Frequently Asked Questions
Why are only past NEA award recipients eligible?
This criterion is the result of guidance provided by the Office of Management and Budget, requirements of the legislation, and the NEA's best effort to be equitable and fair.
Guidance from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
- OMB directs federal agencies to work to mitigate risk by taking actions such as obligating funds to existing award recipients with the demonstrated ability to deliver the results and accountability objectives in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Recent NEA grantees meet this criterion.
Applicability of OMB's guidance to the NEA
- Have been vetted through the NEA's rigorous review system by panels of experts in the field, the National Council on the Arts, and the Arts Endowment Chairman.
- Due to that process, previous grantees represent a diverse pool of applicants capable of carrying out projects that meet the Congressionally mandated criteria of artistic excellence and merit and the accountability requirements of the AARRA.
The four-year stipulation
- Provides for a pool of approximately 3,400 applications, far more than the agency can support given the available funding and program timing.
- Represents all arts disciplines and fields, organizational sizes, and wide geographic reach.
- Provides a rational and manageable pool of potential applicants, which is important for a program that has to be implemented rapidly.
Other opportunities for stimulus support:
In addition to direct grants from the NEA, organizations have three other avenues from which to seek support through the AARRA. Approximately 50 percent of the AARRA funds will be available through subgrants awarded by:
- State arts agencies.
- Regional arts organizations of state arts agencies.
- Designated local arts agencies eligible to subgrant funds.
Other support at the NEA:
Arts organizations are invited to apply to the NEA's primary grant categories. In the next several months, the Access to Artistic Excellence, Challenge America, and Learning in the Arts categories feature application deadlines.
Why do the projects eligible for support only address job preservation?
While the overall Recovery Act speaks to both job creation and job preservation, the part of the Act specific to the NEA states that funds are to be distributed in direct grants "which preserve jobs in the non-profit arts sector threatened by declines in philanthropic and other support during the current economic downturn."
Why isn't a job for development staff eligible for support?
Salaries, wages, fringe benefits, and fees that are incurred in connection with fund raising are not allowable project expenses -- for this program or any other federal grantmaking program.
Is there a salary cap on the job(s) for which my organization can seek support?
No. The job(s) for which you request support must be critical to your organization's mission and core work, and they should be in jeopardy because of the current economic situation. While there is no limit on the salary your organization pays for the position(s), the maximum amount that the NEA will provide to your organization, in total, is $25,000 or $50,000. The NEA funds may be used for full or partial support of one or more salaries. These NEA grants are nonmatching. However, if the NEA provides only partial support for a salary, it's up to your organization to cover the balance from other sources, as appropriate.
Can my organization apply for an existing position even if it is currently unfilled?
Yes. Funds under this Act are intended to preserve jobs. We realize that an organization may have a critical position that is currently unfilled due to numerous reasons including but not limited to finances.
What does "previously engaged" mean in the context of fees for artists and/or contractual personnel?
The intention here is not to support the engagement of personnel for new projects. Rather, funding is intended to provide fee support for artists and/or contractual personnel already involved in activities that: 1) are underway, but threatened; 2) could benefit by being extended beyond the period that present finances allow; or 3) have received serious planning, but have been put on hold or have been cancelled due to economics (in which case contracts would not yet have been signed).
If personnel are already included in a current NEA grant, can I request support for them under this program?
Yes, as long as each request is for a distinctly different project. A grantee may not receive more than one Arts Endowment grant for the same project during the same or an overlapping period of support. For example, an orchestra could request support for an arts education coordinator through this program (one project). That same arts education coordinator could work on programs related to another NEA grant (a second project), as long as the same time is not charged to both projects. There can be no commingling of funds and grantees are required to maintain records that easily account for these separate costs.
Is my organization more likely to receive a grant if we request $25,000 rather than $50,000?
Each application will be considered in connection with the review criteria of artistic excellence and artistic merit as detailed in the guidelines. Grants will be awarded for the amount requested or not at all. You should present a compelling argument for your proposed project in the context of your own organization. Be realistic in your request. The NEA funds are limited and will not be able to support all worthwhile projects.
Why are only certain types of organizations able to subgrant?
Congress has prohibited the Arts Endowment from making awards for subgranting activity in most instances. Exceptions exist only for state arts agencies, their regional arts organizations, and local arts agencies designated to operate on behalf of local governments.
If my organization is eligible and applies for a subgranting program, are we limited to providing a maximum of $50,000 to any one subgrantee?
Any organization that receives funds for subgranting should award those funds in a manner that will impact its constituency broadly. While there are no specific dollar limits on the amount of any subgrant, the expectation is that funds will be distributed broadly, including efforts to reach underserved populations wherever appropriate.
Why aren't consortium applications allowed?
While the Arts Endowment recognizes the value of consortium projects, it does not consider such projects the most efficient or effective vehicle for the preservation of jobs under the terms of the ARRA Act. The focus on the timely distribution of critical funds can best be achieved through grants directly to individual organizations.
Can individuals apply?
No. Congress has prohibited the Arts Endowment from making direct grants to individuals except for Literature Fellowships, NEA Jazz Masters Fellowships, NEA National Heritage Fellowships in the Folk & Traditional Arts, and National Endowment for the Arts Opera Honors. Individuals can apply for Literature Fellowships. Jazz Masters Fellowships, Heritage Fellowships, and Opera Honors are awarded based on nominations from the public.
Is there anything new or different about reporting requirements for recipients of Recovery Act funds?
Yes, the reports will be required more frequently and in a standard format. For example, quarterly reports that contain specific data about the jobs preserved will be required.
A “Recovery” section has been added to the NEA web site at www.arts.gov/recovery/ to serve as the central information portal for the agency's implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Public Law 111-5 ("Recovery Act"). Additional reporting requirements can be found here as they become available.
Do I have to submit my application through Grants.gov?
Yes. The guidance from the Office of Management and Budget requires organizations to submit their applications electronically through Grants.gov, the federal government's online application system. We strongly recommend that you submit at least 10 days in advance of the deadline to give yourself ample time to resolve any problems that you might encounter. In addition, we encourage you to submit outside the hours of 12 noon to 5 p.m. Eastern Time, when demand on the Grants.gov system is apt to be heaviest.
Renew/verify your registration with Grants.gov and make sure that all of your information is current before you apply.
National Endowment for the Arts · an independent federal agency
1100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20506