From the typeface on this page to the neighborhood in which you live, every object and place is the result of design. Design surrounds us and has a direct impact on the quality of our lives. The NEA supports design projects that have a public benefit and advance the field of design. In addition, we invite projects that respond to current events. Funding can support various design disciplines including architecture, communications and graphic design, fashion design, historic preservation, industrial and product design, interior design, landscape architecture, inclusive design, rural design, social impact design, and urban design.

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 group or demographic; however, they may not be exclusionary under Federal civil rights laws and policies prohibiting discrimination. This extends to hiring practices, artist selection processes, and audience engagement. For additional information, refer to this archived webinar: Things to Know Before You Apply: Federal Civil Rights and Your Grants Application.

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

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

Project Types

The Design program supports projects across a wide array of design types, in two main areas of work.

Projects that have a public benefit, including:

  • Commissions and production of new work, particularly projects that hire and/or provide direct fees to artists and designers.
  • Exhibitions, tours, publications, or websites that provide new insights about specific designed objects, places, designers, or design history or movements.
  • Historic and community preservation projects that promote awareness of cultural and historic assets, or adaptive reuse of historic properties for cultural and arts uses.
  • Design and community planning for new arts/cultural buildings, districts, neighborhoods, public spaces, landscapes, or housing for artists or designers.
  • Community planning, charrettes, and design-related activities that promote economic and cultural vitality; involve community-based partnerships; foster community interaction; enhance the unique characteristics of a place; and/or assist underserved groups/communities that have rich and dynamic cultural identities.
  • Artistically excellent design projects that foster positive social impact, employ inclusive design concepts, or foster collaboration between design and non-arts disciplines.
  • Design competitions. (Note: Cash prizes are unallowable project costs; stipends/fees are acceptable costs.)
  • Projects that reach broader and more diverse groups through digital or emergent technology, including hybrid (in-person and digital) programming activities.

Projects that advance or support the design field, including:

  • Conferences, symposia, and other gatherings that promote innovation in design practice or design education, or facilitate collaborations between design and non-arts disciplines.
  • Workshops or residencies for designers.
  • Documentation and preservation of historic design work.
  • Design research or collaboration projects that examine current practice, propose design solutions for pressing problems, or advance understanding of the design field.
  • Innovative technology projects or new media projects meant to advance the design field or design theory.
  • Education, mentorship, apprenticeship, and outreach activities that teach design practices to American communities.
  • Projects that advance and/or sustain the creative work and/or careers for aspiring designers through employment, industry training, technical assistance, and organizational capacity-building.
  • Projects that advance or sustain the creative work or careers of people with disabilities through employment, technical assistance, and organization capacity-building.
  • Projects that support emerging fields of design.
  • Innovative festivals, tours, or programming that raise awareness of design.

Note: Applicants should be aware that we do not fund capital campaigns, construction costs, or the purchase or leasing of sites or structures, although we can support the design process all the way through construction documentation.

We also do not fund design thinking projects that are not related to or in service of promoting the arts or design as a field. Museums and visual arts venues presenting a design exhibition or installation should contact staff to determine whether to apply under Design or under Museums or Visual Arts.

Contact us if you have further questions.

If your project is developed and managed by local government, see the Local Arts Agencies description to help you in your discipline selection.


The application deadline for all projects is February 9, 2023. (Design does not accept applications at the July deadline.)

For Design projects with a distinct technology-focused media arts 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

February 9, 2023 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 14-21, 2023 at 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time

Earliest Announcement of Grant Award or Rejection

November 2023

Earliest Start Date for Proposed Project

January 1, 2024