National Programs

Mid-America Arts Alliance is one of six regional arts organizations (RAOs), together serving each state in the US: Arts Midwest, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation,  New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA), South Arts, and Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF).

Each of the six RAOs focuses on a specialization for their national programming: here at M-AAA, we focus on touring exhibitions; Arts Midwest supports literary arts; Mid Atlantic supports Latin American art; NEFA supports dance and theater, and other performing arts; South Arts supports disaster preparedness; and WESTAF supports technological solutions for the arts.

Below, please find some national program opportunities from M-AAA, our partners at the other five RAOs, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Arts Ready

ArtsReady, an online emergency preparedness service by and for arts/cultural nonprofits, provides arts organizations with customized business continuity plans for post-crisis sustainability. It is a national initiative of our partners at South Arts. Arts Ready also has free resources for a variety of needs, including:

  • Risk assessment
  • Set up for remote work access
  • Hurricane preparedness checklist
  • Floods: before, during, and after tips

The Big Read

The National Endowment for the Arts Big Read supports organizations across the country in developing community-wide reading programs that encourage reading and participation by diverse audiences. These programs include activities such as author readings, book discussions, art exhibits, lectures, film series, music or dance events, theatrical performances, panel discussions, and other events and activities related to the community’s chosen book. Activities focus on one book from the NEA Big Read library.

Approximately 75 organizations in communities of varying sizes across the country will be selected to participate in NEA Big Read each year from September through June. Visit the guidelines and application.

Jazz Road

Jazz Road is an artist-centric touring and residency grants program promoting deeper engagement between jazz musicians, presenters, and communities. From our friends at South Arts.

  • Jazz Road Tours: grants of up to $15,000 to develop tours into communities across the country. Rolling deadlines, open now.
  • Jazz Road Creative Residencies: support multi-week engagements for mid-career artists.
  • Survey for Presenters: for venues interested in being contacted by artists about potential Jazz Road engagements. Open now.

National Dance Project

Now in its third decade, National Dance Project is widely recognized as one of the country’s major sources of funding and field building for dance. NDP has invested more than $38.5 million in funding primarily to support the creation and touring of new dance works, as well as other initiatives, including production residencies and regionally focused professional development for dance artists. It is a program of the New England Foundation for the Arts.

The National Dance Project offers several grants, including:

National Theater Project

The National Theater Project (NTP) promotes the development of artist-led, ensemble, and devised theater work while extending the reach and life of these projects through touring.

Performing Arts Global Exchange (PAGE)

PAGE, from Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, brings exemplary international music, dance, and theater to audiences across the United States. Fee support grants are available to nonprofit presenting venues and units of state, local, or tribal government based anywhere in the U.S. or its territories who book artists from a curated roster. Artists on the roster have not widely toured in the United States and reside in a selected region, with the inaugural year’s roster featuring artists from U.S. neighbors: Canada and Mexico. (PAGE is the next iteration of national tours for international artists after Mid Atlantic sunset its Southern Exposure program.)

Poetry Out Loud

Poetry Out Loud is a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering free educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition for high school students across the country. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life. Poetry Out Loud is a partnership of the National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Foundation, and the state and jurisdictional arts agencies. If you are interested in participating in the official program, contact your state arts agency.

Shakespeare in American Communities

Shakespeare in American Communities is a theater program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. Through grants to theater companies that produce Shakespeare’s works, this program supports high-quality productions and educational activities in middle schools, high schools, and juvenile justice facilities throughout the United States.

Traveling Exhibitions

ExhibitsUSA is a program from M-AAA that provide traveling exhibitions at a fraction of the actual cost. We provide everything from installation instructions to educational materials for the show as it hangs in your space.

USArtists International

USArtists International supports performances by US dance, music, and theater solo artists and ensembles invited to perform at important cultural festivals and performing arts marketplaces anywhere in the world outside the United States and its territories. This grant program has recently expanded to accept applications for virtual performances (live-streamed or pre-recorded) at eligible international festivals. USArtists International grantees reflect the vibrant diversity of U.S. artists and creative expression in the performing arts. Learn more.

WESTAF Tech Products

  • Call for Entry/CaFÉ is the leading online call for entry application and adjudication management service
  • Creative Vitality Suite is the industry standard data solution for measuring the for-profit and nonprofit arts, culture, and creative sectors
  • GO Smart is an online grants management system that was designed for arts administrators by arts administrators
  • Public Art Archive is a free online and mobile database of completed public artworks
  • ZAPP enables individual artists to apply online to multiple art shows through one central website
Grants from the National Endowment for the Arts

Creative Writing Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts

Fellowships in fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction enable recipients to set aside time for writing, research, travel, and general career advancement. Non-matching grants are for $25,000. Learn more about this program.

