June 12, 2020, Washington, D.C.

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) awarded 101 grants to orchestras through the Grants for Arts Projects categories in FY2020, totaling $2,337,000. In FY20 orchestras directly received NEA grant support through Challenge America and Art Works primarily in the discipline categories of music and arts education. Awards to all arts disciplines through the NEA’s largest grant categories – Art Works and Challenge America – numbered 2,202 and totaled $52,668,900.

In addition to the grants awarded through the Grants for Arts Projects categories, FY2020 funding supports the following:

  • Congress requires that 40% of NEA grant funds be made available directly to the states; 64 awards totaling $54,296,000 has been awarded through Partnership Grants to state and regional arts agencies. Orchestras, in turn, benefit from grants at the state and local level.
  • Additional FY2020 grants include $780,000 in Research Grants, funding for national initiatives including but not limited to the NEA/Walter Reed Healing Arts Partnership, the Big Read, Poetry Out Loud, literature fellowships, and Our Town.

The NEA also awarded $150,000 in FY20 Challenge America support, which will allow fifteen orchestras to extend the reach of their orchestral music, educational programming, and community engagement activities to youth and adults whose access to the arts are otherwise limited due to geography, economics, or disability. Among this year’s orchestral recipients are projects that highlight the contributions of African-American women in classical music, concerts featuring the music traditions of Central and South America, and sensory-friendly concerts.

The League typically compiles the project descriptions for grants to orchestras and grants related to the orchestra field; however, the COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated several adjustments to projects, such as postponing activities or taking activities online. As ever, some details are subject to change, contingent upon prior Endowment approval. Please find the most up-to-date information not only for orchestral projects but for all awards in all disciplines using the agency’s grant search tool.

Art Works (Part 1)

Art Works (Part 2)

Challenge America


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