The following funding opportunities from federal agencies highlight an array of arts-related programs that support local humanities councils, arts education, employment, and cultural exchanges. Application deadlines are approaching for each of these five grants, so apply soon!
1. National Endowment for the Humanities – State Humanities Councils General Operating Support Grants
The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), an independent federal agency in the executive branch, provides general operating support grants to 56 state and jurisdictional humanities councils. NEH’s two primary strategic goals are to advance knowledge and understanding of the humanities and to increase public awareness of, access to, and support for the humanities in the United States. State humanities councils make humanities education and lifelong learning readily available at the local level, uniquely tailored to local interests and needs and drawing upon local resources and experiences. NEH and the Office of Federal/State Partnership use General Operating Support grants as the primary means of funding the 56 state and jurisdictional humanities councils. NEH awards General Operating Support grants for five-year periods—three years in which the grants provide funding, plus two subsequent years to close out the grants.
2. Department of Education – Office of Innovation and Improvement (OII): Assistance for Arts Education Programs: Professional Development for Arts Educators Grants
The Assistance for Arts Education program is authorized under Title IV, Part F, Subpart 4 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and is intended to enrich the academic experiences by promoting arts education for students, including disadvantaged students and students who are children with disabilities. The Professional Development for Arts Educators grant (PDAE) specifically supports the implementation of high-quality model professional development programs for arts educators and other instructional staff in the areas of music, dance, drama, media arts, and visual arts, including folk arts, for students in kindergarten through grade 12 (K-12) in which 50 percent or more of the students are from low-income families.
3. National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) – NEA 2017 Careers in the Arts Toolkit: Increasing Employment Opportunities in the Arts for People with Disabilities
People with disabilities experience many barriers to careers in the arts, such as inaccessible work spaces, fluctuating job stability and health benefits, and attitudinal barriers about employment opportunities. In a June 2016 online dialogue with the arts and disability community facilitated by the U.S. Department of Labor, participants identified a need for more online tools, resources, and professional development opportunities for people with disabilities seeking employment in the arts. Similarly, new resources are needed to help arts organizations see the value of including people with disabilities in their employment and other opportunities. The purpose of this Program Solicitation is to select an organization to develop a web-based toolkit designed to provide resources for job seekers and employers to help reduce barriers to careers in the arts for people with disabilities. These resources will assist artists and arts workers with disabilities with developing careers in the arts, as well as build capacity within arts organizations and the disability sector to better serve people with disabilities who seek employment. The toolkit will be housed on the National Endowment for the Arts’ website.
Cultural diplomacy, an essential facet of America’s foreign policy, enhances cross-cultural understanding and opens new avenues of dialogue and collaboration between individuals and nations. In support of U.S. Department of State foreign policy objectives, Creative Arts Exchange initiatives are arts-based, international people-to-people exchange programs. They create partnerships through artistic collaboration and professional development that enrich both the international participants and the Americans with whom they meet.
5. National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) – NEA 2017 Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge for High School Students
The National Endowment for the Arts’ Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge for High School Students (the “Songwriting Challenge”) began in 2016 as an opportunity for students in three cities to showcase their songwriting talents and compete for the opportunity to participate in a mentorship and final competition in New York City. Working alone or in collaboration with one other student, contestants are challenged to create the lyrics and music for an original song that could appear in a musical theater show. Now, the 2017-2018 Songwriting Challenge is being expanded to reach any eligible high school student across the United States. Students will compete for the opportunity to be one of six regional finalists traveling to New York City for the Finalist Weekend in Spring 2018.