Grants for Arts Projects from the National Endowment for the Arts

These grants support artistically excellent projects that celebrate our creativity and cultural heritage, invite mutual respect for differing beliefs and values, and enrich humanity. Cost share/matching grants generally range from $10,000 to $100,000. A minimum cost share/match equal to the grant amount is required. (Grant applications previously submitted to the Art Works category will now be submitted to the Grants for Arts Projects category.) These grants are for arts organizations. Learn more

Our Town from the National Endowment for the Arts

Our Town is the National Endowment for the Arts’ creative placemaking grants program. These grants support projects that integrate arts, culture, and design activities into efforts that strengthen communities by advancing local economic, physical, and/or social outcomes. Successful Our Town projects ultimately lay the groundwork for systemic changes that sustain the integration of arts, culture, and design into local strategies for strengthening communities. These projects require a partnership between a nonprofit organization and a local government entity, with one of the partners being a cultural organization. Cost share/matching grants range from $25,000 to $150,000, with a minimum cost share/match equal to the grant amount. Learn more.

Research Awards from the National Endowment for the Arts

The National Endowment for the Arts invites applicants to engage with the agency’s five-year research agenda through two funding opportunities for research projects:

  • Research Grants in the Arts funds research that investigates the value and/or impact of the arts, either as individual components of the U.S. arts ecology or as they interact with each other and/or with other domains of American life. Matching/cost share grants of $10,000 to $100,000 will be awarded.
  • NEA Research Labs funds transdisciplinary research teams grounded in the social and behavioral sciences, yielding empirical insights about the arts for the benefit of arts and non-arts sectors alike. Matching/cost share cooperative agreements of up to $150,000 will be awarded.

Research Grants in the Arts offers grants, and NEA Research Labs offers cooperative agreements. The difference between grants and cooperative agreements is the Arts Endowment’s involvement. The Arts Endowment is substantially involved with cooperative agreements. Therefore, the Arts Endowment will be substantially involved in the direction and accomplishments of NEA Research Labs. Learn more about these grants.

Translation Projects from the National Endowment for the Arts

Translation Projects enable recipients to translate work from other languages into English. Non-matching grants are for $12,500 or $25,000, depending upon the artistic excellence and merit of the project. Learn more about this program.

National Initiatives and Partnerships from the National Endowment for the Arts

Arts and Human Development Task Force

Beginning in 2011, the NEA has convened a Federal Interagency Task Force on the Arts and Human Development to encourage more and better research on how the arts can help people reach their full potential at all stages of life.

Arts Education Partnership

The Arts Education Partnership, a collaboration among the NEA, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Education Commission of the States as well as all AEP partner organizations, convenes forums to discuss topics in arts education, publishes research materials supporting the role of arts education in schools, and acts as a clearinghouse for arts education resource material.

Blue Star Museums

Blue Star Museums is a collaboration among the NEA, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums in all 50 states that offers free admission to active-duty military personnel and their families during the summer.

Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design

The Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design (CIRD) is a leadership initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the Housing Assistance Council and buildingcommunityWORKSHOP. Focusing on communities with populations of 50,000 or less, CIRD’s goal is to enhance the quality of life and economic viability of rural America through planning, design, and creative placemaking.

Creative Forces

Creative Forces: NEA Military Healing Arts Network is an initiative of the NEA in partnership with the U.S. Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs and the state and local arts agencies that seeks to improve the health, wellness, and quality of life for military and veteran populations exposed to trauma, as well as their families and caregivers.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities

The National Endowment for the Arts is a partner with the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities in outreach to HBCUs.


Through cooperative initiatives with other funders, the National Endowment for the Arts brings the benefit of international exchange to arts organizations, artists, and audiences nationwide. NEA’s international activities increase recognition of the excellence of US arts around the world and broaden the scope of experience of American artists, thereby enriching the art they create.

Mayors’ Institute on City Design

A partnership of the NEA and the US Conference of Mayors, the Mayors’ Institute on City Design convenes mayors and design experts to solve the most critical planning and design challenges facing their cities.

Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge

The National Endowment for the Arts is in the third year of its national competition for high school songwriters, the Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge. The Arts Endowment is partnering with the American Theatre Wing along with collaborators Disney Theatrical Productions, Concord Theatricals, and the NMPA S.O.N.G.S Foundation.

Native Arts and Culture

The National Endowment for the Arts is a partner with the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education in outreach to Native artists, organizations, and communities.

NEA Research Labs

Transdisciplinary teams that function as centers of excellence for research on key topics associated with the value and impact of the arts.

Save America’s Treasures

Established in 1999, the Save America’s Treasures program helps preserve nationally significant historic properties and collections that convey our nation’s rich heritage to future generations of Americans. The program is a partnership between the National Park Service, National Endowment for the Humanities, Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the NEA.

Women’s Suffrage Centennial

The National Endowment for the Arts is celebrating the centennial of women’s suffrage by publishing a new book on art from the movement, Creativity and Persistence; devoting an issue of our magazine to the topic; partnering with the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission on nationwide projects; and more.