First Phase of American Rescue Plan Funding from the National Endowment for the Arts Announced

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Washington, DC—Today, the National Endowment for the Arts announces more than $52 million in funding for state and jurisdictional arts agencies and regional arts organizations, the first recommended awards of the American Rescue Plan (ARP). These funds are designed to support the arts sector as it recovers from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Guidelines and application materials for a second phase of American Rescue Plan funding that will be awarded directly from the Arts Endowment to nonprofit arts organizations are expected to be available in June 2021 pending review.

State and Regional Funding
Forty percent of the agency's $135 million in ARP funding goes to the 62 state, jurisdictional, and regional arts organizations for regranting through their respective funding programs. Each state and jurisdictional arts agency and regional arts organization will determine its own processes and timing for awarding these funds. Please go to the states and regionals page on the Arts Endowment’s website for information on the agencies that serve your area. To learn about the economic impact of the arts in each state and jurisdiction along with programmatic highlights, go to the states profile page.

The list of recommended awards for this round of ARP is available on

“The release of these American Rescue Plan funds marks an important step in the economic recovery of the creative sector,” said NEA Acting Chair Ann Eilers. "The regional organizations and state agencies are critical parts of the arts funding ecosystem and they have deep connections with arts organizations across the country. Their knowledge of the arts and culture landscape in the regions that they serve makes them ideal stewards of federal dollars. The Arts Endowment is grateful for their continued leadership as the arts sector rebuilds in a way that works better for all arts organizations."

Update on Direct Grants to Organizations
The remaining 60 percent of the ARP funds will be awarded by the Arts Endowment directly to non-profit organizations to help support jobs in the arts sector, keep the doors open to arts organizations nationwide, and assist the field in its response to and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Two sets of guidelines are expected to be available in June—one for arts organizations and one for local arts agencies that are officially designated to operate on behalf of their local government. Among the Arts Endowment’s funding partners, local arts agencies have the closest ties to arts organizations in local communities. The Arts Endowment looks forward to working closely with them to learn more about the state of the arts in the thousands of communities they serve. To receive updates on the NEA’s American Rescue Plan grant opportunities, please fill out this form.

To allow for greater access to federal funding, eligible applicants for ARP funding are not limited to previous NEA grantees, as in previous emergency funding programs such as the CARES Act (2020) and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (2009). More information on applicant eligibility will be in the to-be-posted funding guidelines.

In recognition of the very challenging circumstances facing arts organizations, Congress has charged the Arts Endowment to allow grant recipients to use ARP funding to cover general operating costs. This change marks a significant shift in policy and demonstrates a recognition of the tremendous need in the sector. 

Funds from ARP will help preserve jobs and support art organizations in communities of all sizes. The latest economic data show that the arts contributed 4.3 percent or almost $1 trillion dollars to the nation’s gross domestic product in 2019, before the pandemic struck. Reflecting the Build Back Better platform of the Biden-Harris administration, this funding will help the field build back to that 2019 level of economic activity and towards a better future.

The agency is developing ARP guidelines to reach a broad constituency including organizations that serve populations that are underserved such as those whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by ethnicity, economics, geography, or disability; organizations with small and medium-sized budgets; organizations from rural to urban communities; and organizations that may be applying for federal support through the Arts Endowment for the first time. 

In the coming months the agency will conduct outreach regarding these new funding opportunities, especially to organizations that have not previously applied to the agency. Once the guidelines are posted, the agency will provide extensive technical assistance, including guidelines webinars, about how to successfully navigate the federal grantmaking process.

Before the guidelines are released, the Arts Endowment encourages organizations to register or renew/verify their entity registrations with, and the System for Award Management (SAM). These registrations are free; however, they can take several weeks to process. 

To help reduce burden, there will be a 180-day extension for existing SAM registrations that have expiration dates ranging between April 1, 2021, and September 30, 2021. This effort is intended as relief for those otherwise required to re-register during that timeframe. This does not impact entities registering with SAM for the first time. All organizations approved for funding must have an active SAM registration in order to receive an award. Organizations that are interested in applying for ARP funds though the Arts Endowment and do not have a SAM registration are encouraged to begin the SAM registration process as soon as possible.   

About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit to learn more.


Victoria Hutter,, 202-682-5692