GRANTS FOR ARTS PROJECTS: Arts Education

The NEA envisions a nation where every student is engaged and empowered through an excellent arts education. Arts education is vital to developing America's next generation of creative and innovative thinkers. Students who participate in the arts are better prepared to be fulfilled, responsible citizens who can make a profound impact on this world. NEA-supported research has shown that students from low socioeconomic backgrounds who have arts-rich experiences are more likely to achieve key positive outcomes—academically, socially, and civically—compared with their peers who lack access to arts experiences. Research also shows that students from low socioeconomic backgrounds, as well as students of color and students with disabilities, are more likely to attend schools with inadequate arts education programs.

Our funding is focused on providing arts education for all students and closing the opportunity gap for students for whom a high-quality arts education is so often out of reach. Projects are for 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). All students are served when each level of the system is supported. Applicants should consider what role their proposed project plays in reimagining systems with arts at the core, and the impact their project has on students.

Competitive projects will:

  • Increase student participation in arts education through the use of innovative strategies or scaled up proven methodologies.
  • Have national, regional, or field-wide significance. This includes local projects that can have significant impact within communities or are likely to demonstrate best practices for the field.

Arts Education projects may be in any artistic discipline. Projects for short-term arts exposure, arts appreciation, or intergenerational activity should not be submitted under Arts Education; rather, they should be submitted under the appropriate artistic discipline. If you have questions about whether you should apply under Arts Education or some other discipline, read "Choosing the Right Discipline for Youth Projects."

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. 

Projects may focus on reaching a particular constituency, however, they may not be exclusionary under national civil rights laws and policies prohibiting discrimination. This extends to hiring practices and audience engagement.

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

Deadlines

Grants for Arts Projects applications will be accepted at two deadlines. All project types (described below) are accepted at both deadlines. Apply at the deadline that most closely fits the schedule of activities or timeline of your proposed project. Generally, an organization is limited to one application per year in the Grants for Arts Projects category.

For projects with a distinct media arts production component: Your organization may be eligible to submit a second application under the July deadline for Media Arts.

First Grants for Arts Projects Deadline:

Part 1 - Submit to Grants.gov

February 10, 2022 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 15-22, 2022 at 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time

Earliest Announcement of Grant Award or Rejection

November 2022

Earliest Start Date for Proposed Project

January 1, 2023

Second Grants for Arts Projects Deadline:

Part 1 - Submit to Grants.gov

July 7, 2022 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 12-19, 2022 at 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time

Earliest Announcement of Grant Award or Rejection

April 2023

Earliest Start Date for Proposed Project

June 1, 2023

Projects include, but are not limited to:

Direct Learning Grants

Projects support arts instruction for students, generally pre-K through 12th grade, that result in increased knowledge and skills in the arts and may occur in-person or online. Activities may be offered during or outside the regular school day schedule by school districts, arts organizations, or non-arts organizations or agencies in partnership with artists and/or arts groups. Projects could take place in locations such as schools (including charter schools), arts organizations, community centers, faith-based organizations, makerspaces, public housing, tribal community centers, and/or juvenile justice facilities. Projects should engage students over an extended period of time; short-term projects will not be competitive.

Applicants applying in Direct Learning should convey how their projects are distinctive and deepen the arts learning experience for students by offering fresh insights and adding new value to the field. Applicants may provide examples of how they are using data to inform programmatic decision making, scaling up or expanding existing arts education services, incorporating effective community partnerships, or working within a larger system or community effort to benefit students in that system. Where appropriate, applicants should describe how the project is reflective of the cultural life of the participants.

Direct Learning projects should address each of the following elements:

Experience: Participants experience exemplary works of art -- in live form where possible -- to gain increased knowledge and skills in the art form.

Create: Informed by their experience in an art form, participants will create or perform art.

Assess: Student learning is measured and assessed in alignment with national or state arts education standards. Explain how you plan to measure increased knowledge and skills in the arts. Where appropriate, applicants also may describe project outcomes that use the arts to address youth development, college, career, or citizen readiness or affect change in school or community culture such as school attendance, graduation or recidivism rates. Explain how you plan to measure those outcomes. Before applying, review the reporting requirements for Arts Education

Professional Development Grants

Projects equip classroom teachers, arts specialists, teaching artists, school/district administrators, other educators, and community leaders with the knowledge, skills and confidence to effectively engage students in high quality, curriculum-based arts learning, and improve instruction.

Applicants applying for a Professional Development project should convey how their project is distinctive and offers fresh insights and new value to the field.

Applicants may provide examples of how they are using data to inform programmatic decision making, scaling up or expanding existing professional development projects, utilizing technology, establishing communities of practice, incorporating effective community partnerships, or working within a larger system or community effort to benefit students in that system, as appropriate.

Professional Development projects should include all of the following elements:

Experience: Participants have an experience in or through the arts.

Study: Participants are engaged in a sustained, in-depth course of study.

Evaluate: Participant learning is evaluated and the impact of the professional development on practice is measured. Before applying, review the reporting requirements for Arts Education 

Collective Impact Grants

Projects transform schools and communities by providing access and engagement in the arts for all students through collective, systemic approaches. Projects aim to ensure that all students across entire neighborhoods, schools, school districts, and/or states – in communities of all sizes – participate in the arts over time. Collective Impact grants are higher award amounts for longer term, large-scale projects that create lasting systems change tailored to community needs, fundamentally altering the ways in which the components and structures of a system behave and interact over time. Projects should have significant potential to be shared and customized in communities across the country.

See further details about this project type. Applicants considering submission of a Collective Impact application are strongly encouraged to contact Arts Education Specialist Denise Brandenburg at brandenburg@arts.gov.

Accessibility

Federal regulations require that all NEA-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.

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.

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

  • A project involving or occurring near or at a historic place, such as a property that is 50 years old or older, or a place listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
  • The commissioning and installation of temporary or permanent outdoor installations, including sculptures, statuary, banners, mixed media, painting or murals, as well as small structures such as benches, bus shelters, and produce stands.
  • An outdoor arts festival.
  • Permanent wayfinding signs and other similar artistic directional installations.
  • Maintenance or rehabilitation of landscapes and gardens.
  • In-kind replacement or repairs at a facility that is older than 50 years of age.
  • Design services and planning for projects that may affect historic properties.

See more information about NHPA/NEPA review under Award Administration.

Unallowable Activities/Costs

In addition to the "Unallowable Activities/Costs" section for all applicants, funding under the Arts Education discipline is not available for research on the value of arts education. Applicants may consider our research grant opportunity for support of research projects.

Choosing the Right Discipline for Youth Projects

Choose Arts Education as your project discipline if you are proposing a pre-K through 12th grade Professional Development project or a Direct Learning project that aligns with either national or state arts education standards. See more information on the National Core Arts standards

If the target audience is intergenerational, submit your application directly to one of the artistic disciplines rather than to Arts Education. Applications for projects for youth where the focus is exposure to or appreciation of the arts -- whether activities take place in school, after school, during the summer, or in community settings -- should be submitted directly to the appropriate artistic discipline in the Grants for Arts Projects category. Such projects may include performances by or exhibitions of professional artists. Arts events 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).

If your project is developed and managed by a Local Arts Agency, apply through the Local Arts Agencies discipline for these types of projects. However, Local Arts Agencies proposing a Collective Impact project should choose Arts Education as the project discipline.