Grants

ART WORKS Guidelines: Arts Education

The National Endowment for the Arts envisions a nation where every student is engaged and empowered through an excellent arts education. Arts education is vital to developing America's next generation of creative and innovative thinkers. Students who participate in the arts are better prepared to be fulfilled, responsible citizens who can make a profound impact on this world. NEA-supported research has shown that students from low socioeconomic backgrounds who have arts-rich experiences are more likely to achieve key positive outcomes—academically, socially, and civically—compared with their peers who lack access to arts experiences.

Our Arts Education funding is focused on students. Projects are for pre-K-12 students (Direct Learning), the educators and artists who support them (Professional Development), and the schools and communities that serve them (Collective Impact). All students are served when each level of the system is supported. Applicants should consider what role their proposed project plays within this system, and the impact their project has on students.

Funded projects across all three project types will utilize and test innovative strategies, or scale up proven methodologies, for increasing access to arts education. Applicants should describe the national, regional, or field-wide significance of the project, including local projects that can have significant impact within communities or are likely to demonstrate best practices for the field.

Arts Education projects may be in any artistic discipline. Projects for short-term arts exposure, arts appreciation, or intergenerational activity should not be submitted under Arts Education; rather, they should be submitted under the appropriate artistic discipline. If you have questions about whether you should apply under Arts Education or some other discipline, read "Choosing the Right Discipline for Youth Projects."

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.

Deadlines

Art Works applications will be accepted at two deadlines. All project types (described below) are accepted at both deadlines. Apply at the deadline that most closely fits the schedule of activities or timeline of your proposed project. Generally, an organization is limited to one application per year in the Art Works category.

First Art Works Deadline:

Part 1 - Submit to Grants.gov 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 Grants.gov/SAM registration by at least January 23, 2019 and submit to Grants.gov by at least February 5, 2019.

Second Art Works Deadline:

Part 1 - Submit to Grants.gov July 11, 2019
Prepare application material so that it’s ready to upload when the Applicant Portal opens
Part 2 - Submit to Applicant Portal July 16-23, 2019
Earliest Announcement of Grant Award or Rejection April 2020
Earliest Beginning Date for National Endowment for the Arts Period of Performance June 1, 2020

Note: To allow time to resolve any problems you might encounter, we strongly recommend that you register/renew your Grants.gov/SAM registration by at least June 19, 2019 and submit to Grants.gov by at least July 2, 2019.

Projects

Direct Learning Grants

Projects support arts instruction for students, generally pre-K through 12th grade, that result in increased knowledge and skills in the arts and occur inside or outside the school system. Projects should engage students over an extended period of time during or outside the regular school day schedule. Activities may be offered by school districts, arts organizations, or non-arts organizations or agencies in partnership with artists and/or arts groups. Projects could take place in locations such as schools, arts organizations, community centers, faith-based organizations, makerspaces, public housing, tribal community centers, and/or juvenile facilities.

Applicants applying in Direct Learning should convey how their projects are distinctive and deepen the arts learning experience for students by offering fresh insights and adding new value to the field. Applicants may provide examples of how they are using data to inform programmatic decision making, scaling up or expanding existing arts education services, incorporating effective community partnerships, or working within a larger system or community effort to benefit students in that system.

Direct Learning projects should address each of the following elements:

Experience: Participants experience exemplary works of art -- in live form where possible -- to gain increased knowledge and skills in the art form.

Create: Informed by their experience in an art form, participants will create or perform art. For FY 2020, the National Endowment for the Arts encourages applicants to propose projects that honor the centennial of women’s voting rights in the United States (aka the Women’s Suffrage Centennial).

Assess: Student learning is measured and assessed in alignment with national or state arts education standards. At the conclusion of the project, grantees will be required to describe the assessment methods used to assess learning, and may submit tools used to assess learning with their Final Report. Where appropriate, applicants also may describe project outcomes that use the arts to address youth development, college, career, or citizen readiness or affect change in school or community culture such as school attendance, graduation or recidivism rates. Explain how you plan to measure those outcomes. Before applying, please review the reporting requirements for Learning

Professional Development Grants

Projects equip classroom teachers, arts specialists, teaching artists, school/district administrators, other educators, and community leaders with the knowledge, skills and confidence to effectively engage students in high quality, curriculum-based arts learning, and improve instruction.

Applicants applying for a Professional Development project should convey how their project is distinctive and offers fresh insights and new value to the field.

Applicants may provide examples of how they are using data to inform programmatic decision making, scaling up or expanding existing professional development projects, utilizing technology, establishing communities of practice, incorporating effective community partnerships, or working within a larger system or community effort to benefit students in that system, as appropriate.

Professional Development projects should include all of the following elements:

Experience: Participants have an experience in or through the arts.

Study: Participants are engaged in a sustained, in-depth course of study.

Evaluate: Participant learning is evaluated and the impact of the professional development on practice is measured. Before applying, please review the reporting requirements for Learning

Collective Impact Grants

Projects increase student access to arts education through collective, systemic approaches. Projects should aim to ensure that all students across entire neighborhoods, schools, school districts, and/or states – in communities of all sizes – participate in the arts over time. We anticipate making a limited number of grants at higher award levels for longer term, large-scale projects that use a collective, systemic approach to provide arts education to students. Longer project periods are encouraged (up to two years) and projects should have significant potential to be shared and customized in communities across the country.

For further details about this project type, click here. Applicants considering submission of a Collective Impact application are strongly encouraged to contact Arts Education Specialist Denise Brandenburg at brandenburg@arts.gov.

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

Before applying, please review the reporting requirements for Learning.

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.

We Do Not Fund

In addition to the "We Do Not Fund" section for all applicants, funding under the Arts Education discipline is not available for research on the value of arts education. Applicants may consider our research grant opportunity for support of research projects.

Choosing the Right Discipline for Youth Projects

If you are proposing a Collective Impact project, a pre-K through 12th grade Professional Development project, or a Direct Learning project that aligns with either national or state arts education standards, choose Arts Education.

For more information on the National Core Arts standards, see here.

If the target audience is intergenerational, then you should consider submitting your application directly to one of the artistic disciplines rather than to Arts Education. Applications for projects for youth where the focus is exposure to or appreciation of the arts -- whether activities take place in school, after school, during the summer, or in community settings -- should be submitted directly to the appropriate artistic discipline in the Art Works category. Such projects may include performances by or exhibitions of professional artists. Arts events may be accompanied by ancillary learning activities (e.g., study guides for teachers and students, artists' visits prior to or following the event, workshops, lecture-demonstrations, or master classes).