OUR TOWN: Knowledge Building Projects - Applicant Eligibility

These are expired guidelines. New guidelines will be posted in May, 2019.

Organizations that may apply include:

  • Arts and design organizations that provide services to the field.
  • National and regional organizations or university-based organizations that provide training or assistance to those doing local community development work. This may include professionals that work in local communities across a variety of sectors (such as arts and culture, agriculture and food, economic development, education and youth, environment and energy, health, housing, public safety, transportation, and workforce development) who wish to engage in creative placemaking activities.

An art-based organization must have a community development knowledge consultant/organization/partner identified at the time of application, or a community development membership organization must have an arts-based knowledge consultant/organization/partner.  

To be eligible, the applicant organization must:

  • Meet the Arts Endowment's "Legal Requirements" including nonprofit, tax-exempt status at the time of application.
  • Have a three-year history of programming prior to the application deadline.
  • Have submitted acceptable Final Report packages by the due date(s) for all Arts Endowment awards(s) previously received.

Additional partners are encouraged and may include an appropriate variety of entities such as colleges and universities, or individuals.

The designated state and jurisdictional arts agencies (SAAs) and their regional arts organizations (RAOs) may serve as partners in Our Town projects. NEA funds can’t support any SAA or RAO costs.

All applicants must have a DUNS number ( and be registered with the System for Award Management (SAM, and maintain an active SAM registration until the application process is complete, and should a grant be made, throughout the life of the award. Finalize a new or renew an existing registration at least two weeks before the application deadline. This action should allow you time to resolve any issues that may arise. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in your inability to submit your application. Maintain documentation (with dates) of your efforts to register or renew at least two weeks before the deadline.

Native American, Alaskan Native, and Native Hawaiian Applicants or Projects

We provide support for projects featuring Native American, Alaskan Native, and Native Hawaiian arts across all NEA disciplines. (See more information here.)

Application Restrictions

An organization may submit as a lead applicant two applications to Our Town.

A partnering organization may serve as a partner on as many applications as they like.

If two applications are submitted from a single lead applicant, the capacity of the lead applicant to carry out and sustain two Our Town projects will be considered in the review of applications.

Other National Endowment for the Arts Funding Opportunities

You may apply to other Arts Endowment funding opportunities, including Art Works and Challenge Americain addition to Our Town. In each case, the request must be for a distinctly different project, or a distinctly different phase of a project. If you have applied to the NEA in the past and were not recommended for funding, you may apply again to any funding opportunity, including Our Town.