National Endowment for the Arts Announces Guidelines Available for Fiscal Year 2015 Funding Programs

Arts Works and Challenge America Fast-Track have February, May, and July 2014 Deadlines
night photo of Waterfire festival

Waterfire Providence is a multidisciplinary urban arts festival and public art project in Providence, Rhode Island that received a $50,000 Art Works grant to expand festival activities.

Photo by Thomas Payne

Washington, DC—The National Endowment for the Arts is pleased to announce that application guidelines are now available for Art Works and Challenge America Fast-Track at the NEA's website, These guidelines are for projects anticipated to take place in 2015. The Art Works and Challenge America Fast-Track programs constitute 75 percent of the NEA's annual direct grantmaking.

Art Works is the NEA's largest funding category, supporting the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, and promotes public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and the strengthening of communities through the arts. In fiscal year 2013, the NEA supported more than 1,640 grants totaling $50 million through this category. Depending on the type of project in the application, the Art Works deadline is either February 20, 2014 or July 24, 2014.

Challenge America Fast-Track offers support primarily to small and mid-sized organizations for projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations—those whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability. These grants feature an expedited review process with approximately six months from application to notification. In fiscal year 2013, Challenge America funded 153 projects totaling $1.53 million. The deadline for Challenge America Fast-Track is May 8, 2014.

Guidelines and application materials are in the Apply for a Grant section.

The impact of the NEA's direct grants is significant. Projects funded in fiscal year 2013 are anticipated to:

·   Reach more than 38 million people attending live arts events through NEA-supported programs (exclusive of television and radio broadcast audiences), including nearly 7 million children and youth

·   Impact almost 16,000 communities engaged in NEA-supported projects, many benefiting from touring and outreach initiatives

·   Generate roughly $600 million in matching support, which is more than a 9:1 ratio in matching federal funds, far exceeding the required 1:1 match  

·   Include partnerships between grantees and more than 6,500 organizations such as schools, colleges and universities, religious organizations, non-profit and for-profit organizations, foundations, and other government entities


The NEA encourages organizations to consider applying through Art Works for funding to support innovative collaborations that

·   Strengthen the field of community arts journalism and arts criticism, or

·   Create new art out of partnerships between artists and those from sectors outside of the arts (e.g., science)

Arts Journalism

The NEA believes that both the arts and arts journalism are key to building vibrant and creative communities. Upon completion of the Knight/NEA Community Arts Journalism Challenge in 2011, the NEA folded support for these projects into the Art Works category, supporting eight arts journalism projects totaling $340,000 over the past year.

  Go to the sidebar for more information.

  Arts, Science, Technology

  Whether translating scientific data into visual, accessible forms or bringing methods of scientific inquiry to art-making, the worlds of arts, science, and technology are increasingly intersecting in exciting ways, an intersection that the NEA is interested in encouraging.

  Go to the sidebar for more information.


In order to offer potential applicants the highest level of technical assistance, the NEA has scheduled webinars covering the basics of the Art Works funding category, how to apply to the NEA, how to select work samples, and how to prepare a strong application. After each presentation, there will be time for Q and A with NEA staff. The schedule follows with all times Eastern Standard.

Artist Communities, January 29, 1:00-2:00

Arts Education, January 14, 2:30-3:30

Dance, January 22, 2:30-3:30

Design, January 14, 1:00-2:00

Folk & Traditional Arts, January 29, 4:00-5:00

Literature, January 15, 2:30-3:30

Local Arts Agencies, January 21, 2:30-3:30

Media Arts, January 15, 1:00-2:00

Museums, January 15, 4:00-5:00

Music, January 21, 1:00-2:00

Opera, January 21, 4:00-5:00

Presenting & Multidisciplinary Works, January 29, 2:30-3:30

Theater & Musical Theater, January 22, 1:00-2:00

Visual Arts, January 14, 4:00-5:00

To join any of the webinars, go here.

