GRANTS FOR ARTS PROJECTS: Arts Education Collective Impact Grants

The following information relates to the Grants for Arts Projects: Arts Education Collective Impact project type. To read the full guidelines, go to the Program Description and select Arts Education from the dropdown.

The National Endowment for the Arts’ Collective Impact grants 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.

Complex logic model graphic

View the Arts Endowment’s Logic Model for Collective Impact: JPG | PDF

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.

These projects should embrace the following principles, which may be ongoing and occur at any point during the project:

  • Data: Arts education data initiatives are critical to ensuring that all students have the opportunity to participate in the arts. Data initiatives provide transparency about young people’s participation in arts education, illustrate the inequities of arts offerings in schools and communities, and inform decision-making. In alignment with the Arts Education Data Toolkit, developed as part of the agency’s State Data Infrastructure Project for Arts Education, steps for creating a robust arts education data initiative include:

    GETTING STARTED. Define your goals, identify the data you need, understand your policy environment, gauge your capacity, identify your partners and make the case for your work.

    MAKING EFFECTIVE DATA REQUESTS. Determine what data to request and define your questions as specifically as possible.

    PROCESSING THE DATA. Working with key stakeholders and/or a research partner, analyze the data you receive and identify trends.

    REPORTING THE DATA. Identify the target audiences for your information and what you want to report, choose a reporting mechanism, and create interactive data websites and visualizations.

    USING THE DATA TO PROMOTE BETTER DECISION-MAKING. Use your data to set measurable goals for improvement, create communications tools specific to your state’s conditions, recruit new champions and allies and troubleshoot along the way.

    ARTS EDUCATION DATA TOOLKIT WEBINAR. On March 24, 2021, Arts Endowment Arts Education staff, in partnership with the Education Commission of the States, conducted a Zoom webinar on the Arts Education Data Toolkit.

  • Partnership: Key partners from different sectors share a long-term commitment to addressing inequities in arts education through systems change and bring their knowledge and skills to unearth the best approaches to ensure a quality arts education for all students. Priority will be given to projects that include a managing partner or group of partners that acts as the coordinating entity, and involve at least three cross-sector organizations, one of which is an arts/cultural organization. Partners may include arts councils, units of state or local government, school systems, funders, businesses, community service organizations, economic development organizations, trade associations, parent/student networks, social service organizations, or institutions of higher education. Partners should authentically represent the populations served and their communities.
  • Planning: A logic model and strategic plan present a common vision, goals, coordinated strategies, and benchmarks to evaluate goals for system-wide arts education implementation. This should include a description of each partner's role in achieving the common vision, as well as plans for communication among the partners and sustainability. The planning process should authentically incorporate the voices of the populations served and their communities.
  • Shared Measurement: A shared measurement system is an evaluation system that provides agreement on how success will be measured and reported and assesses the progress of each project partner's work towards common outcomes—increasing student participation in arts education and, as appropriate, societal well-being for students.
  • Programming: Activities support the implementation of the strategic plan. Programming may include convening partners, stakeholders, services to students, professional development, and evaluation.

Collective Impact projects are multi-year, ongoing, initiatives. Specify in the application which phase(s) of the project are included in the request for National Endowment for the Arts funding. All phases of a project – data, cross-sector partnerships, planning, shared measurement and programming -- are eligible for support.

If the collective impact project is part of a larger, ongoing, system-wide effort to benefit students and communities, indicate that in your application.

All project costs for the project phase included in the Project Budget must be incurred within the period of performance.

Identify the project as either Emerging or Sustaining.

Emerging projects are in the initial phase of work to establish an arts education plan. Activities may include cultivation of cross-sector partners, convenings, creation of an arts education data initiative, collective impact consultation, and/or creation of a logic model and an arts education strategic plan, or any other activities that support the development of a plan.

Sustaining projects have an arts education plan in place and may continue work from the emerging phase, be in the programming or evaluation stage, or scale up proven efforts to increase arts education access. Activities may include adopting or aligning school district or community policies to support arts education goals, providing artist-based residencies based on priority needs of the plan, providing professional development for educators based on priority needs of the plan, trainings to use data for decision making, data reporting to measure progress towards arts education goals, evaluation of the quality of arts instruction, outcomes evaluation arts education goals, external evaluation of collective impact progress and systems change, or any other activities that support the implementation of the strategic plan. These projects must demonstrate how they are disseminating project information to the fields of arts education, public education, and beyond.

Collective Impact Resources:

See a list of National Endowment for the Arts Arts Education Collective Impact grants: https://www.arts.gov/sites/default/files/collective-impact-grants-updated-May2021.pdf

National Endowment for the Arts webinars about Collective Impact:

NEA Arts Education Webinar: Collective Impact, Part 1

NEA Arts Education Webinar: Collective Impact, Part 2

NEA Arts Education Webinar: Collective Impact, Part 3

NEA Arts Education Webinar: Collective Impact Trends

Leveraging Change: Increasing Access to Arts Education in Rural Areas

Arts Education Data Toolkit

Using State Data Systems to Report Information on Arts Education

50-State Comparison of Arts Education Data and Reporting  

Case Studies on Arts Education Data Initiatives in California, New Jersey, and Texas

Data Lessons and Resources for the Arts Education Field

For information on how to apply, see “How to Apply” on the left.

Before applying, review the reporting requirements for Arts Education.