National Endowment for the Arts Announces Over $33 Million in Project Funding to Arts Organizations Nationwide

Three people in tie-dye shirts play steel drums at an outdoor venue

Members of Epic Steel Orchestra perform at Loyola Park in Chicago, Illinois. Programming with Epic Steel Orchestra was supported by an NEA Grants for Arts Project award to West Point School of Music. Photo by Oulayvone Anoudeth

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Washington, DC—The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is pleased to announce the first round of recommended awards for fiscal year 2022, with 1,498 awards totaling nearly $33.2 million. Grants for Arts Projects funding spans 15 artistic disciplines and reaches communities in every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Recipients of the Challenge America grant program, NEA Literature Fellowships in creative writing and translation, and support for arts research projects are also included in this announcement.

“These National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grants underscore the resilience of our nation’s artists and arts organizations, will support efforts to provide access to the arts, and rebuild the creative economy,” said NEA Acting Chair Ann Eilers. “The supported projects demonstrate how the arts are a source of strength and well-being for communities and individuals, and can open doors to conversations that address complex issues of our time.”

The NEA is committed to equity, access, and fostering mutual respect for the diverse beliefs and values of all individuals and groups. Applications for funding demonstrated a commitment by the arts and culture sector to provide more equitable and accessible pathways for arts engagement. 

Grants for Arts Projects
Grants for Arts Projects (GAP) awards reach communities in all parts of the country, large and small, and with diverse cultural and economic backgrounds. There are 1,248 organizations recommended to receive cost share/matching grants ranging from $10,000 to $100,000 for a total of $28,840,000. These awards represent 15 artistic disciplines/fields: Artist Communities, Arts Education, Dance, Design, Folk & Traditional Arts, Literary Arts, Local Arts Agencies, Media Arts, Museums, Music, Musical Theater, Opera, Presenting & Multidisciplinary Works, Theater, and Visual Arts. Applications were received in February 2021 from 1,879 eligible organizations requesting more than $92 million in support. 

A sample of Grants for Arts Projects from this round of funding includes:

  • A $25,000 award to the Alabama Dance Council in Birmingham, Alabama, to support the Alabama Dance Festival, now in its 25th year. Engaging with a broad audience in the southeastern United States, the festival will include residencies, a concert featuring Southern choreographers, showcases of regional dance companies, dance classes, and screenings of dance films.
  • A $25,000 award to the Forest County Potawatomi Community (FCPC) in Crandon, Wisconsin, to support a multidisciplinary arts education program incorporating cultural arts, visual arts, and wood-working for underrepresented Native American youth living on or near the FCPC reservation.
  • A $20,000 award to Maine Fiberarts in Topsham, Maine, to support a fiber arts exhibition and archival research project that documents the evolution of fiber arts in Maine during the last 50 years. The project will create a record of the history of textile arts and the important contributions of Maine artists.  
  • A $20,000 award to the Trinity Park Conservancy in Dallas, Texas, to lead arts programming and community engagement activities to inform the transformation of a former state jail into a community space for healing. 
  • A $15,000 award to West Point Fellowship (West Point School of Music) in Chicago, Illinois, to support a professional steel drum orchestra and a steel drum shop to make, maintain, and repair this World Heritage instrument. A new NEA applicant with a focus on Black youth and heritage, the organization will build creative capacity in Chicago's most disadvantaged neighborhoods.

The next Grants for Arts Projects application deadlines are Thursday, February 10, 2022, and Thursday, July 7, 2022. Visit for guidelines and application resources and register for a Grants for Arts Projects guidelines webinar on Wednesday, January 12, 2022, from 3:00–4:00 p.m. 

Challenge America
Challenge America grants offer support primarily to small and mid-sized organizations for projects that extend the reach of the arts to populations that have limited access to the arts due to geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability. There are 168 organizations recommended in this funding category for a total of $1,680,000. Each grant is for $10,000 and requires a minimum $10,000 cost share/match. A few examples of Challenge America funding from this round include:

  • The Biscayne Nature Center in Key Biscayne, Florida, will offer an arts education program for youth, primarily serving Black and Latinx schoolchildren from low-income communities in Miami-Dade County (the term Latinx is used to be inclusive/gender-free). A teaching artist and naturalist staff will work together to lead students in the creation of artwork that uses natural or recycled materials.
  • The Glacier Symphony and Chorale in Kalispell, Montana, will be touring the rural communities and tribal lands of northwest Montana, including communities and school districts where access to classical music has been limited or absent. Engagement activities will include educational materials, instrument demonstrations, question-and-answer sessions, and after-concert activities for young people.
  • Orquesta Northwest in Seattle, Washington, will offer a series of arts and culture events honoring the work of Latinx COVID-19 essential workers. Free programming will include presentations by Latinx community leaders, performances by guest artists, interviews, and videos highlighting the contributions of local essential workers.
  • The Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke, Virginia, will support the development of a therapeutic art program that serves individuals with disabilities by providing access to creative arts therapies and evidence-based programs in the arts and health. 

The next Challenge America application deadline is Thursday, April 21, 2022. Visit for guidelines and application resources and register for a Challenge America guidelines webinar on Tuesday, March 1, 2022, from 3:00–4:00 p.m. 

Literature Fellowships
The National Endowment for the Arts will award $1.2 million in FY 2021 Literature Fellowships to creative writers and translators:

This includes 35 Creative Writing Fellowships of $25,000 each. These FY 2022 fellowships are in prose and enable the recipients to set aside time for writing, research, travel, and general career development. 

The NEA approved fellowships to 24 translators ranging from $10,000 to $20,000 to translate works from 16 languages and 18 countries into English. 

Learn more about these fellowships. The next deadline for Creative Writing Fellowships is Thursday, March 10, 2022. In 2022, the NEA is accepting applications in poetry. 

Research Awards
The National Endowment for the Arts offers two funding opportunities to support arts research projects: 

Through Research Grants in the Arts, 18 organizations are recommended for a total of $815,000. This program funds research studies that analyze the value and/or impact of the arts.

Five NEA Research Labs are recommended for funding totaling $648,784. Transdisciplinary research partnerships grounded in the social and behavioral sciences will examine and report on the benefit of the arts in non-arts sectors. 

Learn more about these recommended arts research awards. The next Research Awards application deadline is Monday, March 28, 2022. Guidelines and application resources will be posted soon at Register for a Research guidelines webinar on February 9, 2022, at 2:00 p.m.

All of the recommended grants in this announcement were evaluated through the agency’s panel review process. First, applications are submitted for consideration to the agency and staff review them for eligibility and completeness. A panel of experts with knowledge and experience in their respective field then review and score each application in accordance with the published review criteria. Recommendations are then made to the National Council on the Arts. The council makes recommendations to the chair, who makes the final decision on all grant awards. The NEA assembles diverse panels every year with regard to geography, race and ethnicity, and artistic points of view. Learn more about the grant review process or volunteer to be a panelist.   

Please note, there may be a delay in the distribution of some grant awards as the NEA and all of the federal government are operating under a continuing budget resolution which currently expires on February 18, 2022.  

The NEA is also providing separate grants through the American Rescue Plan (ARP) which provide funding to the arts sector for rebuilding and recovery due to COVID-19. Funding to regional, state, and local arts agencies was announced last year. The next round of ARP funding for arts organizations will be announced later in January 2022. More information on the NEA’s American Rescue Plan funding is available on

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. To learn more, visit or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.


Allison Hill, 202-682-5037