We Fund

We fund nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3), U.S. organizations; units of state or local government; or federally recognized tribal communities or tribes with small, medium, or large budgets, and from rural to urban communities.

We fund arts projects only.

  • A project may consist of one or more specific events or activities; it may be a part of an applicant's regular season or activities. Organizations that undertake a single short-term project in a year could apply for that event, or they could identify certain components (such as the presentation of a key artist and the associated activities) as their project. Describe the activities for which our support is requested, and provide specific information on the artists, productions, venues, distribution plans, etc., that will be involved.
  • Organizations may apply for any or all phases of a project, from its planning through its implementation.
  • A project does not have to be new. Excellent existing projects can be just as competitive as new activities.
  • Projects do not need to be large. We welcome small projects that can make a difference in a community or field.
  • Projects may be in any of the Arts Endowment’s artistic disciplines.

We Do Not Fund

Under these guidelines, funding is not available for:

  • General operating or seasonal support.
  • Direct grants to individuals. (We encourage applicant organizations to involve individual artists in all possible ways.)
  • Awards to individuals or organizations to honor or recognize achievement.
  • Cash reserves and endowments.
  • Costs for the creation of new organizations.
  • Construction, purchase, or renovation of facilities. (Design fees, preparing space for an exhibit, installation or de-installation of art, and community planning are eligible. However, no National Endowment for the Arts or cost share/matching funds may be directed to the costs of physical construction or renovation or toward the purchase costs of facilities or land.)
  • Commercial (for-profit) enterprises or activities, including concessions, food, T-shirts, artwork, or other items for resale. This includes online or virtual sales/shops.
  • Subgranting or regranting, except for state arts agencies, regional arts organizations, or local arts agencies that are designated to operate on behalf of their local governments or are operating units of city or county government. (See more information on subgranting.)
  • Costs to bring a project into compliance with federal grant requirements. This includes environmental or historical assessments or reviews and the hiring of individuals to write assessments or reviews or to otherwise comply with the National Environmental Policy Act and/or the National Historic Preservation Act.
  • Individual elementary or secondary schools -- charter, private, or public -- directly. Schools may participate as partners in projects for which another eligible organization applies. Local education agencies, school districts, and state and regional education agencies are eligible. If a single school also is a local education agency, as is the case with some charter schools, the school may apply with documentation that supports its status as a local education agency.
  • Projects that replace arts instruction provided by an arts specialist.
  • Generally, courses in degree-granting institutions.
  • Literary publishing that does not focus on contemporary literature and/or writers.
  • Generally, publication of books, exhibition of works, or other projects by the applicant organization's board members, faculty, or trustees.
  • Generally, exhibitions of, and other projects that primarily involve, single, individually-owned, private collections.
  • Projects for which the selection of artists or art works is based upon criteria other than artistic excellence and merit. Examples include festivals, exhibitions, or publications for which no jury/editorial/curatorial judgment has been applied.
  • Expenditures related to compensation to foreign nationals and/or travel to or from foreign countries when those expenditures are not in compliance with regulations issued by the U.S. Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control. For further information, see or contact our Office of Grants Management at
  • Project costs supported by any other federal funding. This includes federal funding received either directly from a federal agency (e.g., National Endowment for the Humanities, Housing and Urban Development, National Science Foundation, or an entity that receives federal appropriations such as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting or Amtrak); or indirectly from a pass-through organization such as a state arts agency, regional arts organization, or a grant made to another entity.
  • Social activities such as receptions, parties, galas.
  • Alcoholic beverages.
  • Gifts and prizes, including cash prizes as well as other items (e.g., electronic devices, gift certificates) with monetary value.
  • Contributions and donations to other entities.
  • General miscellaneous or contingency costs.
  • Fines and penalties, bad debt costs, deficit reduction.
  • Lobbying, including activities intended to influence the outcome of elections or influence government officials regarding pending legislation, either directly or through specific lobbying appeals to the public.
  • Voter registration drives and related activities.
  • Marketing expenses that are not directly related to the project.
  • Audit costs that are not directly related to a single audit (formerly known as an A-133 audit).
  • Rental costs for home office workspace owned by individuals or entities affiliated with the applicant organization.
  • The purchase of vehicles.
  • Visa costs paid to the U.S. government.
  • Costs incurred before the beginning or after the completion of the official period of performance.

All applicants should carefully review the Assurance of Compliance and Appendix A of our General Terms and Conditions (GTC) which detail other requirements that govern awards.