“The Arts . . . belong to all the people of the United States.” –1965 Enabling Legislation for the National Endowment for the Arts in the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act of 1965

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is proud to support the nation’s arts sector with grant opportunities so that together we can help everyone live more artful lives.

“Artful lives” is an inclusive concept encompassing everything from the creation, presentation, and consumption of art, to active arts engagement by all people through making, teaching, and learning in our everyday lives. The arts contribute to our individual well-being, the well-being of our communities, and to our local economies. The arts are crucial to helping us make sense of our circumstances from different perspectives.

Arts and cultural activities are supported by a vast ecosystem that includes artists, arts workers, audiences, learners, communities, foundations, and organizations at the local, state-wide, regional, and national level. As a federal agency, the NEA holds a unique place within this ecosystem: we are the only arts funder in the United States—public or private—that provides access to the arts in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. jurisdictions. Each year, we award thousands of grants nationwide for catalytic work in the arts, including grants to first-time applicants.

Grants for Arts Projects

Grants for Arts Projects (GAP) provides expansive funding opportunities to strengthen the nation’s arts and culture ecosystem.

Through project-based funding, the program supports opportunities for public engagement with the arts and arts education, for the integration of the arts with strategies promoting the health and well-being of people and communities, and for the improvement of overall capacity and capabilities within the arts sector.

We welcome applications from a variety of eligible organizations, including first-time applicants; from organizations serving rural, urban, suburban, and tribal communities of all sizes; and from organizations with small, medium, or large operating budgets.

We fund arts projects in the following disciplines: Artist Communities, Arts Education, Dance, Design, Folk & Traditional Arts, Literary Arts, Local Arts Agencies, Media Arts, Museums, Music, Musical Theater, Opera, Presenting & Multidisciplinary Works, Theater, and Visual Arts.

Go to Artistic Disciplines for detailed information about each discipline’s project types and application deadlines. Each discipline has identified the types of projects that are of greatest interest within this program, as well as the characteristics of competitive proposals to leverage the greatest opportunities for federal support to strengthen the nation’s arts and cultural ecosystem.  

Projects may be small, medium, or large, and may take place in any part of the nation’s 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. jurisdictions. A project may consist of one or more specific events or activities; it may be a new initiative or part of your organization’s regular season or activities. Organizations that undertake a single short-term program in a year could apply for that event, or they could identify certain components (such as the presentation of a particular artist and the associated activities) as their project. Organizations may apply for any or all phases of a project, from planning through implementation. A project should not encompass all of an organization’s activities or costs in a given year. The NEA does not fund general operating support.

Grants range from $10,000 to $100,000. All grants require a nonfederal cost share or match of at least 1 to 1. In addition, designated local arts agencies eligible to subgrant may request cost share/matching grants ranging from $30,000 to $150,000 for subgranting programs in the Local Arts Agencies discipline.

Areas of Particular Interest

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. We encourage projects that seek to accomplish any of the following:

  • Contribute to a healthy and thriving local, regional, state-wide, and national arts and culture ecosystem.
  • Elevate artists as integral and essential to a healthy and vibrant society.
  • Celebrate the nation’s creativity and/or cultural heritage.
  • Facilitate cross-sector collaborations that center the arts at the intersection of other disciplines, sectors, and industries.
  • Support arts projects with a focus on advancing the health and well-being of individuals and communities.
  • Invest in organizational capacity-building and leadership development for arts organizations, arts workers, and artists.
  • Support existing and new technology-centered creative practices across all artistic disciplines and forms, as well as build arts organizations’ capacity to serve a broad public by providing access, training, and other resources to engage with digital technologies.
  • Address, develop creative work exploring, or reflect on the impacts of artificial intelligence (AI), in a way that is consistent with valuing human artistry. Projects may include artistic work, from across all artistic disciplines, that improves the public’s awareness or understanding of the responsible use of AI in the field of arts.
  • Originate from or are in collaboration with the following constituencies encouraged by White House Executive Orders:
  • To mark the semiquincentennial of the United States of America, the NEA also seeks arts projects furthering its mission of fostering and sustaining an environment in which the arts benefit everyone in the United States. The NEA is partnering with America250 to encourage arts projects that educate and engage communities in dialogue about the past, present, and future of our nation. Project examples may include public art recognizing the milestone, collaborative community arts projects exploring the nation’s identity, or retrospectives of celebrated or overlooked American artists. Projects are welcome in all artistic disciplines.

Applying for and managing a federal grant is a significant undertaking and the process is competitive. We estimate that after registration, which can take several weeks to finalize, the process to draft and submit an application will take approximately 26 hours.

Our grant programs are not the only way to access funding within the nation’s arts and culture ecosystem. In some cases, you may wish to consider applying to local, state, regional, or philanthropic funders if their resources are better aligned with your work. 

Nondiscrimination Policies

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 (such as gender, disability, economic status, race, color, or national origin, including limited English proficiency); 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. 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.