GRANTS FOR ARTS PROJECTS: Local Arts Agencies

Across the United States, Local Arts Agencies (LAAs) provide a wide range of programs and services to help support and enable arts and culture at the local level. LAAs are intermediaries, serving artists and arts organizations, local residents, visitors, and other community partners. No two LAAs are alike ─ whether they serve a single village or town, a large city, county, or a multi-county or multi-state region. Some LAAs are departments of local government, others are nonprofit organizations, and still others are hybrids of the two.

Characteristics of Local Arts Agencies: LAAs may present and/or produce arts programming, commission and manage public art, administer grant programs, provide technical assistance to artists and arts organizations, and guide cultural planning efforts. Still others may own, manage, and/or operate cultural facilities and be actively engaged in community development, and partner with entities in tourism, social services, public education, housing, economic development, and public safety. All strive to enhance the quality of life in their communities by working to increase public access to the arts for the benefit of the community as a whole. 

The Local Arts Agencies discipline also welcomes applications for arts projects developed and managed by:

  • 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 and statewide service organizations that work primarily with a network of LAAs, as well as projects by organizations such as Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts or Arts and Business Councils.

Local Arts Agencies can apply through Grants for Arts Projects for support through two project types: Programming and Subgranting. The NEA’s legislation allows only State Arts Agencies, Regional Arts Organizations, and Local Arts Agencies to subgrant NEA funds. See LAA eligibility information below.

Subgranting awards are unique to Local Arts Agencies in the Grants for Arts Projects grant category. The subgranting project type recognizes the central role of grantmaking in the work of Local Arts Agencies, as well as the relationship between federal and local government. Local arts agencies are critical partners of the NEA, greatly extending federal reach and impact and translating national leadership into local benefit. Additional eligibility, documentation, and reporting requirements for subgranting applications are detailed in the Project Types section below.

All Grants for Arts Projects applications submitted by LAAs will be reviewed within the Local Arts Agencies discipline. See more information on education programs for youth in the Projects section below.

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.

Projects

Grants for Arts Projects applications will be accepted at two deadlines. All project types (described below) are accepted at both deadlines. Generally, an organization is limited to one application per year in the Grants for Arts Projects category.

The work of Local Arts Agencies can cover a wide range of activity, depending on the dynamics of the community. Project types eligible for support include Programming (including Services to the Field) and Subgranting, both of which are described in detail below. Applications for programming may request up to $100,000. Applications for subgranting may request up to $150,000 and include additional eligibility, documentation, and reporting requirements.

Deadlines

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

Project Types

Eligible project types include the full breadth of programming typically developed and managed by local arts agencies*, such as Programming (including Services to the Field) and Subgranting.

Programming (including Services to the Field)

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

Examples of Programming (including Services to the Field) 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, documentation, and preservation. See “Public Art Resources” for additional information.
  • The development and/or 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 planning efforts.
  • Projects and initiatives that build equity and extend the reach of the arts to communities that have been historically underserved.
  • Projects that advance and/or sustain the creative work of and/or careers for people with disabilities through employment, industry training, technical assistance, organization capacity-building, and infrastructure.
  • Education and related activities for youth, adults, intergenerational groups, and schools. 

If you are proposing an education project for youth, see "Choosing the Right Discipline for Youth Projects" to help you select between the Local Arts Agencies and Arts Education disciplines. Arts Education Collective Impact projects from Local Arts Agencies will be reviewed in the Arts Education discipline.

* See “Unallowable Activities/Costs” to make sure your project is eligible.

Subgranting

Designated local arts agencies (see Subgranting Documentation section below) eligible to subgrant may request $10,000 to $150,000 for subgranting programs, with a minimum cost share/match equal to the grant amount. Unlike recent stimulus grant programs (such as the NEA’s American Rescue Plan Local Arts Agencies subgranting program), subgrants through Grants for Arts Projects cannot support general operating expenses.

Local Arts Agencies may apply to subgrant NEA funds in support of programming and services to the field activities by arts organizations. Subgranting through Grants for Arts Projects may provide support for arts projects by arts organizations. If you are a designated Local Arts Agency that is allowed to subgrant and plan to subgrant to individuals, you should first review the Subgranting Terms and Conditions to confirm allowable uses of funds.

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.

Please be sure to review the Subgranting Terms and Conditions resource for additional information on the definition of subgranting, and requirements for subgrantee eligibility. This document outlines specific requirements related to subgranting federal funds, including guidance for review criteria and other compliance considerations.

The Subgranting project type includes additional eligibility, documentation, and reporting requirements.

Subgranting Eligibility:

In addition to the Grants for Arts Projects Applicant Eligibility requirements, to be eligible to subgrant NEA funds, a Local Arts Agency must 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 in the documentation outlined below.

Non-arts departments of local government (e.g., economic development, parks and recreation, or planning departments) cannot subgrant. In addition to the Applicant Eligibility section for all Grants for Arts Projects applicants, applicants for subgranting projects must have completed a three-year history of grantmaking in the arts prior to the application deadline. Organizations without a three-year history of grantmaking are encouraged to contact NEA staff to discuss alternative project types.

Subgranting Documentation:

The documents below should be submitted as Additional Items in your Grants for Arts Projects application, to include:

  1. A copy of the local government ordinance, resolution, charter, or contract that assigns your organization the authority to operate on your local government's behalf. Note: This document should demonstrate your eligibility to subgrant as a designated local arts agency.

    Note: We recognize that local governments may formalize this designation through a variety of formats and with various timelines. Applicants with questions about designation documentation should contact locals@arts.gov for more information. Allowances may be made upon request for documentation to be submitted post-deadline.

    In that case, applicants should contact locals@arts.gov to confirm a request for the following timeline:

    • Upon request, applicants to the February 10, 2022 Grants for Arts Projects deadline may submit designation documentation no later than July 31, 2022.
    • Upon request, applicants to the July 7, 2022 Grants for Arts Projects deadline may submit designation documentation no later than December 31, 2022.
  2. The application guidelines for the grant program for which support is being requested.
  3. A profile of the applicant pool (no more than one page). Detail the number of applicants, the artistic disciplines represented, and the range of organizational budget sizes.
  4. A list of most recent grantees including grant amount and one-sentence project description.
  5. A description of the review process and criteria used, including a list of most recent or proposed panelists. Note: In accordance with the Arts Endowment’s enabling legislation, you must include "artistic excellence and artistic merit" in the review criteria used to make the subgrant awards.

Subgranting Reporting:

Subgranting applicants that are recommended for funding will have additional reporting requirements as grantees, including but not limited to the below. For a complete understanding of grantee requirements, see the Subgranting Terms and Conditions resource.

  • Require their grantees to provide a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) before a grant can be made.
  • Report subgrants of $35,000 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 information on how to apply, see “How to Apply” on the left.

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.