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 an LAA 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.

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. There are two broad types of projects eligible for support: Programming activities, which can include commissioning, presenting, and exhibiting art works; and Services to the Field activities, which can include planning and technical assistance.

Deadlines

First Art Works Deadline:

Step 1 - Submit SF-424 to Grants.gov February 16, 2017
Register/renew by at least January 25
Submit by at least February 7
Step 2 - Submit Materials to NEA-GO February 23, 2017 to March 2, 2017
Earliest Announcement of Grant Award or Rejection November 2017
Earliest Beginning Date for National Endowment for the Arts Period of Performance January 1, 2018

Second Art Works Deadline:

Step 1 - Submit SF-424 to Grants.gov July 13, 2017
Register/renew by at least June 21
Submit by at least July 4
Step 2 - Submit Materials to NEA’s new applicant portal July 20, 2017 to July 27, 2017
Earliest Announcement of Grant Award or Rejection April 2018
Earliest Beginning Date for National Endowment for the Arts Period of Performance June 1, 2018

Project Types

Programming projects include:

  • Artist commissions, including the enhancement of public spaces through commissioning and/or installation of art works.
  • Artist residencies where the primary purpose is to create new works of art and deepen community engagement, and/or where the primary purpose is the acquisition of knowledge or skills in the arts.
  • Creation, commissioning, and presentation of new work.
  • 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.
  • Projects using technology, media, or other new models or strategies in the creation of new work.
  • Subgranting for programming 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.
      • Please note that officially designated Local Arts Agencies are the only entities allowed to apply to Art Works for subgranting.
  • Education and related activities for youth, adults, intergenerational groups, and schools.
    • If your project is for youth, see "Choosing the Right Discipline for Youth Projects" to help you in your discipline selection.
    • 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 include:

  • 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.
  • Subgranting for 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 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.
      • Please note that officially designated Local Arts Agencies are the only entities allowed to apply to Art Works for subgranting.
  • 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.

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 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.
  • 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.

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.