May 18, 2021, Washington, D.C.

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) awarded 103 grants to orchestras through the Grants for Arts Projects categories in FY2021, totaling $2,276,500. In FY21 orchestras directly received NEA grant support through Grants for Arts Projects primarily in the discipline categories of music and arts education. Awards to all arts disciplines through the NEA’s Grants for Arts Projects numbered 2,245 and totaled $52,346,600. Challenge America grants were not awarded in FY21 due to the necessity to disburse emergency CARES Act grants.

In addition to the grants awarded through the Grants for Arts Projects categories, FY2021 funding supports the following:

  • The Endowment’s Research Labs grants fund trans-disciplinary research partnerships that examine and report on the benefit of the arts in non-arts sectors. A $100,000 grant was awarded to New York University in partnership with the New World Symphony to establish the Sustainable Entrepreneurship in the Performing Arts Lab, which will investigate methods and characteristics that foster entrepreneurship and innovation in the classical music ecosystem. Another Research Labs grant, of nearly $150,000, was awarded to West Chester University of Pennsylvania in partnership with WolfBrown to establish the Research on Equity via the Arts in Childhood (REACH) Lab, which will also partner with the Settlement Music School, Carnegie Hall, and Play on Philly to study how arts experiences may foster positive self-regulation outcomes and promote equity for young children facing various forms of adversity.
  • Each year, 40 percent of the agency’s grantmaking funds are designated for state arts agencies, regional arts organizations, and national service organizations that support the work of the states and regions. A total of $56.7 million is recommended for these partners in FY 2021, with $45.7 million of that total designated for the state arts agencies. Orchestras, in turn, benefit from grants at the state and local level.
  • Additional FY2021 grants include Research Grants in the Arts (distinct from Research Labs) and 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 League has compiled the grants to orchestras and grants related to the orchestra field. The COVID-19 pandemic necessitated several adjustments to projects, such as postponing activities or taking activities online, therefore the latest information about projects should be sought directly via the agency’s grant search tool.

Grants for Arts Projects (Part 1)

Grants for Arts Projects (Part 2)

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