ART WORKS: Local Arts Agencies

Organizations referred to as arts councils, departments of cultural affairs, or arts commissions make up the field of local arts agencies (LAAs). LAAs can be private, nonprofit entities; others are public municipal, county, or regional agencies that operate in cooperation with mayors and city managers. In addition, the LAA field includes statewide assemblies and cultural service organizations that work specifically with local arts agencies in the coordination of cultural leadership (but only for projects that will predominantly serve LAAs).

Often LAAs make grant awards directly to both artists and nonprofit organizations working in a variety of artistic disciplines. Nearly all LAAs present programming to the public, manage cultural facilities, provide services to artists and arts organizations, and facilitate community cultural planning. In accomplishing this work, LAAs collaborate with other governmental departments (economic development, parks and recreation, libraries, and local education agencies/school districts), as well as with convention and visitor bureaus.

Deadlines

Art Works applications will be accepted under two deadlines: February 20, 2014, and July 24, 2014. All project types are accepted under both deadlines. Apply with the NEA outcome (in bold below) and project example that most closely corresponds to the primary focus of your proposed project. You will be asked to indicate the outcome that is most relevant to your project in your application and on the application form.

February 20, 2014, Application Deadline
January 1, 2015, Earliest Beginning Date for Arts Endowment Period of Support

July 24, 2014, Application Deadline
June 1, 2015, Earliest Beginning Date for Arts Endowment Period of Support

Creation

  • Artist commissions, including those for public art.
  • Artist residencies where the primary purpose is to create new art.
  • Innovative projects using technology, media, new models, or other strategies in the creation of new work.

Engagement

  • Coordinated services including marketing campaigns, electronic box office services, and audience development activities.
  • Innovative strategies to engage new audiences.
  • Services to artists and arts organizations. This may include conferences, convenings, workshops, technical assistance, leadership training, and other professional development opportunities for artists and arts administrators. 
  • Subgranting for service activities on behalf of a local arts agency's constituents. To be eligible, a local arts agency must be a unit of city or county government or designated to operate on behalf of its local government. In addition to the "Applicant Eligibility" section for all Grants for Arts Projectsapplicants, applicants for subgranting projects must have a three-year history of subgranting in the arts prior to the application deadline.

    Designated local arts agencies that will subgrant must:

    • Require their grantees to provide DUNS numbers before a grant can be made.
    • In certain instances, report grants of $25,000 or more in federal funds to the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act Subaward Reporting System (FSRS).
  • Performing arts events, readings, screenings, broadcasts, and visual arts exhibitions.
  • Innovative projects to increase access to the arts or works of art.
  • Subgranting for programming activities on behalf of a local arts agency's constituents. To be eligible, a local arts agency must be a unit of city or county government or designated to operate on behalf of its local government. In addition to the "Applicant Eligibility" section for all Art Works applicants, applicants for subgranting projects must have a three-year history of subgranting in the arts prior to the application deadline.

    Designated local arts agencies that will subgrant must:

    • Require their grantees to provide DUNS numbers before a grant can be made.
    • In certain instances, report grants of $25,000 or more in federal funds to the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act Subaward Reporting System (FSRS).
  • Documentation and conservation of public and monumental art.

Learning

  • Artist residencies where the primary purpose is the acquisition of knowledge or skills in the arts.
  • Education and related activities for youth, adults, intergenerational groups, and schools. (If your project is for youth, see " Choosing the Right Discipline for Youth Projects" to help you in your discipline selection.)

Livability

  • The development of plans for cultural and/or creative sector growth including cultural assessments, community-wide cultural planning, and specific-issue cultural plans.
  • The development of artist live/work spaces.
  • The enhancement of public spaces through commissioning and/or installation of art works.

    (Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact staff if they are considering Livability as an outcome.)

Project Reporting and Evaluation

We ask all applicants to define what they would like to achieve, how they will evaluate the degree to which it is achieved, and, upon completion of the project, what they have learned from their experiences. Such feedback need not entail large-scale or expensive evaluation efforts. You should do what is feasible and appropriate for your organization and project. When a grant is completed, you must submit a final report and answer questions on your achievements and how these were determined. Arts Education grantees who apply for a Direct Learning Grant will be required to describe the assessment methods used to assess learning, and they will be required to submit any tools used to assess learning with their Final Report. (Please note that assessment tools may be shared publicly. If your tools are proprietary and have copyrights or trademarks attached, you will be asked to note that in your application and Final Report.) Before applying, please review the reporting requirements for the outcome that will be selected for the proposed project: Creation, Engagement, Learning, or Livability.

Beyond the reporting requirements for all grantees, selected Art Works grantees will be asked to assist in the collection of additional information that can help the NEA determine the degree to which agency objectives were achieved. You may be contacted to provide evidence of project accomplishments including, but not limited to, work samples, community action plans, cultural asset studies, programs, reviews, relevant news clippings, and playbills. Please remember that you are required to maintain project documentation for three years following submission of your final reports.

Application Review

This category uses the agency's traditional method of application review. Applications are submitted to the Local Arts Agencies staff and are reviewed by a diverse group of experts in the local arts agencies field.

Applications are reviewed on the basis of artistic excellence and artistic merit. For more detailed information on how artistic excellence and artistic merit will be evaluated, see the "Review Criteria." You can find additional information in the "Application Review" section of the "Frequently Asked Questions." See the "Application Calendar" for information on when we expect to announce grant awards and rejections.

Contacts

Local Arts Agencies Specialist: Dinah Walls, wallsd@arts.govor 202/682-5586