ART WORKS: Grant Program Description

We Fund

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 Arts Endowment 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. The Arts Endowment welcomes small projects that can make a difference in a community or field.

We Do Not Fund

Under these guidelines, funding is not available for:

  • General operating support.
  • Seasonal support.
  • Costs for the creation of new organizations.
  • Direct grants to individuals. (The Arts Endowment encourages applicant organizations to involve individual artists in all possible ways.)
  • 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 the local education agency, as is the case with some charter schools, the school may apply with documentation that supports its status as the local education agency.
  • Construction, purchase, or renovation of facilities. (Predevelopment, design fees, and community planning are eligible. However, no Arts Endowment 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.
  • 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 (and their match) to bring a project into compliance with federal grant requirements.
  • Awards to individuals or organizations to honor or recognize achievement.
  • Generally, professional training in degree-granting institutions.
  • Work toward academic degrees and the pursuit of academic careers.
  • Projects that replace arts instruction provided by a classroom teacher or an arts specialist.
  • Literary publishing that does not focus on contemporary literature and/or writers.
  • Generally, publication of books or exhibition of works by the applicant organization's staff, 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 that are related to compensation to foreign nationals and artists traveling to or from foreign countries when those expenditures are not in compliance with regulations issued by the U.S. Treasury Department Office of Foreign Asset Control. For further information, see http://www.treas.gov/offices/enforcement/ofac/ or contact the Arts Endowment's Grants & Contracts Office at grants@arts.gov.
  • Project costs that are supported by any other federal funds or their match.

Additional information on unallowable costs is included in the instructions for the Project Budget form.

Guiding Principles

The guiding principle of "Art Works" is at the center of everything we do at the NEA. "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.

In addition, the Arts Endowment:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Is committed to supporting equitable opportunities for all applicants and to investing in diversity in the arts including works of all cultures and periods.
  • 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.
  • Urges applicants to make accommodations for individuals with disabilities an integral part of their projects.