NEA launches ArtsHERE participation initiative

Increasing participation among underserved groups

Friday, January 19, 2024

This week, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced a new initiative to expand access to arts participation in our country.

A partnership with SCAC partner South Arts and in collaboration with the other five U.S. Regional Arts Organizations (RAOs), ArtsHERE will provide non-matching grant support for organizations that have demonstrated a commitment to equity within their practices and programming. Grants will fund specific projects that will strengthen grantees’ capacity to sustain meaningful community engagement and increase arts participation for underserved groups/communities. ArtsHERE is also a knowledge-sharing endeavor, with peer-learning and technical assistance opportunities for grantees. Working with grantees throughout the projects, the NEA also plans to report on lessons learned from this pilot initiative, which may inform the future of ArtsHERE and other similar funding programs and practices.

The deadline to submit a statement of interest is Friday, January 19, 2024. Visit for full guidelines and to apply.

Watch this video from Maria Rosario Jackson, Ph.D., chair of the National Endowment for the Arts:

The NEA awards thousands of grants each year throughout the nation to provide diverse opportunities for arts participation. However, historically underserved groups/communities (those whose opportunities to experience the arts have been limited by factors such as geography, race/ethnicity, economics, and/or disability) frequently report participating in various arts activities at lower rates than other groups. To address these disparities and better understand these dynamics, the NEA, in partnership with South Arts and in collaboration with the other five U.S. Regional Arts Organizations, is launching the ArtsHERE pilot grant program.

Managed by South Arts, ArtsHERE will award approximately 95 nonprofit organizations with non-matching grants of $65,000 to $130,000. Applicants should propose a specific project that will strengthen and sustain the organization’s capacity for robust community engagement, as well as support strategies to increase arts participation for underserved groups/communities. Grants are also intended to help organizations better serve their communities and to approach their operations and programming in ways that will expand their reach.

President and CEO of South Arts Susie Surkamer said, “South Arts is excited to partner with the National Endowment for the Arts and work in collaboration with our five fellow regional arts organizations. We recognize that arts and culture are powerful tools for bringing together communities and people. Through ArtsHERE, organizations that are part of the arts and cultural ecosystem will be funded for projects that increase arts participation for underserved groups/communities. We look forward to seeing the outcomes of this work, then celebrating the important contributions of the arts to our nation’s rich culture.”

Applications are welcome from organizations that are diverse in terms of geography, scale of operations, and focus of arts programming; as well as organizations that work at the intersection of the arts and other domains, such as community development, health/well-being, climate/environment, or economic development.

ArtsHERE grantees will also participate in peer-learning and technical assistance opportunities designed to share knowledge and build networks. As a pilot program, ArtsHERE will be documented and evaluated by the National Endowment for the Arts to better understand the project activities supported through this program and how grantees approached the work and may inform the future of ArtsHERE and similar funding programs in the future.

ArtsHERE is also supported by the Wallace Foundation through matching funds to the Regional Arts Organizations in support of this program.

Applicant resources

A webinar for potential applicants will take place on Thursday, November 30, 2023 at 2:00 p.m. ET. Register in advance. This webinar will be archived.

In addition, program staff are available at each Regional Arts Organization to answer questions and will be offering office hours. Visit for more details.

How to apply

Full program guidelines and eligibility are available at All applicants must submit a statement of interest, due Friday, January 19, 2024. Following review to determine if an application is eligible, complete, and aligns with the goals and objectives of the ArtsHERE program, a select number of applicants will be invited to submit a full application, due Friday, April 19, 2024.