Timeline of NEA Highlights

Find a highlighted grant or project for each year of NEA’s history from the thousands of grants we award annually. Complete lists of grants can be found in the Annual Reports from 1965 - 1997 and on our Recent Grant Search page from 1998 to the present.


Three women in long white dresses dancing on stage.
In 1990, the NEA commissioned Images of American Dance: Documenting and Preserving a Cultural Heritage, a study aimed at providing a picture of the existing dance documentation system.


A stage production with a large cast dressed in 19th century clothing with man in the middle singing.
In December 1991, the Metropolitan Opera premiered its first new opera since 1967 with support from the NEA under the New American Works/Organization program.


A string quartet playing in front of a barn and silo outdoors.
Begun in 1992 in partnership with Chamber Music America, the Chamber Music Rural Residencies program matched musicians with rural host sites, where they provided school instruction, workshops, private lessons, and community concerts.


A sign to the right  and a row of houses to the left.
The NEA provided seed money for Project Row Houses in Houston, which transformed previously uninhabitable residences into artist studios and exhibition spaces for local, national, and international artists.


A Black man in a black shirt is dancing around in front of children in a classroom.
The National Endowment for the Arts has supported Wolf Trap's Institute since 1994, when it provided seed money for a study on how preschoolers learn through the arts.


A white woman with long curly hair wearing a white tee-shirt is working on an art piece.
Through the design initiative We Will Be Back: Oklahoma City Rebuilds, the NEA sought to use the healing capabilities of the arts to assist the citizens of the city in coping with the tragedy of the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building.


Man with glasses, dark hair, and gray goatee sitting in a studio with religious icons.
Carlos Rael is one of a large number of artists in Taos, New Mexico, who learned to use marketing technology through Open Studio, a program jointly created and funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Benton Foundation that launched in 1996.


Cover of American Canvas publication.
In 1997, the NEA released the American Canvas report, an analysis and examination of the current state of the nonprofit arts in America.


White man smoking a pipe sitting in a wood chair painting a picture in a studio with artwork leaning against a wall.
The National Park Service (NPS) partnered with other federal cultural entities—the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)—to administer and distribute the Save America's Treasures grant funds.


A shirtless white man wearing red pants and barefoot is jumping in the air while another shirtless man is on the ground behind him, and two women to the right, as part of a dance performance.
NEA support to the six regional arts organizations (RAOs) enables them to tour high-quality, diverse art across the country with an emphasis on reaching underserved and rural communities as part of the Regional Touring Program.