GRANTS FOR ARTS PROJECTS Guidelines: Application Review

Applications will be reviewed on the basis of the following criteria:

The artistic excellence of the project, which includes the:

  • Quality of the artists, arts organizations, arts education providers, works of art, or services that the project will involve, as appropriate.

The artistic merit of the project, which includes the:

  • Importance of the project to the artistic field, artists, audience, community, and/or constituency.
  • Ability to carry out the project based on such factors as the appropriateness of the budget (including evidence of direct payment to artists), the quality and clarity of the project activities and goals, the resources involved, and the qualifications of the project's personnel.
  • Potential to:
    • Celebrate America’s creativity and/or cultural heritage,
    • Invite a dialogue that fosters a mutual respect for the diverse beliefs and values of all persons and groups, or
    • Enrich humanity by broadening our understanding of ourselves as individuals and as a society.
  • Appropriateness of the project to the organization's mission, audience, community, and/or constituency.
  • Appropriateness of any proposed performance measurements. This includes, where relevant, measures to assess student and/or teacher learning in arts education.
  • Plans for documentation and dissemination of the project results, as appropriate.
  • Where appropriate, potential to reach underserved populations such as those whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited. In the spirit of White House Executive Orders that encourage federal agencies to engage with typically underserved constituencies, this includes, where appropriate, the potential to engage with:
    • Historically Black Colleges and Universities,
    • Tribal Colleges and Universities,
    • American Indian and Alaska Native tribes,
    • African American Serving Institutions,
    • Hispanic Serving Institutions,
    • Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, and
    • Organizations that support the independence and lifelong inclusion of people with disabilities.

NOTE: We fund arts projects, and make grants only for specific, definable activities. Your application may be rejected if it does not sufficiently describe the project activities.

What Happens to Your Application

Applications are evaluated according to the "Review Criteria" for their category.

After processing by our staff, applications are reviewed, in closed session, by advisory panelists. Each panel comprises a diverse group of arts experts and other individuals, including at least one knowledgeable layperson, with broad knowledge in the areas under review. Panels are convened remotely by discipline. Panel membership changes regularly. The panel recommends the projects to be supported, and the staff reconciles panel recommendations with the funds that are available. These recommendations are forwarded to the National Council on the Arts, where they are reviewed in open session.

The Council makes recommendations to the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Chairman reviews the recommendations for grants in all funding categories and makes the final decision on all grant awards. Applicants are then notified of funding decisions.

After notification of funding decisions, applicants with questions may contact the staff. Any applicant whose request for funding has not been recommended may ask for an explanation of the basis for denial. In such instances, the National Endowment for the Arts must be contacted no later than 30 calendar days after the official notification.

See the "Application Calendar" for information on when we expect to announce grant awards and rejections, and the earliest dates by which projects may begin.

Risk Assessment: All recommended applications undergo a review to evaluate risk posed by the applicant prior to making a federal award. This may include past performance on grants, meeting reporting deadlines, compliance with terms and conditions, audit findings, etc.