NEA Distributes Relief Funds to Help Arts and Culture Sector Recover from Pandemic

  • July 21, 2021

NEA Distributes Relief Funds to Help Arts and Culture Sector Recover from Pandemic

Maine Arts Commission to Award $758,600 in Upcoming Grants

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has announced two programs to distribute American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds. These programs are open to nonprofit arts and culture organizations and local arts agencies, regardless of whether they have received NEA funding in the past. This is a change from previous emergency funding requirements at the NEA and significantly expands access to federal funds for the arts and culture sector. The NEA encourages applications from first-time applicants, and will offer workshops, question-and-answer sessions, and other resources for those new to federal funding. 

The NEA received $135 million in the American Rescue Plan Act, and directed 40 percent of the funding to state, jurisdictional, and regional arts organizations. The remaining 60% of funds from the NEA will be awarded through these upcoming grant opportunities.

The Maine Arts Commission received $758,600, which will be awarded to organizations through current and upcoming grant opportunities.   

David Greenham, Executive Director of the Maine Arts Commission shared his excitement about this opportunity for Maine organizations. “These funds are aimed at organizations throughout the state, and even if you have never applied for an NEA grant before, this is a significant fund and I’m confident that there will be many opportunities for first-time applicants to receive funding.”

Funding Details

There are two funding opportunities available—one for arts and culture organizations, and one for local arts agencies to subgrant. Local arts agency applicants must be an arts agency that is a unit of city or county government or a nonprofit arts service organization officially designated to operate as an arts agency on behalf of its local government. All applications will be reviewed by panelists from around the country, including artists, administrators, and laypeople from diverse backgrounds. No grants will be awarded on a “first come, first served” basis.

The application deadline for arts and cultural organizations is August 12, 2021. Read the organization guidelines for full details.

The application deadline for local arts agencies for subgranting is July 22, 2021. Read the local arts agencies subgranting guidelines for full details.

“A primary goal for the National Endowment for the Arts is to incorporate principles of equity, access, and inclusion in its implementation of the ARP grant program,” said NEA Acting Chairman Ann Eilers. “These efforts constitute a critical step in the agency’s engagement with communities traditionally underserved by government.”  

Welcoming Applications

The Arts Endowment is encouraging applications from a variety of eligible organizations including those:

  • That serve populations whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by ethnicity, economics, geography, or disability; 
  • With small and medium-sized budgets and from rural to urban parts of the country; and
  • That are applying to the Arts Endowment for the first time.

The NEA recognizes that some organizations face barriers in accessing grant funding. Staff is working to ensure that all applicants receive the support they need to navigate every step of the application and grant-fulfillment process. Arts Endowment staff are developing a suite of technical assistance tools including videos, and  FAQs. These are posted on the Applicant Resources pages for arts and culture organizations and for local arts agencies subgranting with additional resources rolling out in the coming weeks.  

WEBINAR:  Applying for ARP Grants - Rep. Pingree/NEA Virtual Workshop

Please join Congresswoman Chellie Pingree and the National Endowment for the Arts for a virtual workshop outlining how to apply for American Rescue Plan (ARP) relief funding from the NEA. The workshop will be held on Wednesday, July 14, from 10:30-11:30 am.

In this one-hour workshop, NEA subject matter experts will walk you through how to submit a competitive application for this funding. There will be time for Q&A.

Registration is required in order to attend. To register and receive the Zoom link, please RSVP here no later than 5 pm on Tuesday, July 13.



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Ryan Leighton

193 State Street
SHS 25
Augusta  ME  04333