Home News & Events National Endowment for the Arts announces $135 million in new relief aid

National Endowment for the Arts announces $135 million in new relief aid

New relief funding for arts organizations can be used for general operating expenses, does not require matching funds

WASHINGTON – The National Endowment for the Arts announced today that it will distribute $135 million in relief funding through the American Rescue Plan to support organizations and jobs in the arts sector that have been impacted by the pandemic.

In their announcement, the National Endowment for the Arts points to the vital social and economic contributions of the creative sector and estimates that the $135 million from the American Rescue Plan will result in support for approximately 234,000 jobs and reach an estimated 107 million people across 1,000 urban and rural communities. The release also shared data derived from the Arts Endowment and the Bureau of Economic Analysis around the impact of the arts and culture sector on the US economy, naming that the sector contributed $877.8 billion, or 4.5 percent, to the nation’s gross domestic product in 2017.

Arts Midwest President & CEO Torrie Allen said, “Arts Midwest was honored to partner with the Arts Endowment to support the distribution of CARES Act relief funding last year, including the $700,000 we disbursed to organizations across the Midwest. That funding saved jobs, it supported organizations, and it contributed to local economies—ensuring that people living across the Midwest had access to creativity during this dark time in our history. We are once again honored to partner with the Arts Endowment to bring continued relief and resilience support to our region, and to ensure that creativity remains at the core of community life and wellbeing well into our future.”


  • $135 million dollars in relief funding for the arts
  • Funding intended for nonprofit arts organizations
  • Does NOT require matching funds
  • 40% distributed to state arts agencies and regional arts organizations
  • 60% distributed thru National Endowment for the Arts application process

Details regarding how these funds will be distributed by the National Endowment for the Arts, Arts Midwest, the other U.S. regional arts organizations, and the nation’s state arts agencies are being developed and will be announced as soon as they are available.

Resources and Next Steps

  • Guidelines and application materials for American Rescue Plan funding will be posted in the grants section of the Arts Endowment’s website.
  • Access the Arts Endowment’s FAQ on the American Rescue Plan.
  • Save the Date for the Arts Endowment’s webinar The Art of Reopening on March 23, 2021, which will feature introductory remarks from Dr. Anthony Fauci. Learn more and register on the Arts Endowment’s website.
  • Subscribe to our COVID-19 News Updates for American Rescue Plan updates from Arts Midwest.