ART WORKS Guidelines: Visual Arts

Visual Arts activity in the nation is undertaken by a variety of organizations and institutions—from large and small, rural and urban, emerging and established, public or private non-profit—many of which have solely artistic missions. Others are community-based organizations whose portfolios may, on occasion, include the visual arts.

The National Endowment for the Arts is committed to supporting visual arts activity—painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, drawing, craft, and public art—that demonstrates  exceptional aesthetic investigation and meaningful community engagement.

Specifically, the National Endowment for the Arts is interested in supporting contemporary artists and the projects they undertake, such as exhibitions, residencies, publications, commissions, public art works, conservation, documentation, services to the field, and public programs. The National Endowment for the Arts is committed to encouraging individual artistic development, experimentation, and dialogue between artists and the public.

Deadlines

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.

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

  • Exhibitions and related activities.
  • Commissions or public art.
  • Residencies.
  • Periodicals, publications, or catalogues.
  • Public programming such as workshops, lectures and symposia, or other outreach activities.
  • Conservation, preservation, and/or restoration.
  • 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.
  • Innovative uses of technology.
  • Services to the field.

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.