ART WORKS Guidelines: Local Arts Agencies

Across the United States, thousands of Local Arts Agencies (LAAs) provide a wide range of programs and services to help support and enable arts and culture at the local level.  LAAs are intermediaries, serving artists and arts organizations, local residents, visitors and other partners.  No two LAAs are alike ─ whether they serve a single village or town, a large city, county, or a multi-county region.  Some LAAs are departments of local government, others are nonprofit organizations, and still others are hybrids of the two.

Characteristics: LAAs may present and/or produce arts programming, commission and manage public art, administer grant programs, provide technical assistance to artists and arts organizations, and guide cultural planning efforts.  Still others may own, manage, and/or operate cultural facilities and be actively engaged in community development, and partner with entities in tourism, social services, public education, housing, economic development, and public safety.  All strive to enhance the quality of life in their communities by working to increase public access to the arts.  You will also find national and statewide arts service organizations in the LAA portfolio that work primarily with a network of LAAs.

LAAs may apply for “programming” projects or for “services to the field” projects at either Art Works deadline.  All Art Works applications submitted by an LAA will be reviewed with other Local Arts Agencies.  There are only two exceptions: Projects that have a Folk & Traditional Arts focus will be reviewed under Folk & Traditional Arts, and projects with a K-12 standards-based arts education, professional development, or collective impact focus will be reviewed under Arts Education.

Deadlines

Art Works applications will be accepted under two deadlines: February 19, 2015, and July 23, 2015. All project types are accepted under both deadlines. Apply with the NEA objective (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 objective that is most relevant to your project in your application and on the application form.

February 19, 2015, Application Deadline
January 1, 2016, Earliest Beginning Date for Arts Endowment Period of Performance

July 23, 2015, Application Deadline
June 1, 2016, Earliest Beginning Date for Arts Endowment Period of Performance

Creation

  • Artist commissions, including those for public art.
  • Artist residencies where the primary purpose is to create new art.
  • Creation, commissioning, and presentation of new work in a national park or in an adjacent community.
  • Projects using technology, media, new models, or other strategies in the creation of new work, including collaborations between the fields of art and science.

Engagement

at increase access to the arts or works of art, including arts/science collaborations.

  • Coordinated services including marketing campaigns, electronic box office services, and audience development activities.
  • 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 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.
    • 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.
  • Festivals and other events in a national park or adjacent community (this may include performances, lecture-demonstrations, and workshops).
  • 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.
    • 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 objective.)

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 may submit 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 objective 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 required 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.

Contact

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