DESIGN: Art Works
The NEA’s guiding principle is embodied in one sentence: “Art works.”
“Art works” is a noun; the creation of works of art by artists. “Art works” is a verb; art works on and within people to change and inspire them. “Art works” is a statement; arts jobs are real jobs that are part of the real economy.
Art Works encourages and supports the following four outcomes:
- Creation: The creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence,
- Engagement: Public engagement with diverse and excellent art,
- Learning: Lifelong learning in the arts, and
- Livability: The strengthening of communities through the arts.
Applicants will be asked to select the outcome that is most relevant to their projects (they also will be able to select a secondary outcome). When making selections, applicants should identify the outcome(s) that reflect the results expected to be achieved by their project. If a grant is received, grantees also will be asked to provide evidence of those results.
- Creation: The portfolio of American art is expanded.Support is available for projects to create art that meets the highest standards of excellence across a diverse spectrum of artistic disciplines and geographic locations. Through the creation of art, these projects are intended to replenish and rejuvenate America’s enduring cultural legacy. Creation activities may include:
- Commissioning, development, and production of new work.
- Design competitions and design or planning projects for new arts or cultural spaces or landscapes.
- Workshops and residencies for artists where the primary purpose is to create new art.
- Opportunities for writers and translators to create or refine their work.
- Projects that employ innovative forms of art-making and design.
The anticipated results for Creation projects are new works of art. If a grant is received, at the end of the project grantees will need to provide evidence of the new art works created. If the project activities do not lead to the creation of completed works of art within the period of a grant, grantees may demonstrate progress toward the creation of art by describing the artists’ participation and work accomplished by the end of the grant. Before applying, please review the reporting requirements for Creation.
- Engagement: Americans throughout the nation experience art.Support is available for projects that provide public engagement with artistic excellence across a diverse spectrum of artistic disciplines and geographic locations. These projects should engage the public directly with the arts, providing Americans with new opportunities to have profound and meaningful arts experiences. Engagement activities may include:
- Exhibitions, performances, concerts, and readings.
- Film screenings.
- Touring and outreach activities.
- Restaging of repertory and master works of historical significance.
- Art fairs and festivals.
- Documentation, preservation, and conservation of art work.
- Public programs that raise awareness of cultural heritage.
- Broadcasts or recordings through Web sites; live streaming, audio- and video-on-demand, podcasts, MP3 files, or other digital applications; television; and radio.
- Design charrettes.
- Publication, production, and promotion of digital, audio, or online publications; books; magazines; catalogues; and searchable information databases.
- Services to artists and arts organizations.
- Projects that extend the arts to underserved populations — those whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability.
- Projects that employ innovative forms of art and design delivery.
The anticipated results for Engagement projects are direct experiences with the arts for the public. If a grant is received, at the end of the project grantees will need to describe the participants’ experiences as well as the composition of the participant group. If the nature of the project does not allow for the documentation of participants’ experiences explicitly, grantees may document the composition of the participant group and numbers of participants and activities, and describe the activities used to engage the public with art. Before applying, please review the reporting requirements for Engagement.
- Learning: Americans of all ages acquire knowledge or skills in the arts.Support is available for projects that provide Americans of all ages with arts learning opportunities across a diverse spectrum of artistic disciplines and geographic locations. These projects should focus on the acquisition of knowledge or skills in the arts, thereby building public capacity for lifelong participation in the arts. Learning activities may include:
- Lifelong learning activities for children, adults, and intergenerational groups.
- Standards-based arts education activities for K-12 students.
- Workshops and demonstrations.
- Mentorships and apprenticeship programs.
- Professional development for artists, teaching artists, teachers, and other educators.
- Assessments and evaluations of arts learning.
- Online courses or training.
- Lectures and symposia.
- Production, publication, and distribution of teachers’ guides.
- Innovative practices in arts learning for Americans of all ages.
