Grants

GRANTS FOR ARTS PROJECTS Guidelines: Local Arts Agencies

Across the United States, more than 4,500 Local Arts Agencies (LAAs) provide a wide range of programs and services to help support and enable arts and culture at the local level. LAAs are intermediaries, serving artists and arts organizations, local residents, visitors, and other community partners. No two LAAs are alike ─ whether they serve a single village or town, a large city, county, or a multi-county or multi-state region. Some LAAs are departments of local government, others are nonprofit organizations, and still others are hybrids of the two.

Characteristics: LAAs may present and/or produce arts programming, commission and manage public art, administer grant programs, provide technical assistance to artists and arts organizations, and guide cultural planning efforts. Still others may own, manage, and/or operate cultural facilities and be actively engaged in community development, and partner with entities in tourism, social services, public education, housing, economic development, and public safety. All strive to enhance the quality of life in their communities by working to increase public access to the arts. 

The Local Arts Agencies discipline also welcomes applications for arts projects developed and managed by:

  • Non-arts departments of local government, including but not limited to economic development, parks and recreation, or planning departments. For the purposes of these guidelines, local governments are defined as counties, parishes, cities, towns, villages, or federally recognized tribal governments.
  • Designated special districts, such as creative, arts and entertainment, or cultural districts.
  • National and statewide service organizations that work primarily with a network of LAAs, as well as projects by organizations such as Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts or Arts and Business Councils.

All Grants for Arts Projects applications submitted by LAAs will be reviewed within the Local Arts Agencies discipline. There are only two exceptions: Projects that have a Folk & Traditional Arts focus will be reviewed under Folk & Traditional Arts, and projects with a K-12 standards-based arts education, professional development, or collective impact focus will be reviewed under Arts Education.

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.

Projects

Grants for Arts Projects 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 Grants for Arts Projects category.

The work of Local Arts Agencies can cover a wide range of activity, depending on the dynamics of the community. Project types eligible for support include Programming and Services to the Field, both of which are described in detail below. Subgranting proposals by a Local Arts Agency to support programming or services to the field by its constituents are also eligible, with additional applicant requirements.

Deadlines

First Grants for Arts Projects Deadline:

Part 1 - Submit to Grants.gov 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 Grants.gov/SAM registration by at least January 22, 2020 and submit to Grants.gov by at least February 4, 2020.

Second Grants for Arts Projects Deadline:

Part 1 - Submit to Grants.gov July 9, 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 July 14-21, 2020 at 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time
Earliest Announcement of Grant Award or Rejection April 2021
Earliest Beginning Date for National Endowment for the Arts Period of Performance June 1, 2021

Note: To allow time to resolve any problems you might encounter, finalize your Grants.gov/SAM registration by at least June 17, 2020 and submit to Grants.gov by at least June 30, 2020.

Project Types

Eligible project types include the full breadth of programming typically developed and managed by local arts agencies*, such as Programming and Services to the Field, including but not limited to:

  • The presentation of artists, artworks, and arts programming.
  • The commissioning of artists for the creation of new work.
  • Projects related to public art, such as creation, installation, documentation, and preservation. See “Public Art Resources” for additional information.
  • The development and/or management of cultural facilities or artist residency projects.
  • Services to advance the professional skills of artists and arts organizations, such as convenings, technical assistance, and professional development opportunities.
  • Coordinated arts services, such as community-wide marketing campaigns, cross-sector partnerships, or cultural planning efforts.
  • Projects and initiatives that build equity and extend the reach of the arts to communities that have been historically underserved.
  • Project activities that advance and/or sustain the creative work of and/or careers for people with disabilities through employment, industry training, technical assistance, organization capacity-building, and infrastructure.
  • Education and related activities for youth, adults, intergenerational groups, and schools.

However, if your project is for youth, see "Choosing the Right Discipline for Youth Projects" to help you select between the Local Arts Agencies and Arts Education disciplines.

* See “We Fund/We Do Not Fund” to make sure your project is eligible.

Subgranting

To be eligible, a Local Arts Agency must be an arts agency that is a unit of city or county government or officially designated to operate as an arts agency on behalf of its local government. Non-arts departments of local government (e.g., economic development, parks and recreation, or planning departments) cannot subgrant. In addition to the "Applicant Eligibility" section for all Grants for Arts Projects applicants, applicants for subgranting projects must have completed a three-year history of subgranting in the arts prior to the application deadline. Organizations without a three-year history of grantmaking are encouraged to contact Arts Endowment staff to discuss alternative project types.

  • Subgranting for programming and services to the field activities on behalf of a Local Arts Agency's constituents.
    • Designated Local Arts Agencies that will subgrant must:
      • Require their grantees to provide DUNS numbers before a grant can be made.
      • Report subgrants of $25,000 or more in federal funds to the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act Subaward Reporting System (FSRS).
      • Ensure that all subawards made with federal or cost share/matching funds are in compliance with the General Terms and Conditions for an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, including requirements for pass-through entities as provided for under 2 CFR 200.331 and the NHPA/NEPA and accessibility requirements described below.

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.

Accessibility

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.