ART WORKS Guidelines: Music

The National Endowment for the Arts is committed to advancing a wide range of music, from classical and contemporary to jazz. It supports projects by performing ensembles and music presenting organizations including but not limited to chamber music ensembles, choruses, early music programs, jazz ensembles, music festivals, and symphony orchestras. In addition, the National Endowment for the Arts accepts applications from professional artist development programs, artist residencies, and service organizations.

Organizations of all types and sizes may apply for a variety of music production, presentation, professional development, engagement, and service projects. The National Endowment for the Arts is particularly interested in collaborations, innovative presentation strategies, and initiatives that help organizations engage audiences in new and meaningful ways. In addition to projects that focus on the standard repertoire, the National Endowment for the Arts encourages the commissioning and performance of new American works.  

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.

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

Performances, presentations, and commissions

  • Public presentations of musical works.
  • Commissions and/or co-commissions.
  • Development and performances of new musical compositions and innovative works.
  • Performances and educational engagements by NEA Jazz Masters that honor their work, history, style and/or significance to jazz; and broaden public awareness of the art form.
  • Domestic touring.
  • Festivals and other events (may include performances, lecture-demonstrations, audience talkbacks, master classes, and workshops).

Professional artistic development

  • Professional artistic development and training programs for musicians such as conducting skills, mentorship, and career development.
  • Residencies and workshops with artists.

Engagement, education, recordings, and technology

  • Community engagement projects that involve diverse communities and/or reach new audiences.
  • Innovative methods of engaging audiences (may include collaborations with other organizations, new approaches that have the potential to increase the impact on audiences, artists, communities, or the field).
  • Recordings of works by American composers.
  • Technology projects such as local broadcasts, online resources, and libraries that provide public access to musical works.
  • Archival, documentation, and preservation projects.
  • Education and related activities for youth, adults, and intergenerational groups. If your project is for youth, see "Choosing the Right Discipline for Youth Projects."

Services to the field

  • Services that reach a broad constituency of musicians, music educators, administrators, and music organizations (may include workshops, conferences, publications, professional leadership development, technical assistance, or online resources).

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.