National Grants and Programs

Available to all American artists, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) offers the following grants for the following fields of study. Please note deadlines.


Table of Contents



NEA Yearly Grants

  • Art Work I & II - To support the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and the strengthening of communities through the arts. Within these areas, innovative projects are strongly encouraged. Grants generally range from $10,000 to $100,000. Deadlines: March 8 and August 9, 2012.
  • Challenge America Fast-Track - To support projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations. Grants are for $10,000. Deadline: May 24, 2012.
  • Our Town CFDA No. 45.024 - Organizations may apply for creative placemaking projects that contribute to the livability of communities and place the arts at their core. An organization may request a grant amount from $25,000 to $150,000. Deadline: March 1, 2012.
  • National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards - Outstanding community arts and humanities programs that celebrate the creativity of America's young people may apply for these awards. Receipt deadline: January 31, 2012)


NEA Fields of Study

  • Artist Communities - Provides assistance to artist communities for projects that encourage and nurture the development of individual artists and foster and inspire their creative processes. For the Arts Endowment's purposes, an artist community is defined as an organization, whether focused on a single discipline or multidisciplinary, whose primary mission is to provide artist residencies.
  • Arts Education - Funding under Arts Education is available for in-depth, curriculum-based arts education for children and youth (generally between ages 5 and 18) in schools or other community-based settings. Projects must provide participatory learning that engages students with accomplished artists and teachers; align with either national or state arts education standards; and include assessments of participant learning. Funding also is available to support professional development opportunities for teachers, teaching artists, and other education providers
  • Design - From the typeface on this page to the neighborhood in which you live, every object and place is the result of design. Design surrounds us and has a direct impact on the quality of our lives. Furthermore, designers fuel innovation by employing creative thinking to solve problems, drive economic development, and address social issues. The design field encompasses many disciplines including, but not limited to, architecture, communications and graphic design, fashion design, industrial and product design, interior design, landscape architecture, planning, universal design, and urban design. The National Endowment for the Arts recognizes design's ever-present impact on society by funding activities that encourage, preserve, and disseminate the best in American and global design.
  • Dance - The Arts Endowment assists all forms of professional concert dance by funding dance companies and presenters, and projects of all sizes. Dance projects funded by the Arts Endowment represent a multiplicity of forms, styles, techniques, and histories that come from every continent in the world and the many different styles ballet, modern dance, jazz, folkloric, tap, hip-hop, and other contemporary forms that are found in the United States.
  • Folk and Traditional Arts - The folk and traditional arts are rooted in and reflective of the cultural life of a community. Community members may share a common ethnic heritage, cultural mores, language, religion, occupation, or geographic region. These vital and constantly reinvigorated artistic traditions are shaped by values and standards of excellence that are passed from generation to generation, most often within family and community, through demonstration, conversation, and practice. Genres of artistic activity include, but are not limited to, music, dance, crafts, and oral expression.
  • Literature - Through its literature, a nation expresses its hopes and fears, and tells its stories to its citizens and to the world. The National Endowment for the Arts is committed to providing opportunities for Americans to make literature a more important part of their daily lives. NOTE: Literary publishing projects must focus primarily on contemporary literature and/or writers. In addition, the Arts Endowment offers fellowships to published creative writers and translators in the areas of prose and poetry.
  • Local Arts Agencies - Organizations referred to as arts councils, departments of cultural affairs, or arts commissions make up the field of local arts agencies (LAAs). LAAs can be private, nonprofit entities; others are public municipal, county, or regional agencies that operate in cooperation with mayors and city managers. In addition, the LAA field includes statewide assemblies and cultural service organizations that work specifically with local arts agencies in the coordination of cultural leadership (but only for projects that will predominantly serve LAAs).