The anticipated results for Learning projects are increases or improvements in the participants’ knowledge or skills in the arts. If a grant is received, at the end of the project grantees will need to describe the participants’ learning, the composition of the participant group, and the numbers of participants and activities, as well as the activities used to facilitate the acquisition of knowledge or skills in the arts. Grantees who receive support through the Arts Education discipline for standards-based projects will be required to report on additional measurable results, including identifying specific learning outcomes, describing the assessment method, and reporting on the number of participants who demonstrated learning. Before applying, please review the reporting requirements for Learning.
- Livability: American communities are strengthened through the arts. Support is available for projects that incorporate the arts and design into strategies to improve the livability of communities. Livability consists of a variety of factors that contribute to the quality of life in a community such as ample opportunities for social, civic, and cultural participation; education, employment, and safety; sustainability; affordable housing, ease of transportation, and access to public buildings and facilities; and an aesthetically pleasing environment. The arts can enhance livability by providing new avenues for expression and creativity. Arts- and design-related Livability activities may include:
- The development of plans for cultural and/or creative sector growth.
- The enhancement of public spaces through design or new art works.
- Arts or design activities that are intended to foster community interaction in public spaces.
- Cultural sustainability activities that contribute to community identity and sense of place.
- The engagement of artists, designers, and/or arts organizations in plans and processes to improve community livability and enhance the unique characteristics of a community.
- Innovative community-based partnerships that integrate the arts with livability efforts.
Please note that certain types of Livability activities will require applicants to provide information in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act and/or the National Historic Preservation Act. See here for more information.
The anticipated long-term results for Livability projects are measurable community benefits, such as growth in overall levels of social and civic engagement; arts- or design-focused changes in policies, laws, and/or regulations; job and/or revenue growth for the community; and changes in in-and-out migration patterns. Given the nature of Livability projects, benefits are likely to emerge over time and may not be fully measureable during the period of a grant. If a grant is received, at the end of the project grantees will need to provide evidence of progress toward achieving improved livability as appropriate to the project. Reporting requirements for Livability are different from — and more extensive than — the reporting requirements for the other outcomes. Before applying, please review the reporting requirements for Livability.
The NEA recognizes that arts and design organizations are often in the forefront of innovation in their work and strongly encourages innovation within the outcomes listed above. Innovative projects are characterized as those that:
- Are likely to prove transformative with the potential for meaningful change, whether in the development or enhancement of new or existing art forms, new approaches to the creation or presentation of art, or new ways of engaging the public with art;
- Are distinctive, offering fresh insights and new value for their fields and/or the public through unconventional solutions; and
- Have the potential to be shared and/or emulated, or are likely to lead to other innovations.
To provide new leadership in the area of innovation and to ensure that innovative ideas and formats for artistic expression are supported, the NEA is requiring that Consortium applications be for innovative projects (see “Application Limits/Consortium applications” for more information). Consortium applications must demonstrate how their projects meet the definition of innovation above.
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The Arts Endowment also is interested in projects that extend the arts to underserved populations — those whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability. This is achieved in part through the use of Challenge America funds.
Please note: The Art Works category does not fund direct grants to individuals. Direct grants to individuals are offered only in the category of Literature Fellowships.
Project Reporting and Evaluation
We ask all applicants to define what they would like to achieve, how they will assess the degree to which it is achieved, and, upon completion of the project, what they have learned from their experiences. Such feedback need not entail large-scale or expensive evaluation efforts. Applicants should do what is feasible and appropriate for their organization and project. When a grant is completed, grantees must submit a final report and answer questions on their achievements and how these were determined. Before applying, please review the reporting requirements for the outcome that will be selected for the proposed project: Creation, Engagement, Learning, or Livability.
