NEA Our Town

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)

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Aug 6, 2022

Grant amount:
US $25,000 – US $150,000

Fields of work:

Art for Social Change

Public / Community Art

Performing Arts

Community Culture & Heritage

Cross-Cultural Understanding & Exchanges

Arts / Culture Access & Participation

Museums & Cultural Institutions

Landscape Architecture

Community Development & Revitalization

Artist Training & Development

Visual Arts

Art Education

Business Development

Art Festivals

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Applicant type:
Government Entity, Indigenous Group, Nonprofit

Funding uses:
Project / Program, Exhibitions, Capital Project, Training / Capacity Building

Location of project:
United States

Location of residency:
United States

OUR TOWN: Grant Program DescriptionProjectsWe encourage applications for artistically excellent projects that:
Bring new attention to or elevate key community assets and issues, voices of residents, local history, or cultural infrastructure.Inject new or additional energy, resources, activity, people, or enthusiasm into a place, community issue, or local economy.Envision new possibilities for a community or place – a new future, a new way of overcoming a challenge, or approaching problem-solving.Connect communities, people, places, and economic opportunity via physical spaces or new relationships.The National Endowment for the Arts plans to support a variety of projects across the country in urban, rural, and tribal communities of all sizes.Project TypesOur Town projects must integrate arts, culture, and design activities into efforts that strengthen communities by advancing local economic, physical, and/or social outcomes. Projects may include activities such as:Arts Engagement
Artist residency: A program designed to strategically connect artists with the opportunity to bring their creative skill sets to non-arts institutions, including residencies in government offices, businesses, or other institutions.Arts festivals: Public events that gather people, often in public space or otherwise unexpected places, to showcase talent and exchange culture.Community co-creation of art: The process of engaging stakeholders to participate or collaborate alongside artists/designers in conceiving, designing, or fabricating a work or works of art.Performances: Presentations of a live art work (e.g., music, theater, dance, media).Public art: A work of art that is conceived for a particular place or community, with the intention of being broadly accessible, and often involving community members in the process of developing, selecting, or executing the work.Temporary public art: A work of art that is conceived for a particular place or community and meant for display over a finite period of time, with the intention of being broadly accessible and often involving community members in developing, selecting, or executing the work.Cultural PlanningCultural planning: The process of identifying and leveraging a community’s cultural resources and decision-making (e.g., creating a cultural plan, or integrating plans and policies around arts and culture as part of a city master planning process).Cultural district planning: The process of convening stakeholders to identify a specific geography with unique potential for community and/or economic development based on cultural assets (e.g., through designation, branding, policy, plans, or other means).Creative asset mapping: The process of identifying the people, places, physical infrastructure, institutions, and customs that hold meaningful aesthetics, historical, and/or economic value that make a place unique.Public art planning: The process of developing community-wide strategies and/or policies that guide and support commissioning, installing, and maintaining works of public art and/or temporary public art.DesignArtist/designer-facilitated community planning: Artists/designers leading or partnering in the creative processes of visioning, and for solutions to community issues.Design of artist space: Design processes to support the creation of dedicated spaces for artists to live and/or to produce, exhibit, or sell their work.Design of cultural facilities: Design processes to support the creation of a dedicated building or space for creating and/or showcasing arts and culture.Public space design: The process of designing elements of public infrastructure, or spaces where people congregate (e.g., parks, plazas, landscapes, neighborhoods, districts, infrastructure, and artist-produced elements of streetscapes).Artist and Creative Industry SupportCreative business development: Programs or services that support entrepreneurs and businesses in the creative industries, or help cultivate strong infrastructure for establishing and developing creative businesses.Professional artist development: Programs or services that support artists professionally, such as through skill development or accessing markets and capital.Strengthening CommunitiesThrough Our Town projects, the National Endowment for the Arts Endowment intends to achieve the following objective: Strengthening Communities: Provide opportunities for the arts to be integrated into the fabric of community life.Our Town project outcomes may include:Economic Change: Economic improvements of individuals, institutions, or the community including local business growth, job creation/labor force participation, professional development/training, prevention of displacement, in-migration, and tourism.Physical Change: Physical improvements that occur to the built and natural environment including beautification and/or enhancement of physical environment, new construction, and redevelopment (including arts, culture, and public space).Social Change: Improvements to social relationships, civic engagement and community empowerment, and/or amplifying community identity including civic engagement, collective efficacy, social capital, social cohesion, and community attachment.Systems Change: Improvements to community capacity to sustain the integration of arts, culture, and design into strategies for advancing local economic, physical, and/or social outcomes including, for example: establishment of new and lasting cross-sector partnerships; shifts in institutional structure, practices or policies; replication or scaling of innovative project models; establishment of training programs; or dissemination of informational resources to support the creative placemaking field. 

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder’s website.

State governments.City or township governments.Special district governments.Independent school districts.Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized).Public and State controlled institutions of higher education.Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher educationCounty governments.Private institutions of higher education.A key to the success of creative placemaking is involving the arts in partnership with committed governmental, nonprofit, and private sector leadership. All applications must demonstrate a partnership that will provide leadership for the project. These partnerships must involve two primary partners, as defined by these guidelines:Nonprofit organization.Local government entity.One of these two primary partners must be a cultural (arts or design) organization. The highest ranking official of the local government is required to submit a formal statement of support designating the project as the one of the up to two applications being submitted for the local government.

Additional partners are encouraged and may include an appropriate variety of entities such as arts organizations and artists, design professionals and design centers, state level government agencies, foundations, nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, real estate developers, business leaders, community organizations, councils of government, rural or regional planning organizations, transportation agencies, special districts, educational organizations, as well as public and governmental entities; and should engage in partnership with other sectors (such as agriculture and food, economic development, education and youth, environment and energy, health, housing, public safety, transportation, and workforce development).

Other Opportunities
from National Endowment For The Arts (Nea)

Independent Film and Media Arts Field-Building Initiative

NEA Grants for Arts Projects 2, FY2023

NEA Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge for High School Students

NEA Our Town, FY2023

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This page was last reviewed March 22, 2022 and last updated February 09, 2022


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