ART WORKS Guidelines: Theater & Musical Theater

These are expired guidelines. New Art Works guidelines will be posted in mid-December. Do not begin working on your application until the new guidelines are posted as the requirements have changed.

The National Endowment for the Arts offers grants to the nonprofit theater and musical theater fields for the production or presentation of traditional or classical repertoire, new plays and musicals, development laboratories, showcases, artist residencies, work for young audiences, experimental work, community-based work, outdoor historical dramas, and puppetry. Projects funded by the National Endowment for the Arts should help to fully realize an organization's mission and may provide support for organizations and artists in the creation and refinement of work, the public presentation of plays and musicals from all cultures and periods, and opportunities for professional development.


Art Works applications will be accepted under two deadlines. All project types are accepted under both deadlines. Generally, an organization is limited to one application per year under the Art Works category.


First Art Works Deadline:

Step 1 - Submit SF-424 to February 18, 2016
Step 2 - Submit Materials to NEA-GO February 25, 2016 to March 3, 2016
Earliest Announcement of Grant Award or Rejection November 2016
Earliest Beginning Date for National Endowment for the Arts Period of Performance January 1, 2017

Second Art Works Deadline:

Step 1 - Submit SF-424 to July 14, 2016
Step 2 - Submit Materials to NEA-GO July 21, 2016 to July 28, 2016
Earliest Announcement of Grant Award or Rejection April 2017
Earliest Beginning Date for National Endowment for the Arts Period of Performance June 1, 2017
  • Commissioning, development, and production of new work, translations, and adaptations.
  • Development programs and labs for new work, which may include the hosting of artist residencies, showcase productions of new work, development workshops, and festivals of new works or works in progress. 
  • Development of innovative new works that involve media, technology, or new models.
  • Production or presentation of existing contemporary or classical work.
  • Local, regional, and national touring.
  • Community-based projects.
  • Documentation, preservation, conservation, and dissemination of America's theater and musical theater heritage.
  • Services to the field that assist organizations or artists in administrative, developmental, technical, and related areas.
  • Innovative methods of engaging audiences, including collaborations with other organizations, through new subscriber or membership models that have the potential to maximize resources and/or the impact on the audience, artists, or the field.
  • Collaborative arts/science/technology projects.
  • Professional training including classes, guest artist residencies, workshops, and mentorship of theater artists.
  • Exposure and enrichment projects, including arts/science/technology projects, for youth, adults, and intergenerational groups. (If your project is for youth, see "Choosing the Right Discipline for Youth Projects" to help you in your discipline selection.)
  • The development of plans for growth of the theater and musical theater sector in the local community.
  • The development of artist live/work spaces.
  • Festivals, performances, and other activities in public spaces that are intended to foster community interaction and/or enhance the unique characteristics of a community.
  • The engagement of artists and theater and musical theater organizations in plans and processes to improve community livability.
  • Community-based partnerships that integrate theater and musical theater with livability efforts.