Beyond the reporting requirements for all grantees, selected Art Works grantees will be asked to assist in the collection of additional information that can help the NEA determine the degree to which agency objectives were achieved. Grantees may be contacted to provide evidence of project accomplishments including, but not limited to, work samples, community action plans, cultural asset studies, programs, reviews, relevant news clippings, and playbills. Grantees should maintain project documentation for three years following submission of their final descriptive reports.
For a random sample of grants involving the presentation of art, selected grantees will be required to conduct surveys of audience members to gauge the nature and extent of audience response to these art experiences. Grantees selected to conduct surveys will receive materials, technical assistance, and up to $1,000 in nonmatching supplemental funding from the NEA. Grantees that are selected will be notified of their participation at the time of grant award.
Art Works applications will be accepted under two deadlines: March 10, 2011, and August 11, 2011. Apply under the deadline with the NEA outcome (in bold below) and project example that most closely corresponds to the primary focus of the proposed project. Applicants will be asked to indicate the outcome that is most relevant to their project in their application and on the application form (they also will be able to select a secondary outcome).
March 10, 2011, Application Deadline
January 1, 2012, Earliest Beginning Date for Arts Endowment Period of Support
- Competitions and commissions.
- Innovative technology projects or new models meant to advance design or design theory.
- Design or planning projects for new arts or cultural spaces and landscapes.
- Workshops and residencies for designers where the primary purpose is to create new work.
- Design research or collaboration projects that examine current practice and propose design solutions for pressing problems.
- Charrettes or community workshops surrounding new projects.
- Exhibition of recent design work and related activities.
- The dissemination of advancements in design or design theory.
- Conferences, symposia, and other gatherings that promote innovation in design practice.
- Projects that use new media, technology, or new models to connect citizens or engage them in design projects which focus on innovation.
- Design projects that promote livability, including economic and cultural vitality, in underserved communities or neighborhoods.
- Community-wide or neighborhood planning and design activities for the design of public spaces.
(Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact staff if they are considering Livability as a primary outcome.)
August 11, 2011, Application Deadline
June 1, 2012, Earliest Beginning Date for Arts Endowment Period of Support
- Education and outreach to teach established design practices to American communities.
- Education and related design activities for children, adults, intergenerational groups, and schools. (If your project is for children and youth, see “Choosing the Right Discipline for Children and Youth Projects” to help you in your discipline selection.)
- Historic preservation activities, including community preservation activities and projects that promote awareness of cultural and historic districts.
- The exhibition and publication of design history.
- Conferences, symposia, and other gatherings that promote the heritage and conservation of design.
- New media or technology projects that connect citizens or engage them in design projects with a focus on historic and environmental stewardship.
- Design projects that promote the unique characteristics of a community through the use of architecture, landscape architecture, historic preservation, and other design practices.
- The adaptive reuse of historic properties for cultural and arts uses.
- Design projects that promote livability, including economic and cultural vitality, through community or environmental stewardship or the use of sustainable or preservation practices.
- Community-wide or neighborhood planning and design activities that promote economic and cultural vitality.
- The development of plans for growth of the design sector in the local community.
- The development of designer live/work spaces.
- Design exhibitions, artist residencies, and other activities in public spaces that are intended to foster community interaction and/or enhance the unique characteristics of a community.
- The engagement of designers and design organizations in plans and processes to improve community livability.
- Community-based partnerships that integrate design with livability efforts.
(Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact staff if they are considering Livability as a primary outcome.)
This category uses the agency’s traditional method of application review. Applications are submitted to the Design staff and are reviewed by a diverse group of experts in the design field.
Applications are reviewed on the basis of artistic excellence and artistic merit. For more detailed information on how artistic excellence and artistic merit will be evaluated, see the “Review Criteria.” You can find additional information in the “Application Review” section of the “Frequently Asked Questions.”
Design Specialist: Jen Hughes, firstname.lastname@example.org, or 202/682-5547
If you wish to apply:
CFDA No. 45.024
OMB No. 3135-0112 Expires 11/30/2013
National Endowment for the Arts · an independent federal agency
1100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20506