For the First Time in its History, the National Endowment for the Arts Awards Grants for Arts Research

Washington, DC -- For the first time in the 47-year history of the National Endowment for the Arts, the agency's Office of Research & Analysis will award grants to 15 research projects to investigate the value and impact of the arts in the United States. These grants, totaling $250,000, support projects designed to use existing, high-quality datasets to examine novel and significant research questions about the arts. The grantees are from 11 states and their awards range from $10,000 to $30,000.

The recommended projects explore three different areas:

  • the impact of the arts on local and/or national economic development,
  • the health and viability of arts and cultural organizations,
  • the links between arts engagement and cognitive, social, civic, and behavioral outcomes.

At the conclusion of each project, the researchers will submit a report of their findings, methods, and data sources for posting on the NEA's website,

"In order to create well-designed and responsive arts programs and policies, we need to have solid, research-based evidence about how art works," said NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman. "We are excited to learn what these projects will reveal and look forward to sharing each of them broadly with the American public."

NEA Director of Research & Analysis Sunil Iyengar said, "I'm pleased that in addition to publishing research reports and hosting research and policy conferences, the NEA can support the work of other researchers dedicated to promoting a better understanding of the value and impact that the arts can provide for our country's citizens."   

Examples of projects supported with these grants are:

  • Researchers with the California Alliance for Arts Education will conduct a statewide analysis of the access, equity, quantity, and diversity of arts education in California schools. The report will detail the status of arts education in California's K-12 public schools, explore five-year trends, and investigate how California compares with other states and nationwide.
  • Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin will use data from the Urban Institute's National Survey of Nonprofit Governance to see whether the racial/ethnic and gender composition of arts organizations' boards has had an impact on the diversity of populations served by those groups.
  • At Williams College, researchers will use cutting-edge economic models pioneered in studies by non-arts sectors to demonstrate a causal relationship between spending patterns of arts and cultural organizations and the economic well-being of U.S. cities.

Please see full descriptions of the grants.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. To join the discussion on how art works, visit the NEA at



Sally Gifford

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The NEA's Office of Research & Analysis publishes a monthly post -- "Taking Note" --on the  Art Works blog. Each post looks at a current research topic, publication, or event.

Recent posts include:

Lifting the Lid on New Growth Theory and its Application to Cultural Policy

Accounting for Audience Impact:What Were They Thinking (and Feeling)!?

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Please see all the Taking Notes posts