United States Mint Call for Artists: Seeking Artists to Design United States Coins and Medals

How to Prepare and Submit an Application

Application Deadline: January 10, 2014

These application guidelines provide all of the information that you need to submit an application. We urge you to read these instructions in their entirety before you begin the application process. You should keep these instructions open in a window in your computer as they contain helpful links to information that you will need as you complete your application.


Electronic application through Grants.gov is MANDATORY.

  1. Register with Grants.gov. Registration is a one-time process, which can take a day or more to complete.
  2. Verify that you have a version of Adobe Reader that is supported by Grants.gov installed on your computer before you download your new application package from Grants.gov.
  3. Submit your application no later than 10 days prior to the deadline to give yourself ample time to resolve any problems that you might encounter. You take a significant risk by waiting until the day of the deadline to submit.
    • The Grants.gov Contact Center is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. (Phone: 1-800-518-4726.)
    • Submit your application outside of Grants.gov’s hours of heaviest usage, generally 12 noon to 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time.
    • The Arts Endowment will not accept late applications.
    • Applicants are responsible for submitting a complete application. Incomplete applications will be rejected without panel review.

The Grants.gov system must receive your validated and accepted application no later than 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time, on January 10, 2014.

Register with Grants.gov [Back to Top]

NOTE: Applicants are required to change their Grants.gov passwords every 60 days. See www.grants.gov for more details on requirements for Usernames and Passwords.

It is your responsibility to create and maintain a registration with Grants.gov. Registration is a one-time process, which can take a day or more to complete. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE DAY OF THE APPLICATION DEADLINE TO REGISTER to allow time to resolve any issues that may arise. Failure to comply with this requirement may result in your inability to submit your application.

To register, click: Individual Registration. You will be asked to provide the Funding Opportunity Number of the grant. Enter 2014NEA03MINT. If you have problems with registration contact Grants.gov at 1-800-518-4726, e-mail support@grants.gov, or consult the information posted on the Grants.gov website at Help. The Grants.gov Contact Center is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Maintain documentation (with dates) of your efforts to register before the deadline.

You do not need to complete the registration process to download the application package and begin to prepare your material (see below). However, you will need your Grants.gov Username and Password that you obtain during the registration process to submit your application. Remember to store your Grants.gov Username and Password in a location that is easy for you to access so that when you are ready to upload your application, you will have that information readily accessible.

Download the Application Package [Back to Top]

  1. Verify your software.

    You must have a version of Adobe Reader that is supported by Grants.gov installed on your computer before you download your application package from Grants.gov. Non-compatible versions of Adobe Reader or other Adobe products will lead to errors and prevent you from submitting your application. If more than one computer will be involved in the preparation of the application package, ensure that the same version of Adobe Reader is used.

    Please go to "Download Software" to see the compatible versions of Adobe Reader or to download and install Adobe Reader. You may test your version of Adobe Reader using Grants.gov Adobe Versioning Test Application Package.

  2. Access the application package on Grants.gov by clicking on the link below:


    [Funding Opportunity Number: 2014NEA03MINT]

    This will bring you to the "Selected Grant Applications for Download" screen.

    Download the application package and follow the instructions below. It is not necessary to download the instructions from Grants.gov as you will merely be directed back to the instructions in this document. Therefore, we recommend keeping these instructions open in a separate window on your computer screen as your prepare and submit the application.

    If you have a compatible version of Adobe Reader and are still experiencing difficulty downloading the application package, try using a different Internet browser.

  3. When you download the application package, the Grants.gov "Grant Application Package" screen will open. Click on the "Save" button and save the application package to a location on your computer or network where you can find it readily. Save your application each time you work on it. You will get the message: "The File already exists. Replace existing file?" Click "Yes" to ensure that you always save the most recent version. Remember to save your work regularly. After you've downloaded the application package, you are responsible for saving your work. You are not working in "the cloud" and anything not saved by the applicant will be lost.

  4. On the first page of the Grants.gov application package, you will see a field for "Application Filing Name." Enter your legal name here.

  5. You can access each Mandatory form by clicking on it OR you can scroll down your screen and you will come to each form in succession.

    The forms are:

    • Application for Federal Assistance SF 424 - Individual Form

    • Attachments Form

Submit Your Electronic Application [Back to Top]

  1. Check the size of your electronic application. The total size should not exceed 10 MB.

  2. To begin the submission process, click the Save & Submit button. [This button will not become active (and turn from light to dark gray) until you have saved your application with all required fields completed. Clicking this button will prompt you to save your application package one last time. When asked if you want to replace the existing file, click "Yes." You will then be reconnected to Grants.gov and the Internet.] You will be prompted to provide your Grants.gov Username and Password that you obtained during registration. Remember to keep this information readily accessible so that you can quickly find it when prompted.