  • Media Arts - The National Endowment for the Arts defines media arts as film, television, radio, audio, video, the Internet, interactive and mobile technologies, art created using digital technology, transmedia storytelling, video games, and content delivered via satellite. Grants are available to support the development, production, and national distribution of innovative projects that demonstrate media as art and media about the arts (e.g., visual arts, music, dance, literature, design, theater, musical theater, opera, folk & traditional arts, and media arts including animation and digital art).
  • Museums - The National Endowment for the Arts supports museums and other exhibiting institutions and organizations that serve the field and the American public through grants for projects of the highest artistic quality. The Arts Endowment is committed to supporting a broad range of activity that reflects serious and exceptional aesthetic investigation. Grants support projects undertaken by organizations that exhibit, preserve, and interpret visual material through exhibitions, residencies, publications, commissions, public artworks, conservation, documentation, services to the field, and public programs.
  • Music - The National Endowment for the Arts recognizes and supports a wide range of music, from classical to contemporary to America's indigenous jazz. It supports both performing ensembles and music presenting institutions including chamber music ensembles, choruses, early music programs, jazz ensembles, music festivals, and symphony orchestras. Organizations of all types and sizes may apply for a variety of music production, presentation, and service projects. The Arts Endowment is particularly interested in innovative presentation methods and the development of skills that can help organizations attract new audiences for music. In addition to projects that focus on the standard repertoire, the Arts Endowment encourages the commissioning and performance of new American works.
  • Opera - Opera is a multifaceted art form that comprises music and text to move a story or dramatic concept forward. The opera genre encompasses music of many periods from the works of Monteverdi, Pergolesi, Gluck, Rossini, Mozart, Verdi, and Puccini to the works of Benjamin Britten, Carlisle Floyd, Philip Glass, and beyond. The National Endowment for the Arts supports opera companies and other organizations that professionally produce fully-staged and concert operatic works. Projects of all sizes that involve works from the entire operatic canon are eligible. The Arts Endowment is committed to advancing the highest levels of operatic artistry across the nation's cultural landscape. Support for American opera and the creation of opportunities for American artists also are of interest.
  • Presenting - This area is for projects and organizations that embrace multiple disciplines from the performing, visual, media, design, and literary arts. These projects and organizations support every stage of the artistic process including arts services, training, residencies, commissioning, presentations, touring and access, documentation, and preservation. Projects that present or otherwise feature a single discipline (e.g., dance, music, visual arts) should apply through that discipline. There is one exception, however, for outdoor historical dramas. Deadline March 8, 2012, Art Works application deadline.
  • Theater & Musical Theater - The National Endowment for the Arts seeks to fund groundbreaking, innovative theater and musical theater in the American spirit that is bold, passionate, profound, creative, and engaging and that demonstrates serious, exceptional, and rigorous aesthetic values. Projects funded by the Arts Endowment support organizations and artists in the creation and refinement of work, the public presentation of plays and musicals from all cultures and periods, and opportunities for professional development. This encompasses the entire spectrum of the nonprofit theater and musical theater field, including the production or presentation of traditional or classical repertoire, new plays and musicals, development laboratories, showcases, artist residencies, work for young audiences, experimental work, community-based work, circus arts, and puppetry.
  • Visual Arts - The National Endowment for the Arts supports the visual arts -- painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, drawing, craft, etc. -- through grants to organizations that serve the needs of and enhance opportunities for artists and their audiences. The Arts Endowment is committed to advancing and preserving the work of contemporary visual artists that reflects serious and exceptional aesthetic investigation. Grants in the visual arts support projects undertaken by organizations that encourage individual artistic development, experimentation, and dialogue between artists and the public through exhibitions, residencies, publications, commissions, public artworks, conservation, documentation, services to the field, and public programs.


Private Grants for Organizations

  • "In most cases, we identify prospective grantees and invite them, through "requests for proposals" or other careful screening, to submit applications for grants. We believe this approach strengthens the effectiveness of our funding. But it also means Wallace rarely funds unsolicited proposals. Nevertheless, you may submit an inquiry by e-mail, briefly describing your project, your organization, the estimated total cost of the project and the portion requiring funding to: The Wallace Foundation"


That's all we list for now. Have a recommendation to add to our list? Let us know. Or, head back up top.