GRANTS FOR ARTS PROJECTS: Artistic Disciplines

We fund arts projects through 15 different subcategories, based on artistic discipline or field, which we broadly refer to as “disciplines.” Applicants will apply to a specific discipline area. At the links below, each discipline has outlined their broader arts ecosystem, the types of projects they encourage, and guidance on characteristics of competitive proposals.

Select the discipline that most closely aligns with your project activities. The short descriptions on this page will help point you in the right direction, however applicants should review the linked discipline page in full before submitting an application. Contact us if you have any questions about which discipline is most appropriate for your project.

  • Artist Communities: Artist residencies that provide dedicated space, time, and resources to artists for the creation or development of new work
  • Arts Education: Projects for pre-K-12 students, the educators and artists who support them, and the schools and communities that serve them (see below for more guidance on selecting the right discipline for educational projects).
  • Dance: Dance projects in all genres, including creation of work, presentation and touring, residencies, archive/preservation of dance, services to the field, and education projects
  • Design: Projects including architecture, communications and graphic design, fashion design, historic preservation, industrial and product design, interior design, inclusive design, landscape architecture, rural design, social impact design, and urban design
  • Folk & Traditional Arts: Project activities in folk and traditional arts include culturally- or community-centered artistic traditions, represented by a wide-range of genres including, but not limited to, music, dance, crafts, foodways, dress/adornment, occupation, ceremony, and oral expression, such as stories, poetry, and language
  • Literary Arts: Projects supporting publishing, distribution, and/or promotion of literary content, as well as literary arts programming and services to the field
  • Local Arts Agencies: Projects by arts commissions, arts councils, departments of cultural affairs; national or statewide service organizations partnering with local arts agencies; and arts projects by local government and special districts 
  • Media Arts: Projects featuring film, cinema, audio, broadcast, creative code and computation, interactive media, and emergent practices at the intersection of arts and digital technology
  • Museums: Museums projects including exhibitions, care of collections, conservation, commissions, public art works, community engagement, and education activities
  • Music: Music and music presentation projects in all genres including classical, contemporary, and jazz
  • Musical Theater: Musical theater and musical theater presentation projects
  • Opera: Opera and opera presentation projects
  • Presenting & Multidisciplinary Works: Projects presenting works from across disciplines, multidisciplinary works, and/or interdisciplinary artists
  • Theater: Theater and theater presentation projects
  • Visual Arts: Projects supporting visual artists and projects in all genres

Application instructions for each discipline can be found in How to Apply.

In limited cases, staff may transfer an application to a discipline other than the one that was selected by the applicant to ensure appropriate panel review. However, we cannot guarantee that an application will be transferred in all cases where this might be desirable.

Choosing the Right Discipline for Educational Projects

All GAP disciplines welcome educational projects. The Arts Education discipline is specifically geared toward pre-K-12 students (Direct Learning), the educators and artists who support them (Professional Development), and the schools and communities that serve them (Collective Impact). Projects submitted to Arts Education must incorporate robust measures to assess student and/or teacher learning in arts education. Assessment of student learning should align with state or national arts standards.

Projects for short-term arts enrichment or exposure to the arts for youth, adults, and intergenerational audiences are welcome in the other disciplines. Applicants should select the discipline that most closely matches their project activities. Arts events in all disciplines may be accompanied by ancillary learning activities (e.g., study guides for teachers and students, artists' visits prior to or following the event, workshops, lecture-demonstrations, or master classes).

Select the Arts Education discipline for:

  • Pre-K through 12th grade Direct Learning or Professional Development projects that align with either national or state arts education standards, and include robust student and/or teacher assessment.
  • Collective Impact projects intended to transform schools and communities by providing access and engagement in the arts to students through collective, systemic approaches.
  • Projects from Local Arts Agencies proposing a Collective Impact project.

Select one of the other disciplines for:

  • Youth programs with a focus on exposure to or appreciation of the arts—including activities that take place in school, after school, during the summer, or in community settings. Such projects may include the work of professional artists and/or teaching artists.
  • Youth programs that do not include robust student assessment.
  • Programs serving adults and intergenerational groups.

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.