Local Arts Agencies (LAAs) provide a wide range of programs and services to strengthen the arts infrastructure in nearly every county across the United States. LAAs play a central role within an ecosystem of creative workers, residents, visitors, arts and cultural organizations, local municipalities, and other partners. They are consistently evolving and innovating to meet the needs of their communities—whether they serve a single village or a multi-state region.

LAAs may be a department of local government, a non-profit organization, or a public-private partnership. They may present or produce arts programming, commission and manage public art, administer grant programs, provide technical assistance to artists and arts organizations, and guide cultural and disaster planning efforts. Often, LAAs are actively engaged in community development through partnership with entities in tourism, social services, business, housing, transportation, public education, and public safety. Local arts agencies are critical partners to the NEA, greatly extending the reach and impact of federal dollars throughout our nation and particularly in rural areas where there may be a lack of arts resources and philanthropy.

Through our work, the NEA aims to strengthen the Local Arts Agencies ecosystem by welcoming applications for arts projects developed and managed by:

  • Arts agencies that are units of city or county government or officially designated to operate as arts agencies on behalf of their local government;
  • Non-arts departments of local government, including but not limited to economic development, parks and recreation, or planning departments. For the purposes of these guidelines, local governments are defined as counties, parishes, cities, towns, villages, or federally recognized tribal governments; 
  • Designated special districts, such as creative, arts and entertainment, or cultural districts;
  • National or statewide service organizations that work primarily with a network of LAAs. 

NOTE: Applications from organizations such as volunteer legal organizations and business councils should be submitted to the Presenting & Multidisciplinary Works discipline. 

Competitive projects will address elements as stated in the application review criteria, and may include one or more of the following:

  • Strong partnerships that ensure accessible and relevant programming;
  • Engagement with artists, administrators, and partners that represent a wide range of life experiences, education and income levels, racial and ethnic backgrounds, cultures, disability perspectives, and geographic areas;
  • Programming that incorporates the arts into one or more different sectors in an effort to strengthen civic infrastructure;
  • Artist-centered services, including capacity-building opportunities and grant programs.

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

Project Types

Project types are divided into two categories eligible for support: Programming and Services to the Field and Subgranting. Applicants may propose a Programming/Services to the Field project OR a Subgranting project, but should not submit an application combining the two. 


Cost share/matching grants range from $10,000 to $100,000, with a minimum cost share/match equal to the grant amount. 

Programming and Services to the Field applications support activities undertaken by the applicant organization. Examples include, but are not limited to: 

  • The presentation of artists, artworks, and arts programming; 
  • The commissioning of artists for the creation of new work; 
  • Projects related to public art, such as creation, installation, and preservation;
  • The management of cultural facilities or artist residency projects;
  • Services to advance the professional skills of artists and arts organizations, such as convenings, technical assistance, and professional development opportunities;
  • Coordinated arts services, such as community-wide marketing campaigns, cross-sector partnerships, or cultural and/or disaster planning efforts;
  • Projects and initiatives that advance equity and extend the reach of the arts to communities that have been historically underserved;
  • Projects that support the work of artists with disabilities through employment, industry training, technical assistance, and organization capacity-building;
  • Education and related activities for youth, adults, intergenerational groups, and schools;  
  • Projects incorporating the arts to advance the health and well-being of individuals and communities.


Designated local arts agencies eligible to subgrant (see “subgranting eligibility” section below) may request $30,000 to $150,000 for subgranting programs, with a minimum cost share/match equal to the grant amount.

Local Arts Agencies may apply to subgrant NEA funds in support of arts programming and services to the field undertaken by arts organizations other than the applicant. For the purposes of NEA subgranting awards, a Local Arts Agency subgranting federal funds is considered a “passthrough” entity. A subgrant relationship exists when NEA grant funds are regranted to subgrantees for activities conducted independently of the Local Arts Agency grantee. A Local Arts Agency grantee may not subgrant NEA funds to organizations through a fiscal sponsor. Before applying, all applicants submitting subgranting projects should thoroughly review the Subgranting Terms and Conditions. This document includes:

  • Additional information on the definition of subgranting
  • Requirements for subgrantee eligibility
  • Specific requirements related to subgranting federal funds, including guidance for review criteria and other compliance issues
  • Information for LAAs planning to subgrant to individuals 

The Subgranting project type includes additional eligibility, documentation, and reporting requirements, as outlined below:

Subgranting Eligibility & Documentation: 

In addition to the Grants for Arts Projects Applicant Eligibility requirements, to be eligible to subgrant NEA funds, a Local Arts Agency must:

  1. Be an arts agency that is a unit of city or county government or officially designated to operate as an arts agency on behalf of its local government. This designation will be demonstrated by uploading appropriate documentation. Additional information on designation documentation is included in the Application Instructions, which can be found in the “How to Apply” section on the left.
  2. Have a history of grantmaking that occurred anytime within the ten-year period immediately preceding this program’s application deadline (i.e., February 15, 2014 if you are applying to the February 2024 deadline, or July 11, 2014 if you are applying to the July 2024 deadline). Organizations that do not meet this requirement are encouraged to contact NEA staff to discuss alternative project types. 

Subgranting Reporting

Subgranting applicants recommended for funding will have additional reporting requirements as grantees, including but not limited to, the following:  

  • Require their grantees to provide a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) before a grant can be made. 
  • Report subgrants of $30,000 or more in federal funds to the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act Subaward Reporting System (FSRS). 
  • Ensure that all subawards made with federal or cost share/matching funds are in compliance with the General Terms and Conditions for an award from the NEA, including requirements for pass-through entities as provided for under 2 CFR 200.331 and the NHPA/NEPA and accessibility requirements described below.

For a complete understanding of grantee requirements, see the Subgranting Terms and Conditions.

In some cases, a project that involves local arts agencies 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:
Eleanor Billington, or 202-682-5728

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.


Grants for Arts Projects applications will be accepted at two deadlines. All project types (described above) 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.

First Grants for Arts Projects Deadline:

Part 1 - Submit to

February 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 Portal

February 21-28, 2024 at 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time

Earliest Announcement of Grant Award or Rejection

November 2024

Earliest Start Date for Proposed Project

January 1, 2025

Second Grants for Arts Projects Deadline:

Part 1 - Submit to

July 11, 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 Portal

July 16-23, 2024 at 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time

Earliest Announcement of Grant Award or Rejection

April 2025

Earliest Start Date for Proposed Project

June 1, 2025