The National Endowment for the Arts recognizes and supports a wide range of music, from classical to contemporary to America's indigenous jazz. It supports both performing ensembles and music presenting institutions including chamber music ensembles, choruses, early music programs, jazz ensembles, music festivals, and symphony orchestras.

Organizations of all types and sizes may apply for a variety of music production, presentation, and service projects. The Arts Endowment is particularly interested in innovative presentation methods and the development of skills that can help organizations attract new audiences for music. In addition to projects that focus on the standard repertoire, the Arts Endowment encourages the commissioning and performance of new American works.  


Art Works applications will be accepted under two deadlines: February 20, 2014, and July 24, 2014. Apply under the deadline 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


  • Commissions, residencies, and workshops with artists; development and performances of new works.
  • Innovative creation of music that draws upon a wide range of contemporary resources, emerging practices, and/or technology.


  • Premieres and performances of new musical works.
  • Public presentations and performances of artistically excellent works.
  • Performance and educational engagements by NEA Jazz Masters that honor their bodies of work, history, or style; provide understanding of their significance to jazz; and broaden audience awareness of the original American art form.
  • Innovative musical presentations that juxtapose disparate works or genres and engender new connections.
  • Residency activities where the primary purpose is public engagement with art.
  • Services that reach a broad constituency of music organizations, musicians, music educators, and administrators. This may include workshops, conferences, publications, professional development, technical assistance, networks, or online resources.


  • Professional artistic development and training programs for musicians such as conducting, mentorship, and career development.

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


  • Domestic touring.
  • Outreach projects that involve diverse communities or that reach new audiences.
  • Innovative methods of engaging audiences, including collaborations with other organizations, through new models that have the potential to maximize resources and/or the impact on the audience, artists, or the field.
  • Recordings of works by American composers.
  • Technology projects such as online resources and libraries which provide public access to musical works.
  • Documentation, preservation, and archival projects.



  • Music festivals, performances, and other activities in public spaces that are intended to foster community interaction and/or enhance the unique characteristics of a community.

(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 Music staff and are reviewed by a diverse group of experts in the music 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.


Organizations with names that begin A through L: Court Burns, burnsc@arts.govor 202/682-5590

Organizations with names that begin M through Z: Anya Nykyforiak, nykyfora@arts.govor 202/682-5487

Jazz Projects: Katja von Schuttenbach, or 202/682-5711