GRANTS FOR ARTS PROJECTS Guidelines: Artist Communities

This area provides assistance to artist communities for projects that encourage and nurture the development of individual artists and foster and inspire their creative processes. We define an artist community as an organization, whether focused on a single discipline or multidisciplinary, whose primary mission is to provide artist residencies.

Support is available for artist communities that:

  • Provide space, time, and resources to artists for incubation, thought, or creativity in a retreat setting in an urban or rural location.
  • Foster and support the creative process of art making by providing studio facilities and assistance with living accommodations to enable artists to live and work concurrently.
  • Utilize a competitive application process to recruit and select participants, and rotate a wide range of artists in order to encourage the highest standards of creativity.

While we welcome applications for a variety of artistically excellent projects, we encourage projects that address any of the following activities below:

  • 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.
  • Enrich our humanity by broadening our understanding of ourselves as individuals and as a society.
  • In the spirit of White House Executive Orders that encourage federal agencies to engage with typically underserved constituencies, the National Endowment for the Arts encourages applications from:
    • 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.

Cost share/matching grants generally will range from $10,000 to $100,000.

If your project is developed and managed by local government, see the Local Arts Agencies description to help you in your discipline selection.


The application deadline for all projects is February 13, 2020. (Artist Communities does not accept applications at the July deadline.)

First Grants for Arts Projects Deadline:

Part 1 - Submit to February 13, 2020 at 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time
Prepare application material so that it’s ready to upload when the Applicant Portal opens
Part 2 - Submit to Applicant Portal February 18-25, 2020 at 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time
Earliest Announcement of Grant Award or Rejection November 2020
Earliest Beginning Date for National Endowment for the Arts Period of Performance January 1, 2021

Note: To allow time to resolve any problems you might encounter, finalize your registration by at least January 22, 2020 and submit to by at least February 4, 2020.


  • Stipends and temporary living accommodations for professional artists where the primary purpose is determined by the artist.
  • The expansion of the pool of artists that encourages the participation of artists from a wide variety of aesthetic viewpoints, racial and ethnic backgrounds, cultures, disability perspectives, and/or geographic areas.
  • Access to facilities or technology to meet the needs of interdisciplinary or new genre artists.
  • Innovative collaborations between artists and those from sectors outside of the arts.
  • Support for residencies that place artists in non-traditional settings such as, but not limited to, businesses, hospitals, schools, prisons, military branches, municipal offices, or first-responder organizations.
  • Innovative approaches to collaboration with outside organizations and disciplines where the primary purpose is public engagement with art and/or the enhancement of public spaces.
  • Support for artist residencies that utilize artistically excellent art in civic and social practice, conflict transformation, and collaborative work with community partners.
  • Activities with the surrounding community that provide educational and related activities for youth, adults, intergenerational groups, and schools.
  • Residency exchange programs with artists and artist communities in other countries.

Artist residences must be accessible, including sleeping rooms, kitchens, bathrooms, and work spaces.

For information on how to apply, see the “To Apply” box on the right.

National Historic Preservation Act and/or the National Environmental Policy Act Review

If you are recommended for a grant, your project may be subject to the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and/or the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the National Endowment for the Arts will conduct a review of your project to ensure that it is in compliance with NHPA/NEPA.

Some of the common project types that garner a NHPA review are:

  • A project involving or occurring near a district, site, building, landscape, structure or object that is 50 years old and therefore potentially eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places (note that in some instances, buildings or structures may be included in or eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places that are less than 50 years old).
  • 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 outdoor arts festival.
  • 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. If you are recommended for an award which may have historic preservation or environmental concerns (NHPA/NEPA), you will be notified and asked to provide additional information. Thorough and complete information for all project activities and locations will expedite the review. The Arts Endowment cannot release an award and/or grant funds until the NHPA/NEPA review is complete.

To learn more about the questions you will need to answer for the review of a project impacted by the National Historic Preservation Act and/or the National Environmental Policy Act, see here.


Federal regulations require that all National Endowment for the Arts-funded projects be accessible to people with disabilities. Funded activities must be held in a physically 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 detailed information describing how you will make your project physically and programmatically accessible to people with disabilities.