Newest NEA Grants to Orchestras Support Local Communities

December 14, 2016

Orchestras create new music, learning, and partnerships in communities with FY17 NEA grant support

Orchestras will share the experience of live music with communities throughout the country in the coming year with grant support from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) by way of 56 new grants in the Art Works (Part 1) and Challenge America categories. Direct funding from the NEA enables grantees to leverage the federal investment into an average return of at least nine dollars from other state, local, and private sources.

The NEA's first round of FY17 Art Works grants -- which focus on the creation of work and presentation of both new and existing work, lifelong learning in the arts, and public engagement with the arts -- includes 40 direct awards to orchestras totaling $1,237,500, as well as numerous grants for related projects in a variety of disciplines.


This first major funding round of the fiscal year includes Art Works: Creativity Connects grants, which support partnerships between arts organizations and organizations from non-arts sectors such as healthcare, nutrition, juvenile justice, science, and technology, among many others. One orchestral recipient of this grant is the Philadelphia Orchestra, which will provide a music therapy program for Philadelphia's homeless population in partnership with Broad Street Ministry. Orchestra grantees receiving Art Works support will support emerging composers and premiere new works, provide music instruction and mentorship for students, collaborate with other arts organizations and disciplines, support new productions and experimental programming, enable orchestras to conduct residencies in their communities, celebrate diverse cultural heritages, and provide countless engagement opportunities through lectures, panel discussions, and master classes.

The NEA also awarded $160,000 in FY17 Challenge America grants to sixteen small and mid-sized orchestras that will extend the reach of their music, educational programming, and workshops for youth and adults whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, economics, or disability. Supported projects include free performances, lecture-demonstrations, workshops for students in economically underserved and geographically isolated areas, free concerts and transportation for seniors, a sensory-friendly concert for families and community members with autism, and programming for immigrant and refugee populations.

Future FY17 grants will be announced for Art Works (Part Two) in the spring. 
Deadlines for FY18 grant applications have been posted, and guidelines are expected in mid-late December.

The League has compiled the project descriptions for grants to orchestras and grants related to the orchestra field. Complete lists of grant amounts and project descriptions for awards in all disciplines may be found on the NEA web site

View Complete Orchestra Project Descriptions

Apply Now for 2017 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards

The President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, is now accepting applications for the 2017 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards. With its $10,000 award for each of twelve winners, the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program assists organizations, furthers knowledge, and encourages development of future programs.

After-school and out-of-school time arts and humanities programs sponsored by performing arts organizations, museums, libraries, educational institutions, arts centers, community service organizations, businesses, and eligible government entities are encouraged to submit an application. Be sure to review all of the program's 
Eligibility Criteria note that the deadline for application submissions is Wednesday, February 8, 2017, 5:00 p.m. PST.