Artist communities provide essential support for individual artists to create, hone, and evolve their work and artistic practice. An artist community is an organization or program, whether focused on a single discipline or multidisciplinary, that provides dedicated space, time, and resources to artists for incubation, thought, or creativity. The Artist Communities ecosystem may include organizations with a sole focus on offering residencies, or a creative residency program embedded within a university, cultural organization, artist collective, community-based organization, or public entity, among others. Artist residencies are crucial to the larger arts ecosystem as they foster and support the creative process of art making by providing artists with the conditions to advance their own artistic practice through research, development, creation, and production of artistic project.

Through our work, the NEA aims to strengthen the artist communities ecosystem by welcoming proposals from organizations of all budget sizes, located in rural, suburban, urban, and tribal communities. We value applications from organizations that demonstrate a wholistic approach to their work, including artist-centered projects, support for arts workers, and mutually beneficial partnerships with audiences and community, and that have a staff and board representative of their community. All of these components support a healthy arts ecosystem, allowing artists, audiences, and communities to thrive.

We support projects dedicated solely to providing direct support for artists through residencies; projects that include culminating events or other community engagement activities; and efforts to engage with key arts and non-arts partners to advance an artist’s creative process.

Applicants may request cost share/matching grants ranging from $10,000 to $100,000.

For information on how to submit an application, see “How to Apply” on the left.

Project Types

Projects activities may include, but are not limited to:

Artist Resources

  • Stipends and temporary living accommodations for professional artists where the primary purpose of the residency 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;
  • Projects that advance or sustain the creative work or careers of people with disabilities;
  • Access to facilities or technology to meet the needs of interdisciplinary or new genre artists;
  • Flexible-time or part-time residencies that increase access for artists whose ability to participate is limited due to personal circumstances;
  • Residency exchange programs with artists and artist communities in other countries.


  • Collaborations between artists and those from sectors outside of the arts;
  • Residencies that provide educational and related activities on-site or 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;
  • Artist residencies that advance civic and social practice, conflict transformation, and collaborative work with community partners in ways that are mutually beneficial;
  • Virtual programming that aims to increase audience accessibility, and/or collaborations with other organizations using digital technology;
  • Projects incorporating the arts to advance the health and well-being of individuals and communities.


  • Services that strengthen the artist communities field. This may include, but is not limited to:
    • Arts and arts-related conferences, convenings, and publications;
    • Leadership training, mentorships, and other professional development opportunities for artists and arts administrators;
    • Projects that include planning, capacity-building, and training that supports an organization’s ability to respond to current events;
    • Archiving, preservation, and documentation projects.

Competitive proposals will address elements as stated in the application review criteria, and:

  • Define an artist-centered residency that considers the breadth of artists’ needs, including: engagement with artists from historically underserved communities; time constraints due to career, caretaking, and other personal responsibilities; accessibility requirements; financial barriers; and ensuring artist safety;
  • Utilize an open application process to regularly recruit a diverse range of artists, encouraging a wide variety of aesthetic viewpoints, racial and ethnic backgrounds, cultures, disability perspectives, socioeconomic statuses, and/or geographic areas;
  • Clearly define juried and decision-making processes for selecting participating artists, jurors, and project partners, when applicable;
  • Compensate residency staff and facility employees for work supporting artists throughout their residency.

In some cases, a project that involves artist communities may be better suited for review in another discipline. Review the Artistic Disciplines page for more information, including guidance on educational projects.

For questions, including help choosing the right discipline, contact NEA staff:

  • Organizations with names that begin A through K: Katryna Carter, or 202-682-5779
  • Organizations with names that begin L through Z: Christopher Orr, or 202-682-5430


Compliance Reminders:

The NEA is committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility, and fostering mutual respect for the diverse beliefs and values of all individuals and groups. Please note the following:

  • Civil Rights Laws and Policies: As a reminder, in the federal-funding context, a focus on a particular group or demographic may be permissible, but exclusion is not. This extends to hiring practices, artist selection processes, and audience engagement. Your application should make it clear that project activities are not exclusionary. Please review the Assurance of Compliance, as well as NEA Civil Rights guidance on our website, including this archived webinar: Things to Know Before You Apply: Federal Civil Rights and Your Grants Application.
  • Accessibility: Federal regulations require that all NEA-funded projects be accessible to people with disabilities. Individuals with disabilities may be audiences, visitors, artists, performers, teaching artists, students, staff, and volunteers. Funded activities should be held in a physically accessible venue, and program access and effective communication should 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.
  • National Historic Preservation Act and/or the National Environmental Policy Act Review: Recommended projects may be subject to the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and/or the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) compliance review. See more information about NHPA/NEPA review under Award Administration.


The application deadline for all projects is February 15, 2024. Artist Communities does not accept applications at the July deadline. Generally, an organization is limited to one application per year in the Grants for Arts Projects category.

Part 1 - Submit to Grants.govFebruary 15, 2024 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 PortalFebruary 21-28, 2024 at 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time
Earliest Announcement of Grant Award or RejectionNovember 2024
Earliest Start Date for Proposed ProjectJanuary 1, 2025