Grants

ART WORKS Guidelines: Local Arts Agencies

Across the United States, more than 4,500 Local Arts Agencies (LAAs) provide a wide range of programs and services to help support and enable arts and culture at the local level. LAAs are intermediaries, serving artists and arts organizations, local residents, visitors, and other community partners. No two LAAs are alike ─ whether they serve a single village or town, a large city, county, or a multi-county or multi-state region. Some LAAs are departments of local government, others are nonprofit organizations, and still others are hybrids of the two.

Characteristics: LAAs may present and/or produce arts programming, commission and manage public art, administer grant programs, provide technical assistance to artists and arts organizations, and guide cultural planning efforts. Still others may own, manage, and/or operate cultural facilities and be actively engaged in community development, and partner with entities in tourism, social services, public education, housing, economic development, and public safety. All strive to enhance the quality of life in their communities by working to increase public access to the arts. You will also find national and statewide arts service organizations in the LAA portfolio that work primarily with a network of LAAs, as well as Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts and Arts and Business Council organizations.

All Art Works applications submitted by LAAs will be reviewed with other Local Arts Agencies. There are only two exceptions: Projects that have a Folk & Traditional Arts focus will be reviewed under Folk & Traditional Arts, and projects with a K-12 standards-based arts education, professional development, or collective impact focus will be reviewed under Arts Education.

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.

Projects

Art Works applications will be accepted at two deadlines. All project types (described below) are accepted at both deadlines. Generally, an organization is limited to one application per year in the Art Works category.

The work of Local Arts Agencies can cover a wide range of activity, depending on the dynamics of the community. Project types eligible for support include Programming and Services to the Field, both of which are described in detail below. Subgranting proposals by a Local Arts Agency to support programming or services to the field by its constituents are also eligible, with additional applicant requirements.

Deadlines

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.

Project Types

Programming, for example:  

  • Artist commissions, including the enhancement of public spaces through commissioning and/or installation of art works. Please see “Public Art Resources” for additional information.
  • Artist residencies.
  • Creation and presentation of new work, including those that use technology, media, or other new models or strategies.
  • Creation and presentation of work that honors the 2020 centennial of women’s voting rights in the United States.
  • Festivals and other community events, which may include performances, exhibitions, lecture-demonstrations, and workshops.
  • Performing arts events, readings, screenings, broadcasts, and visual arts exhibitions.
  • Programming projects and initiatives that extend the reach of the arts to communities that have been historically underserved.
  • Education and related activities for youth, adults, intergenerational groups, and schools.

    However, if your project is for youth, see "Choosing the Right Discipline for Youth Projects" to help you select between the Local Arts Agencies and Arts Education disciplines. We encourage you to also review Arts Education guidelines for Collective Impact awards for projects that are collaborations with school districts with a focus on systemic change.

Services to the Field, for example: 

  • Coordinated arts services, including community-wide marketing campaigns, online services, and community-wide arts engagement activities designed to increase public access to the arts.
  • Services to advance the professional skills of artists and arts organizations. This may include conferences, convenings, workshops, technical assistance, board development, leadership training, and professional development opportunities for artists and arts administrators.
  • Cultural planning, which may include the development of plans for cultural and/or creative sector growth, cultural assessments and mapping, community-wide cultural planning, specific-issue cultural plans, public art master plans, and the integration of arts and culture into broader community planning efforts.
  • The planning and development of artist live/work spaces, as well as studio, production, rehearsal, and performance spaces.
  • Documentation and conservation of public and monumental art. Please see “Public Art Resources” for additional information.

Subgranting

  • Subgranting for programming and services to the field activities on behalf of a Local Arts Agency's constituents.
To be eligible, a Local Arts Agency must be a unit of city or county government or officially designated to operate on behalf of its local government. In addition to the "Applicant Eligibility" section for all Art Works applicants, applicants for subgranting projects must have a three-year history of subgranting in the arts prior to the application deadline.
  • Designated Local Arts Agencies that will subgrant must:

    • Require their grantees to provide DUNS numbers before a grant can be made.
    • Report subgrants of $25,000 or more in federal funds to the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act Subaward Reporting System (FSRS).
    • Ensure that all subawards made with federal or matching funds are in compliance with the General Terms and Conditions for an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, including requirements for pass-through entities as provided for under 2 CFR 200.331 and the NEPA/NHPA and accessibility requirements described below.
    • Please note that officially designated Local Arts Agencies are the only entities allowed to apply to Art Works for subgranting.

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.