ART WORKS Guidelines: Artist Communities

This area provides assistance to artist communities for projects that encourage and nurture the development of individual artists and foster and inspire their creative processes. We define an artist community as an organization, whether focused on a single discipline or multidisciplinary, whose primary mission is to provide artist residencies.

Support is available for artist communities that:

  • Provide space, time, and resources to artists for incubation, thought, or creativity in a retreat setting in an urban or rural location.
  • Foster and support the creative process of art making by providing studio facilities and assistance with living accommodations to enable artists to live and work concurrently.
  • Utilize a competitive application process to recruit and select participants, and rotate a wide range of artists in order to encourage the highest standards of creativity.

We encourage applications for artistically excellent projects that address any of the activities below:

  • Honor the 2020 centennial of women’s voting rights in the United States (aka the Women’s Suffrage Centennial).
  • Engage with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs); Hispanic or Latino organizations; and the Native American, Alaskan Native, and Native Hawaiian arts.
  • Celebrate America’s creativity and cultural heritage.
  • Invite a dialogue that fosters a mutual respect for the diverse beliefs and values of all persons and groups.
  • Enrich our humanity by broadening our understanding of ourselves as individuals and as a society.


The application deadline for all projects is February 14, 2019. (There is no July deadline.)

First Art Works Deadline:

Part 1 - Submit to February 14, 2019
Prepare application material so that it’s ready to upload when the Applicant Portal opens
Part 2 - Submit to Applicant Portal February 19-26, 2019
Earliest Announcement of Grant Award or Rejection November 2019
Earliest Beginning Date for National Endowment for the Arts Period of Performance January 1, 2020

Note: To allow time to resolve any problems you might encounter, we strongly recommend that you register/renew your registration by at least January 23, 2019 and submit to by at least February 5, 2019.


  • Stipends and living accommodations for professional artists where the primary purpose is determined by the artist.
  • The expansion of the pool of artists that encourages the participation of artists from a wide variety of aesthetic viewpoints, racial and ethnic backgrounds, cultures, disability perspectives, and/or geographic areas.
  • Access to facilities or technology to meet the needs of interdisciplinary or new genre artists.
  • Innovative collaborations between artists and those from sectors outside of the arts.
  • Support for residencies that place artists in non-traditional settings such as, but not limited to, businesses, hospitals, schools, prisons, military branches, municipal offices, or first-responder organizations.
  • Innovative approaches to collaboration with outside organizations and disciplines where the primary purpose is public engagement with art and/or the enhancement of public spaces.
  • Support for artist residencies that utilize artistically excellent art in civic and social practice, conflict transformation, and collaborative work with community partners.
  • Creation and presentation of work that honors the 2020 centennial of women’s voting rights in the United States.
  • Activities with the surrounding community that provide educational and related activities for youth, adults, intergenerational groups, and schools.
  • Residency exchange programs with artists and artist communities in other countries.

For information on how to apply, see the “To Apply” box on the right.

National Environmental Policy Act and/or the National Historic Preservation Act Review

If you are recommended for a grant, your project may be subject to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and/or the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and the National Endowment for the Arts will conduct a review of your project to ensure that it is in compliance NEPA/NHPA.

Some of the common project types that garner a NHPA review are:

  • A project involving or occurring near a district, site, building, landscape, structure or object that is 50 years old and therefore eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places (please note that in some instances, buildings or structures may be included in or eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places that are less than 50 years old).
  • The commissioning and installation of temporary or permanent outdoor furnishings such as benches or market structures or art such as a sculpture or mural.
  • An arts festival in a park.
  • Design planning and services for projects that may involve a historic site, structure, or district.

This review and approval process may take up to several months to complete and may delay your project's start date and our ability to make a grant award/our ability to release grant funds. If you are recommended for an award which may have historic preservation or environmental concerns (NHPA/NEPA), you will be notified and asked to provide additional information. Your thorough and complete information for all project activities and locations will expedite the review. The NEA cannot release an award and/or grant funds until the historic preservation and/or environmental review is complete.

To learn more about what questions you will need to answer for the review of a project impacted by the National Environmental Policy Act and/or the National Historic Preservation Act, see here.

Note: Federal regulations require that all NEA-funded projects be accessible to people with disabilities. Funded activities must be held in an accessible venue and program access and effective communication must be provided for participants and audience members with disabilities. If your project is recommended for funding, you will be asked to provide information describing how you will make your project physically and programmatically accessible to people with disabilities.