OPERA: Art Works
Introduction | Deadlines (March or August) | Project Reporting and Evaluation | Application Review | Contacts | If you wish to apply | Grant Amounts & Matching Funds
The guiding principle of "Art Works" is at the center of everything we do at the NEA. "Art Works" refers to three things: the works of art themselves, the ways art works on audiences, and the fact that art is work for the artists and arts professionals who make up the field.
To make "art work," the NEA has included the advancement of innovation as a core component of its mission as a way to ensure the vitality of the arts. We recognize that arts and design organizations are often in the forefront of innovation in their work and strongly encourage innovative projects which are characterized as those that:
- Are likely to prove transformative with the potential for meaningful change, whether in the development or enhancement of new or existing art forms, new approaches to the creation or presentation of art, or new ways of engaging the public with art;
- Are distinctive, offering fresh insights and new value for their fields and/or the public through unconventional solutions; and
- Have the potential to be shared and/or emulated, or are likely to lead to other advances in the field.
Through the projects that we support in the Art Works category, we want to achieve the following four outcomes:
- Creation: The creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence,
- Engagement: Public engagement with diverse and excellent art,
- Learning: Lifelong learning in the arts, and
- Livability: The strengthening of communities through the arts.
Partnerships can be valuable to the success of projects. While not required, applicants are encouraged to consider partnerships among organizations, both in and outside of the arts, as appropriate to their project.
American arts and design organizations must be inclusive of the full range of demographics of their communities, as well as individuals of all physical and cognitive abilities. Toward that end, we encourage projects for which NEA support is sought to strive for the highest level of inclusiveness in their audiences, programming, artists, governance, and staffing. We also welcome projects that will explicitly address the issue of inclusion.
We are interested in projects that extend the arts to underserved populations -- those whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability. This is achieved in part through the use of Challenge America funds.
The Art Works category does not fund direct grants to individuals. Direct grants to individuals are offered only in the category of Literature Fellowships.
Grants generally will range from $10,000 to $100,000. Grants of $100,000 or more will be made only in rare instances, and only for projects that the Arts Endowment determines demonstrate exceptional national or regional significance and impact. In the past few years, well over half of the agency's grants have been for amounts less than $25,000.
Art Works applications will be accepted under two deadlines: March 7, 2013, and August 8, 2013. Apply under the deadline with the NEA outcome (in bold below) and project example that most closely corresponds to the primary focus of your proposed project. You will be asked to indicate the outcome that is most relevant to your project in your application and on the application form (you also will be able to select a secondary outcome).
March 7, 2013, Application Deadline
January 1, 2014, Earliest Beginning Date for Arts Endowment Period of Support
- Commissions, residencies, and workshops with artists; development and performances of new operatic works. This may include composer, librettist, and/or artist fees.
- Development of innovative new works that cross genres.
- World, national, regional, and local premieres.
- New productions of traditional and contemporary works.
- Remounting of existing productions.
- Concert opera: performances of the operatic repertoire that are not fully staged. (Music organizations (non-opera organizations) that are proposing concert opera projects should apply under the Music discipline.)
August 8, 2013, Application Deadline
June 1, 2014, Earliest Beginning Date for Arts Endowment Period of Support
- Opera festivals: commissions, residencies, and workshops with artists; development and performances of new operatic works; and development of innovative new works that cross genres. This may include composer, librettist, and/or artist fees.
- Opera festivals: world, national, regional, and local premieres; new productions of traditional and contemporary works; and remounting of existing productions.
- Simulcast performances in public venues.
- Touring and outreach activities that provide access to and experience with the art form for diverse communities and new audiences.
- Artist residency activities where the primary purpose is public engagement with art.
- Recordings of opera works by both American and international composers.
- Technology projects such as online resources and libraries which provide public access to operatic works.
- Documentation, preservation, and conservation of America's opera heritage.
- Services to the opera field, including services to opera companies, singers, composers, and librettists. These may include activities such as convening, workshops, data collection, information sharing, networks, online resources, technical assistance, publications, and professional development.
- Education and related activities for youth, adults, intergenerational groups, and schools. (If your project is for youth, see "Choosing the Right Discipline for Youth Projects" to help you in your discipline selection.)
- Professional development programs that include theatrical training for artists who have finished their conservatory training and are emerging on the professional stage. This may include coaching, conducting, acting, stage movement, diction, language, mentorship, and career development.
- Operatic performances and other activities in public spaces that are intended to foster community interaction and/or enhance the unique characteristics of a community.
(Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact staff if they are considering Livability as a primary outcome.)
Project Reporting and Evaluation [Back to Top]
We ask all applicants to define what they would like to achieve, how they will assess the degree to which it is achieved, and, upon completion of the project, what they have learned from their experiences. Such feedback need not entail large-scale or expensive evaluation efforts. You should do what is feasible and appropriate for your organization and project. When a grant is completed, you must submit a final report and answer questions on your achievements and how these were determined. Arts Education grantees will be required to describe the assessment methods used to assess learning, and they will be required to submit any tools used to assess learning with their Final Report. (Please note that assessment tools may be shared publicly. If your tools are proprietary and have copyrights or trademarks attached, you will be asked to note that in your application and Final Report.) Before applying, please review the reporting requirements for the outcome that will be selected for the proposed project: Creation, Engagement, Learning, or Livability.
Beyond the reporting requirements for all grantees, selected Art Works grantees will be asked to assist in the collection of additional information that can help the NEA determine the degree to which agency objectives were achieved. You may be contacted to provide evidence of project accomplishments including, but not limited to, work samples, community action plans, cultural asset studies, programs, reviews, relevant news clippings, and playbills. Please remember that you are required to maintain project documentation for three years following submission of your final reports.
This category uses the agency's traditional method of application review. Applications are submitted to the Opera staff and are reviewed by a diverse group of experts in the opera field.
Applications are reviewed on the basis of artistic excellence and artistic merit. For more detailed information on how artistic excellence and artistic merit will be evaluated, see the "Review
Criteria." You can find
additional information in the "Application
Review" section of
the "Frequently Asked Questions." See the "Application Calendar" for information on when we expect to announce grant awards and rejections.
Opera Specialist: Georgianna Paul, firstname.lastname@example.org or 202/682-5600
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