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Challenge America: Reaching Every Community Fast Track Review Grants

The National Endowment for the Arts is offering 151 Challenge America Fast Track grants totaling $1,510,000 in awards to organizations throughout the United States. These grants offer support for projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations. Applicants may apply under one of four project types: guest artist, civic design, public art, and cultural tourism. 

More information about the Fiscal Year 2010 grants:

Challenge America Fast-Track grants enable organizations, particularly those that are small or mid-sized, to extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations – those whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability.

Applications must be submitted via by May 28, 2009 (anticipated date).  Applicants will receive notification within approximately 6 months for projects starting after January 1, 2010.  Grants are $10,000 and require a one-to-one match.  Projects should be focused, distinct activities that are generally smaller in scale and shorter in duration than those supported through other NEA categories. 

Projects are limited to one of the following specific types:

Guest Artists/Arts Event:  An arts event that will feature one or more guest artists. The project (such as a festival, exhibit, recital, reading, performance, screening, broadcast, lecture) must include the participation of guest artist(s). Artistic staff or resident artists of an applicant organization do not qualify as guest artists. In addition to artists’ fees, the project may include public relations, professional documentation, and program enhancements that are integral to the event. Examples of program enhancements include interpretive material, transportation, program accommodations (e.g., sign language interpretation, audio description), catalogues, brochures, or publications. Other enhancements such as specific lecture-demonstrations, pre- or post-event talks, or workshops relevant to the proposed arts event also are eligible. NOTE: Projects that involve curriculum-based arts instruction are not eligible (see the Learning in the Arts category).

Public Art:  Professionally directed public art projects such as murals, sculptures, or environmental art that are developed through community engagement.

Civic Design:  Civic design activities that involve the renovation, restoration, or adaptive reuse of cultural facilities or spaces. Projects may include architectural studies, design competitions, charettes (design workshops), or feasibility plans. Funding is not available for actual renovation or construction costs.

Cultural Tourism/Districts:  The unified promotion of community-wide arts activities and resources to enhance cultural tourism or activities in cultural districts. Unified promotion is defined as the professional assessment, design, and/or distribution of public relations tools (calendars, Web sites, brochures, rack cards, signage, etc.) designed to benefit several local organizations. NOTE: Promotional projects for a single organization are not eligible.

Organizations that apply to Challenge America Fast-Track are not eligible to apply for either the Access to Artistic Excellence or Learning in the Arts for Children and Youth categories.

Information on Challenge America Fast-Track grants and application instructions and forms are available in the Fiscal Year 2010 Guidelines, which are organized by discipline/field. 

The guidelines will be posted in January 2009 on the Arts Endowment web site:




 Last updated: December 18, 2008

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