other) to an affiliated organization is not eligible to apply if the affiliated organization submits its own application. This prohibition applies even if each organization has its own 501(c)(3) status. For example, the "Friends of ABC Museum" may not apply if the ABC Museum applies.

All applicants must have a DUNS number ( and be registered with the System for Award Management (SAM, and maintain an active SAM registration until the application process is complete, and should a grant be made, throughout the life of the award.

The designated state and jurisdictional arts agencies (SAAs) and their regional arts organizations (RAOs) are not eligible to apply under the Art Works guidelines. SAAs and RAOs may serve as partners in projects. However, they may not receive NEA funds (except as provided through their designated grant programs), and SAA/RAO costs may not be included as part of the required match. SAAs and RAOs are eligible to apply through the Partnership Agreements guidelines.

Funding is not available for:
-General operating or seasonal support.
-Costs for the creation of new organizations.
-Direct grants to individuals.
-Individual elementary or secondary schools -- charter, private, or public -- directly. Schools may participate as partners in projects for which another eligible organization applies. Local education agencies, school districts, and state and regional education agencies are eligible. If a single school also is a local education agency, as is the case with some charter schools, the school may apply with documentation that supports its status as a local education agency.
-Construction, purchase, or renovation of facilities. (Design fees, preparing space for an exhibit, installation or de-installation of art, and community planning are eligible. However, no National Endowment for the Arts or matching funds may be directed to the costs of physical construction or renovation or toward the purchase costs of facilities or land.)
-Commercial (for-profit) enterprises or activities, including concessions, food, T-shirts, or other items for resale.
-Cash reserves and endowments.
-Subgranting or regranting, except for state arts agencies, regional arts organizations, or local arts agencies that are designated to operate on behalf of their local governments or are operating units of city or county government. (See more information on subgranting.)
-Costs to bring a project into compliance with federal grant requirements. This includes environmental or historical assessments or reviews and the hiring of individuals to write assessments or reviews or to otherwise comply with the National Environmental Policy Act and/or the National Historic Preservation Act.
-Awards to individuals or organizations to honor or recognize achievement.
-Generally, professional training programs or courses in degree-granting institutions.
-Projects that replace arts instruction provided by an arts specialist.
-Literary publishing that does not focus on contemporary literature and/or writers.
-Generally, publication of books, exhibition of works, or other projects by the applicant organization's board members, faculty, or trustees.
-Exhibitions of, and other projects that primarily involve, single, individually-owned, private collections.
-Projects for which the selection of artists or art works is based upon criteria other than artistic excellence and merit. Examples include festivals, exhibitions, or publications for which no jury/editorial judgment has been applied.
-Expenditures related to compensation to foreign nationals and/or travel to or from foreign countries when those expenditures are not in compliance with regulations issued by the U.S. Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control.
-Project costs supported by any other federal funding. This includes federal funding received either directly from a federal agency (e.g., NEH, HUD, National Science Foundation, or an entity that receives federal appropriations such as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting or Amtrak); or indirectly from a pass-through organization such as a state arts agency, regional arts organization, or a grant made to another entity.
-Alcoholic beverages.
-Gifts and prizes, including cash prizes as well as other items (e.g., iPads, gift certificates) with monetary value.
-General miscellaneous or contingency costs.
-Contributions and donations to other entities.
-Fines and penalties, bad debt costs, deficit reduction.
-Social activities such as receptions, parties, galas.
-Marketing expenses that are not directly related to the project.
-Audit costs that are not directly related to a single audit (formerly known as an A-133 audit).
-Rental costs for home office workspace owned by individuals or entities affiliated with the applicant organization.
-Visa costs paid to the U.S. government.
-Costs incurred before the beginning or after the completion of the official period of performance.

Pre-proposal Conference:

The Art Works Guidelines Workshop webinar is scheduled for Wednesday, January 17, 2018, 15:00.

National Endowment for the Arts staff will conduct a guidelines workshop webinar for potential Art Works applicants. An overview presentation will be followed by a Q&A session.

Registration information will be available at a later date.

Workshop dates will be listed here:

More information about the January 17, 2018 workshop may be found here:

Pre-Application Information:

All grants require a nonfederal match of at least 1 to 1.

There are two Art Works application deadlines:

First Art Works Deadline:
-Part 1 - Submit SF-424 to February 15, 2018
-Part 2 - Submit Materials to Applicant Portal: February 20-27, 2018
-Earliest Announcement of Grant Award or Rejection: November 2018
-Earliest Beginning Date for National Endowment for the Arts Period of Performance: January 1, 2019

Note: To allow time to resolve any problems you might encounter, NEA strongly recommends that you register/renew your registration by at least January 24, 2018 and submit the SF-424 to by at least February 6, 2018.

The system must receive your validated and accepted SF-424 application no later than 11:59 PM, Eastern Time, on February 15, 2018.

Second Art Works Deadline:
-Part 1 - Submit SF-424 to July 12, 2018
-Part 2 - Submit Materials to Applicant Portal: July 17-24, 2018
-Earliest Announcement of Grant Award or Rejection: April 2019
-Earliest Beginning Date for National Endowment for the Arts Period of Performance: June 1, 2019

Note: To allow time to resolve any problems you might encounter, NEA strongly recommends that you register/renew your registration by at least June 20, 2018 and submit the SF-424 to by at least July 3, 2018.

NOTE: All Artist Communities and Design applicants must apply at the February 15, 2018, deadline.

In the event of a major emergency (e.g., a hurricane or technological failure), the NEA Chairman may adjust application deadlines for affected applicants. If a deadline is extended for any reason, an announcement will be posted on the NEA website.

Please do not seek information on the status of your application before the announcement date that is listed above.

Applicants are advised to consult discipline-specific program guidelines, eligibility, and deadlines prior to applying:

Artist Communities:

Arts Education:



Folk & Traditional Arts:


Local Arts Agencies:

Media Arts:



Musical Theater:


Presenting & Multidisciplinary Works:


Visual Arts:

Additional Information:

Application Calendar:

Funding Eligibility:

Award Information:

Applicant Eligibility:

Application Review:


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Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

For more information, contact the appropriate staff member:

National Endowment for the Arts
400 7th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20506

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Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

USA Territories: American Samoa (USA)   Guam (USA)   Puerto Rico (USA)   Virgin Islands (USA)   Northern Mariana Islands (USA)