University of Southern California


NEA Grants for Arts: Local Arts Agencies

Slots:                                                     1

Internal Deadline:                           May 8, 2020, noon PT

LOI:                                                        N/A

External Deadline:                          July 9, 2020

Award Information:                        Type: Grant

                                                                Award Amount: Cost share/matching grants will range from $10,000 to $100,000

Submission Process:                     PIs must submit their application as a Limited Submission through the Office of Research Application Portal:

Materials to submit:

Link to Award:                         

Who May Serve as PI:                    Nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3), U.S. organizations; units of state or local government; or federally recognized tribal communities or tribes may apply. Applicants may be arts organizations, local arts agencies, arts service organizations, local education agencies (school districts), and other organizations that can help advance the goals of the National Endowment for the Arts.


Across the United States, more than 4,500 Local Arts Agencies (LAAs) provide a wide range of programs and services to help support and enable arts and culture at the local level. LAAs are intermediaries, serving artists and arts organizations, local residents, visitors, and other community partners. No two LAAs are alike ─ whether they serve a single village or town, a large city, county, or a multi-county or multi-state region. Some LAAs are departments of local government, others are nonprofit organizations, and still others are hybrids of the two.

Characteristics: LAAs may present and/or produce arts programming, commission and manage public art, administer grant programs, provide technical assistance to artists and arts organizations, and guide cultural planning efforts. Still others may own, manage, and/or operate cultural facilities and be actively engaged in community development, and partner with entities in tourism, social services, public education, housing, economic development, and public safety. All strive to enhance the quality of life in their communities by working to increase public access to the arts.

The Local Arts Agencies discipline also welcomes applications for arts projects developed and managed by:

All Grants for Arts Projects applications submitted by LAAs will be reviewed within the Local Arts Agencies discipline. There are only two exceptions: Projects that have a Folk & Traditional Arts focus will be reviewed under Folk & Traditional Arts, and projects with a K-12 standards-based arts education, professional development, or collective impact focus will be reviewed under Arts Education.

While we welcome applications for a variety of artistically excellent projects, we encourage projects that address any of the following activities below:

Project Types

Eligible project types include the full breadth of programming typically developed and managed by local arts agencies*, such as Programming and Services to the Field, including but not limited to:

However, if your project is for youth, see “Choosing the Right Discipline for Youth Projects” to help you select between the Local Arts Agencies and Arts Education disciplines.

* See “We Fund/We Do Not Fund” to make sure your project is eligible.


To be eligible, a Local Arts Agency must be an arts agency that is a unit of city or county government or officially designated to operate as an arts agency on behalf of its local government. Non-arts departments of local government (e.g., economic development, parks and recreation, or planning departments) cannot subgrant. In addition to the “Applicant Eligibility” section for all Grants for Arts Projects applicants, applicants for subgranting projects must have completed a three-year history of subgranting in the arts prior to the application deadline. Organizations without a three-year history of grantmaking are encouraged to contact Arts Endowment staff to discuss alternative project types.

We fund projects only.

A project may consist of one or more specific events or activities; it may be a part of an applicant’s regular season or activities. Organizations that undertake a single short-term project in a year — a ten-day jazz festival, for example — could apply for that event, or they could identify certain components (such as the presentation of a key artist and the associated activities) as their project. Describe the activities for which our support is requested, and provide specific information on the artists, productions, venues, distribution plans, etc., that will be involved.

Organizations may apply for any or all phases of a project, from its planning through its implementation.

A project does not have to be new. Excellent existing projects can be just as competitive as new activities.

Projects do not need to be large. We welcome small projects that can make a difference in a community or field.

Projects may be in any of the Arts Endowment’s artistic disciplines.

Budgetary Requirements:

Our 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.

Visit our Institutionally Limited Submission webpage for updates and other announcements.