  3. Click the "Login" button. This will bring you to the "Application Submission Verification and Signature" screen, which provides a summary of the Funding Opportunity for which you are applying. Click the "Sign and Submit Application" button to complete the process. Be certain that you are satisfied with your application before you click this button. No revisions are possible through Grants.gov once it is submitted.

    If you have difficulty submitting, go to Adobe Reader Error Messages or Applicant Resources for several tools and documents to help you.

  4. Ensure that your application was validated and accepted by the Grants.gov system. Go to Track My Application to track the validation and progress of your application submission through Grants.gov. After the Arts Endowment retrieves your application from Grants.gov, log in to the Grants.gov system by using your Username and Password to receive your Agency Tracking Number (this will be the Arts Endowment-assigned application number).

Additional Help

For additional help on how to use Grants.gov, please see the Grants.gov website at Help. You also can send e-mail to the Grants.gov Contact Center at support@grants.gov or call them at 1-800-518-4726, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

For specific help on how to complete your application, please review the instructions in these guidelines or direct all inquiries to the United States Mint by e-mail at AIP@usmint.treas.gov.

Technical questions about submitting your information or using the online application system should be directed to AIP@arts.gov.


For a complete application, follow Steps 1-4 below

A complete application consists of:

Applications that are determined to be incomplete will be rejected without panel review.

Step 1: Fill out the Application for Federal Assistance SF 424 - Individual [Back to Top]

NOTE: All asterisked (*) items and yellow fields on this form are required and must be completed before you will be able to submit the form. Do not type in all capital letters when completing the form. Enter information directly into the form. Do not copy from an old application package or another document and paste into the form.

1. Name of Federal Agency: Pre-populated.

2. Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number: Pre-populated.

3. Date Received: This will be filled automatically with the date that you submit your application; leave blank.

4. Funding Opportunity Number: Pre-populated.

5. Applicant Information:
a. Name and Contact Information:
All transactions must be made using your legal name. Be sure to enter your e-mail address (you will be notified via e-mail). Contact information must be valid through February 2014. You must notify us of any changes.

b. Address:
Enter information for your permanent address. Information must be valid through February 2014.

Use Street 1 for your street address or post office box number, whichever is used for your U.S. Postal Service mailing address. Street 2 is not a required field and should be used only when a Suite or Room Number or other similar information is part of your address. Do not use Street 2 to provide a second address.

In the Zip/Postal Code box, enter the full 9-digit zip code (00000-0000) that was assigned by the U.S. Postal Service. If you do not know your full zip code, you may look it up at www.usps.com/zip4/.

c. Citizenship Status: You must be a citizen of the United States.

d. Congressional District of Applicant: Enter the Congressional District that corresponds to your permanent address. Use the following format: 2 character State Abbreviation-3 character District Number. For example, if you live in the 5th Congressional District of California, enter "CA-005." If your state has a single At-Large Representative or your territory has a single Delegate, enter your 2 character state/territory abbreviation and "-000." If you need help determining your district, please visit the House of Representatives website at www.house.gov and use the "Find Your Representative" tool.

6. Project Information:
a. Project Title: Leave blank.

b. Project Description: In two or three sentences, briefly describe your work as a professional artist or illustrator.

Please note:

This field on the form has a character limit of 1,000. Even if you have less than 1,000 characters, Grants.gov may translate special characters (e.g., apostrophes) in a way that will cause your application to be rejected. This can happen if you copy from an old application package or another document and paste into the form. We strongly encourage you to write a succinct project description and double check the number of characters.

c. Proposed Project Start Date/End Date: Enter February 28, 2014, for your beginning date. Enter April 30, 2014, as your end date.

7. Signature Block:

By clicking the "I Agree" box, you are certifying that your application is true and correct to the best of your knowledge and that you are in compliance with the requirements that can be found in the Terms and Conditions section of these guidelines [link to Terms and Conditions]. The "Signature" and "Date Signed" boxes will be populated by Grants.gov upon submission of the application.

Step 2: Complete and Attach Required Items to the Attachments Form [Back to Top]

The "Attachments Form" is not a form in the conventional sense. Rather, it is a place to attach documents that you have completed and saved elsewhere on your computer.

  1. Attachments 1 and 2 are non-form documents (e.g., resumes, statements) that you will develop in accordance with the instructions provided. These items must be submitted as PDF (portable document format) files. These non-form documents can be created using any word processing software. When you have completed the document, save it to your computer and convert it to PDF before attaching. If you don't already have software to convert files to PDF, there are many low-cost and free software packages that can do this. To learn more, go to PDF Conversion Software. Remember: the simplest way to create a PDF is to use the "Save As" option and choose "Save as a PDF" (or similar wording) in your word processing software. Do not create PDFs of your electronic documents by scanning. In the past, some applicants have printed their electronic documents and then scanned them, saving the scan in PDF format. PDFs created this way are much larger, and of lower quality, than PDFs created by the methods we recommend. Please do not enable any document security settings or password-protect any PDF file you submit to us.

