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National Endowment For The Arts Announces Guidelines For Grant Awards Under American Rescue Plan
The National Endowment for the Arts recently announced its guidelines for grant awards under the American Rescue Plan (ARP), which President Biden signed into law in March and includes $135 million in emergency relief funding for the NEA.
While venues are reopening nationwide in response to mass vaccinations and artists are finally seeing work, this increased cash flow to the NEA will be a boon to creative industries that the COVID-19 pandemic existentially threatened for more than a year.
Earlier this year, the NEA distributed 40% of that $135 million ($52 million) to state and regional arts agencies. The remaining 60% will now be available through two competitive grant opportunities: one for local arts agencies, and one for non-profit organizations.
The NEA is currently accepting applications with an emphasis on specific organizations. These include those that serve populations whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by ethnicity, economics, geography, or disability; organizations with small and medium-sized budgets; organizations from rural to urban communities; and organizations that may be applying for federal support through the Arts Endowment for the first time.
According to the NEA website, that support is limited to any or all of the following:
salary support, full or partial, for one or more staff positions; fees/stipends for artists and/or contractual personnel; facilities costs such as mortgage principal, rent, and utilities; costs associated with health and safety supplies; and marketing and promotion costs.
For the Recording Academy, expanding opportunities to organizations that have not previously received NEA funds was a priority. Grants to organizations are intended to support day-to-day business expenses/operating costs and will be awarded in grant amounts of $50,000, $100,000 or $150,000. (Those applications are due in August.)
The NEA's guidelines mark the latest positive development in federal aid for creative industries. On June 28, 2021, the U.S. House Appropriations Interior Subcommittee released its FY 2022 spending bill. This subcommittee is responsible for setting the funding levels for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and other cultural agencies. The subcommittee matched the Biden Administration's budget request of $201 million for the NEA. This would represent an increase of $33.5 million over the current budget for the NEA, the largest increase in the agency's history.
Next, the spending bill will still need to pass the subcommittee, full committee, and the full House. The same process will also take place in the Senate Appropriations Committee. Daryl Friedman, the Recording Academy's Chief Advocacy Officer, has submitted written testimony to both the House and Senate requesting full funding for the NEA.
"The NEA remains an integral part of the cultural bedrock of the United States, working to bring music and the arts to towns and communities across the country," Friedman wrote. "Its mission has never been more important, and as the creative arts look to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency will prove to be a key lynchpin in the resumption of arts throughout America."
The Recording Academy's Advocacy department will continue to keep lawmakers, music workers and listeners abreast of new developments in this quest for equity in creative spheres. For more information, visit the NEA's website at https://www.arts.gov.