FAQs on The American Rescue Plan and the Arts and Creative Industries

UPDATED 4/29/21

How soon can I apply?
The Arts Endowment is moving quickly to develop guidelines and application materials for the competitive funding process. We anticipate posting guidelines in June for direct grants to nonprofit arts organizations and designated local arts agencies that are officially designated to operate on behalf of their local government. Check the American Rescue Plan page for updates or sign up to receive updates.

Why aren’t funds immediately available? 
The Arts Endowment’s draft ARP guidelines are being reviewed to ensure that the granting program represents good stewardship of funds and equitable program design. 

On April 29, the Endowment announced recommended funding totaling more than $52 million to state and jurisdictional arts agencies and regional arts organizations to award to arts organizations in ;the geographic area they serve. Each of these organizations will determine its own processes and timing for awarding these funds. Please go to the states and regionals page on the Arts Endowment’s website for information on the agencies that serve your area.

Which organizations will be eligible to apply?
To allow for greater access to federal funding, eligible applicants for ARP funding are not limited to previous NEA grantees, as in previous emergency funding programs such as the CARES Act (2020) and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (2009). More information on applicant eligibility will be in the to-be-posted funding guidelines.

Where should I go for updates?
Information will be published as it becomes available on the Endowment’s website at arts.gov/grants and on the American Rescue Plan page. You can also sign up to receive updates or follow the NEA on social media for notifications (Twitter, Facebook).

What should I do to prepare?
Be sure that your organization has registered or renewed/verified its current registration with both Grants.gov and the System for Award Management (SAM.gov) before the application deadline. This process can take time; start now! You can register or renew/verify with Grants.gov, and the System for Award Management (SAM)

My organization won’t be able to reopen for several months and we won’t be offering programs. How will the NEA funding from ARP help me?
Congress has charged the NEA to allow grant recipients to use ARP funding to cover general operating costs. This change marks a significant shift in policy and demonstrates a recognition of the tremendous need in the sector.

Will funding be available to help our organization reopen?
Two sets of guidelines are expected to be available in June—one for arts organizations and one for designated local arts agencies. See the “Why aren’t funds immediately available?” response for more information.

How soon will direct grants be made?
We are not able to answer that question now.

What steps is the Arts Endowment taking to help ensure equity, inclusion and access to ARP funds?
The agency is developing ARP guidelines to reach a broad constituency including organizations that serve populations that are underserved such as those whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by ethnicity, economics, geography, or disability; organizations with small and medium-sized budgets; organizations from rural to urban communities; and organizations that may be applying for federal support through the Arts Endowment for the first time.

Throughout the spring and summer, the agency will build awareness of funding opportunities, especially among organizations that have not previously applied to the agency. Once the guidelines are posted, the agency will provide extensive technical assistance, including guidelines webinars, about how to successfully navigate the federal grantmaking process.

Are there other resources for the arts sector in the American Rescue Plan?
Other arts and culture agencies included in the American Rescue Plan are the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Follow these organizations on their websites and social media for potential grant opportunities in the next few months.

Why were the arts included in the Rescue Plan – isn’t the Rescue Plan about COVID-19 and the economy? 
The arts and culture sector is a major economic driver in the U.S. economy. There are over 673,000 arts businesses in the U.S. (nonprofit AND for-profit per Dun & Bradstreet data) and more than five million artists and arts workers, including 780,000 self-employed artists. Without additional government assistance to these businesses and individuals, the economic and public health crises in this sector could worsen in the months ahead.

Where can I get more information about COVID-19 relief resources and opportunities?
Visit the Endowment’s COVID-19 Resource Page.