The nation’s non-profit music ecosystem is a rich and diverse tapestry of ever-evolving music genres. The ecosystem includes professional and amateur performing ensembles and music presenting organizations, such as chamber music ensembles, choruses, early music programs, jazz ensembles, music festivals, and symphony orchestras, as well as other organizations whose work involves the creation, production, or enjoyment of music. This ecosystem also includes artist development programs, artist residencies, music engagement activities in diverse communities, music educators serving people of all ages, music service organizations and, of course, audiences. A relatively new and expanding component of this system focuses on the intersection between music, health, and well-being.

The NEA is committed to advancing a wide variety of music, from classical and contemporary music to jazz. Through our work, the NEA aims to strengthen the non-profit music ecosystem by supporting projects that have potential regional, national, or field-wide significance, and that nurture the interdependent relationships between and among stakeholders. Organizations of all types and sizes may apply for presentation, professional development, engagement, music and health, and service projects. The NEA is particularly interested in collaborative projects and innovative strategies. In addition to projects that focus on the standard repertoire, the NEA encourages the commissioning and performance of new American works.

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

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

Project Types

Applications must be for projects only. A project may consist of one or more specific events or activities. A project should not cover an entire season of programming as we do not fund seasonal or general operating support.  

We welcome and encourage applicants to review the FAQ’s and applicant requirements, and to contact the NEA’s Music staff to discuss potential proposed project types, many of which are listed below. 

Performances, Presentations, and Commissions

  • Public presentations of musical works 
  • Commissions and/or co-commissions 
  • Development and performances of new musical compositions and innovative works
  • Performances and educational engagements by NEA Jazz Masters that honor their work, history, style, and/or significance to jazz; and broaden public awareness of the art form
  • Domestic touring (NEA Music grants cannot support international tours) 
  • Festivals and other events (may include performances, lecture-demonstrations, audience talkbacks, master classes, and workshops)

 Professional Artistic Development

  • Professional artistic development and training programs for musicians such as conducting skills, mentorship, and career development
  • Residencies and workshops with artists

Engagement, Education, Recordings, and Technology

  • Community engagement projects that involve diverse communities and/or reach new audiences
  • Innovative methods of engaging audiences (may include collaborations with other organizations, new approaches that have the potential to increase the impact on audiences, artists, communities, or the field)
  • Recordings of works by American composers
  • Technology projects such as broadcasts or webcasts, online resources, and libraries that provide public access to musical works
  • Archival, documentation, and preservation projects
  • Education and related activities for youth, adults, and intergenerational groups
  • Projects that advance or sustain the creative work of, or careers of people with disabilities through employment, industry training, technical assistance, and organizational capacity-building
  • Projects that include planning, research, and training that supports an organization’s capacity to respond to current events

Music and Health/Well-being

  • Projects that demonstrate the connection between music and health, such as programs that serve aging adults with memory care needs, initiatives for underserved individuals with chronic health conditions, and those that aim to improve neurological health for children with autism, to name a few

Services to the Field

  • Services that reach a broad constituency of musicians, music educators, arts administrators, and music organizations, which may include workshops, conferences, publications, professional leadership development, technical assistance, or online resources
  • Projects that focus on the role of music in building social cohesion and benefiting the public good

Competitive proposals will address elements as stated in the application review criteria, and include some or all of the following characteristics:

  • Have regional, national, or field-wide significance. This includes local projects that can have significant impact within communities or are likely to demonstrate best practices for the music field;
  • Reflect their communities (e.g., the people who live there, their artists, cultural organizations, community organizations, etc.) and engage stakeholders in meaningful ways;
  • Include elements of sound “civic practice.” Organizations that invest in this work leverage their creative assets to address public priorities and community needs, and they often partner with organizations from different sectors with whom they build sustained relationships that lead to successful co-creation;
  • Focus on understanding and elevating music as a critical element of healthy communities, understanding the arts comprehensively and holistically, leveraging music’s intrinsic value, and also understanding how arts and culture can strengthen other fields (such as health, community development, and education, among others);
  • Demonstrate alignment with the NEA’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.

In some cases, a project that involves music 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
Organizations A - L: Court Burns, or 202-682-5590
Organizations M - Z: Anya Nykyforiak, or 202-682-5487
Jazz Projects: Xavier Boudreaux, or 202-682- 5786

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