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NEA Announces CARES Act Funding to Support Arts Jobs and Help Sustain Arts Organizations

Stage Directions • Industry News • April 8, 2020


The National Endowment for the Arts announced today its guidelines to swiftly distribute funding to nonprofit arts organizations from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to preserve jobs and help support organizations forced to close operations due to the spread of COVID-19.

With the $75 million appropriated to the National Endowment for the Arts through the CARES Act, the Arts Endowment will award 40 percent of the funds directly to state and regional arts agencies by April 30th to distribute through their funding programs. Sixty percent of the funds are designated for direct grants to nonprofit arts organizations all across the United States and will be announced by June 30th.

“The National Endowment for the Arts is thankful to the President and members of Congress for recognizing the cultural and economic contribution to America made by the 5,100,000 men and women employed in the arts sector across the United States. In an effort to provide funding to save as many jobs as possible, as quickly as possible, these time frames are faster than the schedule used in 2009 to distribute relief funds. I am proud of the professionalism and organizational excellence demonstrated by our tireless staff and look forward to doing all that we can to help save jobs in the arts sector and keep the doors open to the thousands of organizations that add value to America’s economy and the creative life of our communities,” said Mary Anne Carter, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.

More than 3,700 organizations that have received National Endowment for the Arts awards in the past four years are eligible to apply for a direct grant. Funds can be used for staff salary support, fees for artists or contractual personnel, and facilities costs. The direct grants will not require a cost share or match and will be for a fixed amount of $50,000. Designated local arts agencies eligible to subgrant may request $100,000 or $250,000 for subgranting programs. The deadline to apply is April 22, 2020 with the earliest announcement of grant award or rejection by June 30. Please see the Arts Endowment’s website for program description, eligibility requirements, application review, and FAQs.

As with all of the Arts Endowment’s direct grants, applications will be reviewed by panels convened by the Arts Endowment and judged on artistic excellence and merit, which includes the potential to have a significant and immediate impact on the arts workforce and the organization’s ability to carry out an award.

More information on the National Endowment for the Arts’ COVID-19 response can be found at arts.gov, including FAQs for applicants and grantees and links to government resources and nationwide resources for artists and arts organizations. In addition, Chairman Carter has started a weekly podcast, Chairman’s Corner, which is available to stream and download at arts.gov.

About the National Endowment for the Arts
Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit arts.gov to learn more.

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