    No attachment should be more than 2 MB.

  2. Label pages clearly with the name of the item (e.g., Resume) and your legal name. Leave a margin of at least one inch at the top, bottom, and sides of all pages. Do not reduce type below 12 point font size. Do not type in all capital letters. Number pages sequentially. Excess pages will be removed and not be reviewed.

  3. Name your files as indicated below and attach them in the proper order. Limit file names to 50 or fewer characters and use only the following characters when naming your attachments: A-Z, a-z, 0-9, underscore (_), hyphen (-), space, and period. If you do not follow this rule, your application may be rejected. Please note that you cannot change the name of a file on the Attachments Form. Therefore make certain that each file is named correctly before you attach it.

When you open the Grants.gov Attachments Form, you will find 15 attachment buttons. By clicking on a button, you will be able to choose the PDF file from your computer that you wish to attach. Please attach the proper file to the proper button as listed below.

The Attachments

ATTACHMENT 1: APPLICANT RESUME (three-page, single-spaced maximum)

To this button attach your resume. Include information on your professional training; a list of exhibits, collections, public presentations or publications in which your work has been featured; and a list of any grants, awards, honors or professional prizes you have received. The file name should be your last name followed by "Resume."

ATTACHMENT 2: PERSONAL STATEMENT (no more than 250 words, single-spaced maximum)

To this button attach a statement, no more than 250 words in length, in which you describe your work as an artist and how it might contribute to the United States Mint’s goal of invigorating the design of our Nation’s coins and medals. Specifically, what about working with the United States Mint interests you and what makes you a good candidate for the AIP? The file name should be your last name followed by "Statement."

You do not have to fill the remaining Attachment buttons.

Step 3: Submit Items in Steps 1-2 above electronically through Grants.gov [Back to Top]

Follow the detailed instructions under "Submit your electronic application" above.

Step 4: Prepare and submit work samples electronically [Back to Top]

In addition to the material that you submit through Grants.gov, you must submit work samples as detailed below. Your application package will not be considered complete without these items. Do not submit work samples through Grants.gov.

Electronic Submission of Work Samples

You will upload your work samples electronically.

To upload work samples, you will use the NEA GrantsOnline™ System (NEA-GO), which is being administered for the NEA by the Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF). This will proceed as follows:

  1. You will complete the Grants.gov application process as detailed through Step 3 of the instructions above.

  2. On January 22, 2014, WESTAF will e-mail you the login information (URL, User name, and Password) for accessing NEA-GO.

    You will have until 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time, on January 28, 2014, to upload, preview/check, and submit your work samples electronically.

  3. To ensure that you receive WESTAF's login information promptly, we recommend that you add the following e-mail address to your list of safe senders: noreply@culturegrants.org.

  4. You will access NEA-GO for detailed instructions and to upload your work samples.

    The NEA-GO system is optimized for use with the following web browsers: Mozilla Firefox, Safari, and Google Chrome. Internet Explorer will also work, but you must have at least version IE 8.

NEA staff will be available to answer any questions that you have.

You should prepare your work samples well in advance of the deadline and have them fully ready to upload once NEA-GO becomes available to you.

Work Sample Preparation

Works samples are a required part of all applications and will be considered carefully during the review process. You must electronically submit up to 10 digital images to NEA-GO as detailed below. Please do not submit visual samples as attachments to your Grants.gov application.

The images you provide should be recent, of high quality, and representative of your work as an artist. Applicants are encouraged to submit works that display a variety of talent and ability. Please consider what is required of an AIP artist when selecting your work samples.

You will be able to upload samples in the formats described below. There is a limit of 250 MB for all of your work samples combined.

Digital images

Submit up to 10 images. Image size should be consistent; 800 x 600 pixels is suggested. Each image/file has a size limit of 5 MB
For images, you have two options:

  1. Combine all of your images into a single PDF and upload. The PDF should not exceed 10 pages/images. Do not submit an individual PDF for each image. Please include any captions that correspond to the images on each page of the PDF.


  1. Upload no more than 10 individual images in JPEG format. Upload images as individual JPEG files and add captions so that the images may be reviewed in the NEA-GO viewer.

Work Sample Information

For each work sample that you upload electronically, you will find a descriptive field into which you will enter the following information, as appropriate:

Title box:

  • The title of the work. Title each work sample with a unique name. This title must not contain an apostrophe.

Description box:

  • Artist's name.
  • Medium.
  • Materials.
  • Dimensions of artwork.

Applicants submitting multiple images on a PDF should include the relevant information from above with each image in the PDF. The descriptive field for the file should provide a brief overview of the group of images as a whole.