New England Foundation for the Arts: Grants for Dance

OVERVIEW: New England Foundation for the Arts supports artists, presenting organizations, and communities engaging in theater, dance, music and the visual arts in New England and beyond.

IP TAKE: New England Foundation for the Arts supports organizations throughout the region that showcase performers based throughout the U.S. and abroad. It also encourages these organizations to seek new and interesting performers to bring into their communities.

PROFILE: New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) was established in 1976 as one of six regional arts organizations that received initial funding from the National Endowment for the Arts in order to strengthen and cultivate arts on a regional level. The foundation “invests in artists and communities and fosters equitable access to the arts, enriching the cultural landscape in New England and the nation.” Most of its music funding derives from the Dance grantmaking program.  Other performance arts (theater and music) have specific grants of their own, including those that directly support artistic creation.

For dance creators, NEFA’s coveted National Dance Project Production Grant is first among several equals. Approximately 20 choreographers/dance companies receive this grant each year, with amounts typically in the $30,350 - $45,000 range. This money pays for the creation and development process of a dance piece that will then tour nationally. A portion of this grant is also earmarked for the artists to allocate funds to presenting organizations, who use those funds to pay the artists their appearance fees—so it goes right back into the creators’ pockets while relieving presenting organizations of some of their expenses.

Another key grant opportunity for choreographers and dance companies as they develop their new work are NEFA’s National Dance Project Production Residencies for Dance Grants. These grants support end-stage of development where dancers, “in collaboration with residency partners, can access technical facilities and staff and gain significant artistic, directorial, and/or dramaturgical input to produce works that are more fully realized and ready to tour.” These grants are meant to be implemented either just before or just after a dance piece’s premiere (but prior to the work’s tour). These grants are only open to choreographers and companies who have previously received a National Dance Production Grant; it is seen as the next phase of the work’s development. 

Another grant to consider is the New England Dance Fund which gives between $500 and $1,000 to choreographers who "identify and articulate a critical opportunity that will significantly advance their career in dance."

Grant seekers in the Boston area can check out the Creative City Grant which offers grants for a variety of artistic disciplines. 

NEFA also provides additional dance support through grant programs that dance “shares” with theater and music. They are all presenter-focused and designed to prvide New England-based presenting organizations (based in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont) the opportunity to successfully plan, execute, support, and showcase the work of dance, theater, and music artists from around the world. These presenting groups must have 501(c)(3) status, or be a school or government entity, but need not “formally” be a theater or arts organization.

These funding opportunities include:

  • Expeditions Touring Grants, which provide up to 50 percent of artist fees (maximum $10,000 per partner to cover the cost for multiple performances, residencies, and other contextual outreach activities, travel, accommodations, and per diem.

  • Expeditions Tour Planning Grants, which provide up to $5,000 for the planning of a tour, such as meetings between potential partners, artist showcases for presenters, workshops to build community interest, and artists' travel to visit presenters' communities.

  • New England States Touring Grants, which provide up to 50 percent of the artists' fees (typically ranging from $400 to $4,000) for a New England presenting organization to showcase the work of a performance art group that resides in another New England state.

  • New England Presenter Travel Funds, which provide 50 percent of total expenses (generally ranging from $500 to $700) for presenting organizations to scout festivals, showcases, conferences, or other cultural events where they can see New England-generated artistic work that they may present in their own community.

To see a full list of past grantees, click here to access the grants database. NEFA not only supplies a very detailed search engine sharing all of its previous grantees in all sectors; it also provides very detailed eligibility and deadline information for each grant opportunity. In the world of dance granting, and arts in general, NEFA is as thorough and transparent as they come.


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