The National Endowment for the Arts’ (NEA) State & Regional Partnership Agreement grants are awarded to the nation’s 56 state and jurisdictional arts agencies (SAAs), and the six regional arts organizations (RAOs) whose members comprise SAAs. Partnership support is also available to the national service organization for the state arts agencies.

The NEA is proud to support the nation’s arts sector so that together we can help everyone live more artful lives. “Artful lives” is an inclusive concept that encompasses 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 nation’s arts and culture ecosystem is comprised of the artists, arts workers, audiences, communities, and organizations at the local, state-wide, regional, and national level that advance a broad range of art forms expressing our nation’s rich and diverse cultural tapestry. The arts contribute to our individual well-being, the well-being of our communities, and to our local economies.

Partnership Agreement grant support enables SAAs and RAOs to respond to the needs identified through public planning undertaken with their constituents, partners, and stakeholders. This investment in locally-determined priorities extends federal reach and impact, translating national leadership into local benefit.

All SAAs, RAOs, and their national service organization must apply annually for this support. Approximately one third of all organizations submit a full application (“ON-YEAR”) while the remaining organizations submit abbreviated applications (“OFF-YEAR”). 

State Partnership Agreement grants include general funding for the execution of all aspects of the SAA’s strategic plan and designated funding for folk & traditional arts, arts education, and reaching underserved groups/communities. Participating SAAs also receive support to conduct the Poetry Out Loud program in their respective state.

Regional Partnership Agreement grants include general funding for the execution of all aspects of the RAO’s strategic plan and designated funding to support accessibility, folk & traditional arts, and artist-centered engagement

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National Endowment for the Arts, Regional, and State Partnership

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the Regional Arts Organizations, and the State Arts Agencies comprise a national network of arts funders, cultural program and service providers, and leaders in the arts and culture sector. We believe that each participating entity benefits from partnership in the network. We invest in the network through State and Regional Partnership Agreement grants in order to: 

  • Strengthen the cultural infrastructure of the United States,
  • Facilitate the creation and presentation of artistic works,
  • Provide the public with lifelong learning opportunities in the arts,
  • Enhance public engagement with, and access to, the arts,
  • Foster greater cultural understanding, and
  • Contribute to the enrichment of lives and communities throughout the nation.

We acknowledge that SAAs may choose to participate in the work of a regional arts organization of which it is not a member. SAAs may choose to shift membership from one regional arts organization to another, or may choose to withhold membership in an RAO. While recognizing that the ecology of the network benefits from change, we also believe that the network benefits from stability. To this end, shifts in state membership in RAOs must be preceded by at least one full year of planning by all of the agencies involved, including the NEA.

Multi-Year Approval

The NEA uses staggered, multi-year approval for Partnership Agreement grants. Organizations are required to submit a full application for approval every three years, and submit simplified applications during the interim years. Multi-year approval is subject to an organization’s continuing ability to carry out its approved plan. At the discretion of the NEA Chair, multi-year approval may be revoked if state support (required for the SAA’s cost share/match) is substantially reduced or if other circumstances threaten an organization’s ability to carry out its approved plan. See the Application Calendar for a full list of on and off year designations.

In recommending action on Partnership Agreement grant proposals, the NEA has a variety of options ranging from full three-year approval, more limited or contingent approval requiring interim response, to a determination not to fund a Partnership Agreement grant.

What Happens to Your Partnership Agreement Grant Application

Applications are evaluated according to the Review Criteria for their category.

Funding recommendations are considered by the National Council on the Arts, where they are reviewed in open session. The Council makes recommendations to the Chair of the NEA. The Chair reviews the Council’s recommendations and makes the final decision on all grant awards. Applicants are then notified of funding decisions.

Contact Lara Holman Garritano at or 202-682-5586 if you have questions about the application process.

NOTE: All recommended applications undergo a review to evaluate risk posed by the applicant prior to making a federal award. This may include past performance on grants, ability to meet reporting deadlines, compliance with terms and conditions, audit findings, etc.