Art Works and Challenge America, National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)

Event Date

Art Works and Challenge America

Sponsor: National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)

Program Type: Limited Submissions
contact Meg Sparling 

Selection Limit: 1

Internal Deadline: Monday, December 2nd 2019 

Sponsor Proposal Deadline: Friday, February 14th 2020 

Budget: Art Works: $10,000 to $100,000; Challenge America: $10,000. (Minimum 100% cost match)

Project Duration: 16-20 months

Program Website:


Art Works

Art Works is the National Endowment for the Arts’ principal grants program. Through project-based funding, we support public engagement with, and access to, various forms of excellent art across the nation, the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, learning in the arts at all stages of life, and the integration of the arts into the fabric of community life. Projects may be large or small, existing or new, and may take place in any part of the nation’s 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.

We encourage applications for artistically excellent projects that:

  • Celebrate America’s creativity and cultural heritage.
  • Invite a dialogue that fosters a mutual respect for the diverse beliefs and values of all persons and groups.
  • Enrich our humanity by broadening our understanding of ourselves as individuals and as a society.

Art Works Deadlines 2020 (Anticipated)

  1. February 14, 2020
  2. July 12, 2020

Challenge America

The Challenge America category offers support primarily to small and mid-sized organizations for projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations -- those whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability. Age alone (e.g., youth, seniors) does not qualify a group as underserved; at least one of the underserved characteristics noted above also must be present. Grants are available for professional arts programming and for projects that emphasize the potential of the arts in community development.

This category encourages and supports the following objective:

  • Engagement: Engaging the public with diverse and excellent art.

Challenge America grants:

  • Extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations.
  • Are limited to the specific types of projects outlined below.
  • Are for a fixed amount of $10,000 and require a minimum $10,000 


This category supports focused, distinct projects that take place over limited periods of time and involve limited geographic areas. Such projects generally are smaller in scale and shorter in duration than those in the Art Works category.

All projects must extend the reach of the arts to populations that have limited access to the arts due to geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability. The involvement of experienced artists and arts professionals is essential. Each applicant must present a straightforward project that reflects only one of the three project types below. Grants are available only for:

  • Guest Artist project type, which refers to an arts event or events that will feature one or more guest artists.
  • Cultural Tourism, specifically the unified promotion of community-wide arts activities and/or the development of cultural tourism products.
  • The development of professionally directed public art projects.

Challenge America Deadline 2020 (Anticipated)

  • April 12, 2020


UC Davis may submit one application per calendar year to Art Works or Challenge America. 

Any individual(s) with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research as the Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) is invited to work with his/her organization to develop an application for support.

Challenge America: Partnerships can be valuable to the success of these projects. While not required, applicants are encouraged to consider partnerships among organizations, both in and outside of the arts, as appropriate to their project.


Document(s) to Upload:

  1. Project description that adequately addresses the program goals and objectives (two-page maximum)
  2. Literature/Works Cited
  3. Biosketch or CV for PI and all Co-PI's, which contains a list of relevant research funding in the past three years and publications and awards in the past five years (five-page maximum, each)

Review Criteria &Weighting:

  1. Artistic excellence of the project, which includes: Quality of the artists, arts organizations, arts education providers, works of art, or services that the project will involve, as appropriate; and artistic significance of the project. 50.0%
  2. Artistic merit of the project, which includes: potential to celebrate America’s creativity and cultural heritage; invite mutual respect for differing beliefs and values; and also enrich humanity. Extent to which project serves organization’s community or constituency. Potential impact on artists and artistic field. Appropriateness of project to organization's mission, audience, community, and/or constituency. Appropriateness of any proposed performance measurements. This includes, where relevant, measures to assess student and/or teacher learning in arts education. Plans for documentation and dissemination of project results, as appropriate. Ability to carry out project. Where appropriate, potential to reach underserved populations. 50.0%

You will receive feedback in the form of all summary level comments.

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