NEA Grants for Arts Projects Solicitation

Please see the full solicitation for complete information about the funding opportunity. Below is a summary assembled by the Research & Innovation Office (RIO). Note the matching requirement detailed in the Award Information section below.

Program Summary 

Through project-based funding, NEA Grants for Arts Projects support public engagement with, and access to, various forms of excellent art across the nation, the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, learning in the arts at all stages of life, and the integration of the arts into the fabric of community life. Projects may be large or small, existing or new, and may take place in any part of the nation’s 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.

NEA Grants for Arts Projects encourages applications for artistically excellent projects that address any of the following activities:

  • Celebrate America’s creativity and/or cultural heritage.
  • Invite a dialogue that fosters a mutual respect for the diverse beliefs and values of all persons and groups.
  • Enrich our humanity by broadening our understanding of ourselves as individuals and as a society.
  • In the spirit of White House Executive Orders that encourage federal agencies to engage with typically underserved constituencies, the National Endowment for the Arts encourages applications from:
    • Historically Black Colleges and Universities,
    • Tribal Colleges and Universities,
    • American Indian and Alaska Native tribes,
    • African American Serving Institutions,
    • Hispanic Serving Institutions,
    • Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, and
    • Organizations that support the independence and lifelong inclusion of people with disabilities.

Applications should be in one of the following disciplines:


CU Internal Deadline: 11:59pm MST May 4, 2020

Sponsor Application Deadline: 9:59pm MST July 9, 2020

Internal Application Requirements (all in PDF format)

  • Project Summary (2 pages maximum): Please be sure to address the artistic excellence and artistic merit of the project as described in the review criteria section.
  • PI Curriculum Vitae
  • Budget Overview (1 page maximum): A basic budget outlining project costs is sufficient; detailed OCG budgets are not required.

To access the online application, visit:


Applicants must have a three-year history of arts programming prior to the application deadline.

Limited Submission Guidelines

An organization may submit only one application under these guidelines, with few exceptions as listed below. For this category, exceptions to the one-application rule are made only for:

Parent (and Related) Organizations

A parent organization that comprises separately identifiable and independent components (e.g., a university campus that has a presenting organization and a radio station) may submit an application for each such component. In addition, a parent organization also may submit one application on its own behalf for a project that is different from any project submitted in an application by its independent component(s). The parent organization must meet the eligibility requirements for all applicants. NOTE: A related organization that performs grant administration duties for a parent organization (e.g., a college foundation that administers grants awarded to a college and its components) may submit applications for components and the parent organization in lieu of such applications being submitted by the parent. The related organization must meet the eligibility requirements for all applicants. An independent component must be a unit that is both programmatically and administratively distinct from the parent organization, have its own staff and budget, and generally have an independent board that has substantial responsibility for oversight and management. To qualify as independent, a component should be equivalent to a stand-alone institution with a separate mission.

The following do not qualify as independent components:

  • Academic departments of colleges and universities.
  • Programs and projects of organizations.

For example: An art museum on a university campus serves the general public and does not grant degrees. The museum board, not the university trustees, manages the museum's budget, staff, and programming. In this example, the art museum essentially is a stand-alone organization and qualifies as an independent component.

A parent organization should consult with NEA staff to verify the eligibility of its component before preparing an application.

Applicants to the Media Arts discipline at the July 9, 2020, deadline: An organization may submit more than one application in the Grants for Arts Projects category through the Media Arts discipline at the July 9, 2020, deadline.

Award Information

Award Amount: Grants generally will range from $10,000 to $100,000. No grant will be made below $10,000. Grants of $100,000 or more will be made only in rare instances, and only for projects that we determine demonstrate exceptional national or regional significance and impact. In the past few years, well over half of the agency's grants have been for amounts less than $25,000.

Award Duration: Up to 2 years. The two-year period is intended to allow an applicant sufficient time to plan, execute, and close out its project, not to repeat a one-year project for a second year.

Match Requirement: Grants cannot exceed 50% of the total cost of the project. All grants require a nonfederal cost share/match of at least 1 to 1. For example, if an organization receives a $10,000 grant, the total eligible project costs must be at least $20,000 and the organization must provide at least $10,000 toward the project from nonfederal sources.

Review Criteria

Applications will be reviewed based on the artistic excellence and merit of the project.

The artistic excellence of the project, which includes the:

  • Quality of the artists, arts organizations, arts education providers, works of art, or services that the project will involve, as appropriate.

The artistic merit of the project, which includes the:

  • Importance of the project to the artistic field, artists, audience, community, and/or constituency.
  • Ability to carry out the project based on such factors as the appropriateness of the budget (including evidence of direct payment to artists), the quality and clarity of the project activities and goals, the resources involved, and the qualifications of the project's personnel.
  • Potential to:
    • Celebrate America’s creativity and/or cultural heritage,
    • Invite a dialogue that fosters a mutual respect for the diverse beliefs and values of all persons and groups, or
    • Enrich humanity by broadening our understanding of ourselves as individuals and as a society.
  • Appropriateness of the project to the organization's mission, audience, community, and/or constituency.
  • Appropriateness of any proposed performance measurements. This includes, where relevant, measures to assess student and/or teacher learning in arts education.
  • Plans for documentation and dissemination of the project results, as appropriate.
  • Where appropriate, potential to reach underserved populations such as those described in the program summary section.