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National Endowment for the Arts Announces CARES Act Arts Grants for Recent NEA Grantees

On April 8, 2020, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced guidelines to distribute funding it received through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to nonprofit arts organizations through direct NEA grants.

Important Note: The NEA is stipulating that CARES Act funding is only open to organizations that have received direct NEA grants in the past four federal fiscal years (FFY 2017-FFY 2020). The NEA explains why on its CARES Act FAQ page.

CARES Act grants from the NEA can be used for staff salary support, fees for artists or contractual personnel, and facilities costs. These special grants will not require a cost share or match and will be for a fixed amount of $50,000. Designated local arts agencies eligible to subgrant may request $100,000 or $250,000 for subgranting programs.

The deadline to apply is April 22, 2020, with the earliest announcement of grant award or rejection by June 30.

For more information,
please see the Arts Endowment’s website for program description, eligibility requirements, application review, and FAQs.

The direct grants described above comprise $40 million of the $75 million appropriated to the National Endowment for the Arts through the CARES Act. The NEA will award the remainder of the funds directly to state and regional arts agencies by April 30, 2020. The Ohio Arts Council is currently waiting for additional state-level guidance on these funds and is considering several different scenarios, which will be dependent on NEA criteria. We promise to provide more information once our board’s leadership has approved the way forward for these additional funds.

For more information about the NEA’s direct grants and eligibility, visit

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ohio Arts Council has developed a page to provide answers to frequently asked questions, keep you apprised of agency news and updates, and share resources to assist you in your operations and planning. Read more here:

Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit to learn more about the NEA.

The Ohio Arts Council is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically. Connect with the OAC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or visit our website at


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