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


Art Works Deadlines

There are two deadlines for Art Works grant applications: February 20, 2014 or July 24, 2014. Those interested in applying for an arts journalism project should go to the Apply for a Grant section and look first at the appropriate artistic discipline/field of their project (music, media arts, local arts agencies, etc.) Within that discipline/field, review the project goals under the engagement outcome. The project goals that apply to arts journalism projects are either:

  • Services to the field
  • Innovative use of technology
  • Creative methods for engaging audiences or increasing access to the arts

Arts Journalism Grant Examples From 2013

Through Artbound, arts journalists, covering 11 Southern California counties, contribute blogs to the Community Television of Southern California/KCET (Los Angeles) website where the most read and shared become the subject of a short documentary film. Grant: $75,000

From June 2013 through August 2014, KQED in San Francisco will build and launch a free mobile tablet application aggregating its arts content and coverage with that of key arts partners, along with user engagement opportunities and event listings. Grant: $50,000

A grant to the Broward Cultural Division in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, will support the Broward Arts Journalism Alliance Program. Project activity will include a specialized training series on arts journalism, as well as the expansion of the Broward Cultural Division's online magazine Cultural Quarterly and the development of new content for its website. Grant: $25,000

The Macon Arts Alliance's Art Matters in Georgia, in collaboration with Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism, embeds paid journalism interns in arts organizations to create news articles, blogs, video reports, and more for local news and other outlets. Grant: $40,000

A grant to the Arts Council of Indianapolis in Indianapolis, Indiana, will support the Indianapolis Arts Journalism & Audience Development Project. Partnering with Indiana State University, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), and the Indianapolis Star, project activity will include the creation of a quarterly arts insert in the Star and an accompanying printed public art and gallery guide. Grant: $35,000

A grant to the Arts Alliance in Ann Arbor, Michigan, will support CriticCar-Detroit, a mobile arts journalism and cultural criticism project designed to engage the public. Grant: $45,000

A grant to CultureSource in Detroit, Michigan, will support a component of the Awareness Strategy, an arts and culture marketing initiative, that will focus on music journalism. Project activity will include editorial coverage of Detroit’s music community from jazz, Motown, and classical to techno, hip-hop, and the underground scene. Grant: $30,000

The Regional Arts Commission in St. Louis, Missouri, is leading an initiative called Art Fusion, a series of 15, three- to five-minute television interviews featuring commentators discussing arts and culture across all disciplines. Grant: $40,000

Recent Arts Journalism Social Media Content

·  Arts Journalism Webinar Conversation on December 11, 2013. Following brief presentations of four newly funded projects, Sasha Anawalt, associate professor and director of arts journalism programs at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communications, led webinar attendees in a conversation about the issues and future possibilities for arts journalism.

·   Facebook series, The best way to support arts journalism is . . .

(Part 1) with Juan Devis

(Part 2) with Sherry Sissac

(Part 3) with Jonathan Dye

(Part 4) with Joe Matazzoni

Art Works Blog: Art (Journalism)Talk with Jacqueline E. Lawton


Art Works Deadlines

There are two deadlines for Art Works grant applications: February 20, 2014 or July 24, 2014. Different project types are accepted at each deadline depending on the arts discipline of the project. Go to the Apply for a Grant page, click on Art Works, then click on your discipline.

Recent NEA Grant Examples of Arts, Science, and Technology projects

City of Sacramento                                                                                       Local Arts Agencies Grant: $20,000

Sacramento, CA

To support "Broadway Augmented," a temporary public art project. The project will employ augmented reality technology to create virtual public artworks in one of Sacramento's most diverse transitional neighborhoods.

Wisdom of the Elders                                                                                                Media Arts Grant: $30,000

Portland, OR

To support the production of the Wisdom of the Elders Radio Program's STEAM Video Series. This series of videos blends traditional ecological knowledge and environmental science by featuring Native community elders, cultural artists, scientists, and educators from Alaska, Washington, and Oregon.

Media Alliance                                                                                                           Visual Arts Grant: $45,000

Troy, NY

To support Bioart in an Industrial Wasteland, an art, science, and technology workshop series. Media Alliance will invite artist teams to work with the community around issues of sustainability and challenges facing local ecologies. Sessions will address ethical questions involving environmental health and developments in synthetic biology.

Dallas Opera                                                                                                                      Opera Grant: $30,000

Dallas, TX

To support performances of Tod Machover and Robert Pinsky's Death and the Powers developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab. In an original creation by director Diane Paulus, the production will feature technology created by the MIT Media Lab.

Recent Art/Science Content:

The Fall 2013 issue of the NEA's quarterly magazine, NEA Arts, was devoted to art and science and can be enjoyed here.


Victoria Hutter,, 202-682-5692