The NEA is committed to nurturing and advancing operatic artistry to enrich communities large and small across the nation. Opera is a multifaceted art form that may include singing, acting, orchestral and chamber music, choreography, dance, scenic design, costume design, and lighting design to convey a story or dramatic concept.

Organizations of all types and sizes are encouraged to apply, including professional opera companies, opera festivals, music festivals, presenting organizations, professional artist development programs, and other organizations that commission, develop, or produce fully-staged operatic works and/or concert opera.

The NEA supports the commissioning, development, presentation, and professional recordings of new or existing operatic works; professional artist development programs and artist residencies; community engagement projects that involve diverse communities; education activities for people of all ages; and projects by service organizations. Applications for collaborations and innovative projects that engage audiences in new and meaningful ways are encouraged.

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.

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

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


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.

For Opera projects with a distinct media arts component: Your organization may be eligible to submit a second application under the July deadline for Media Arts.

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.


First Grants for Arts Projects Deadline:

Part 1 - Submit to

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

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

We welcome and encourage applicants to contact the discipline staff to discuss potential proposed project types, many of which are listed below.

Commissions, Premieres, Performances, and Presentations

  • Creation of new operatic works, especially those that are innovative or that cross genres (including commissions, co-commissions, residencies, and workshops with artists).
  • Premieres of operas.
  • Repeat productions of previously-premiered 21st century operatic works.
  • New productions of traditional and contemporary operas.
  • Remounting of existing opera productions.
  • Concert opera (performances that are not fully staged). Contact the Opera staff before preparing a concert opera application.
  • Domestic touring.
  • Opera festivals and other events (may include performances, lecture-demonstrations, audience talk-backs, master classes, and workshops).

Professional Artist Development

  • Post-conservatory professional artist development and training programs for musicians, including vocal coaching, diction, language, acting, stage movement, conducting, mentorship, and career development.
  • Creative artist residency programs, including those for composers, librettists, conductors, and directors.
  • Residencies and workshops with artists.

Recordings, Technology, Education, and Engagement

  • Recordings of opera works (by international or American composers).
  • Technology projects such as broadcasts or webcasts (including simulcast performances and online resources that provide public access to opera).
  • Archival, documentation, and preservation projects.
  • Education and related activities for youth, adults, and intergenerational groups.
  • Community engagement projects that involve diverse communities and/or reach new audiences.
  • Projects that include planning, research, and training that supports an organization’s capacity to respond to current events.
  • Innovative methods of engaging audiences including collaborations with other organizations, and new approaches that have the potential to increase the impact on audiences, artists, communities, and/or the opera field.
  • Opera performances and activities in public spaces intended to foster community interaction and/or enhance the unique characteristics of a community.
  • 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.

Services to the Opera Field

  • Services to the opera field that reach a broad constituency of musicians (including singers, composers, and librettists), music educators, arts administrators, and/or volunteers. This may include, but is not limited to:

    • Arts and arts-related workshops, conferences, and convenings.
    • Leadership training and other professional development opportunities for artists and arts administrators.
    • Projects that include planning, capacity building, performance measurements, and training that supports an organization’s ability to respond to current events.
    • Archiving, preservation, and documentation projects.

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


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.