National Art Education Foundation: Grants for K-12 Education

OVERVIEW: The National Art Education Foundation is an offshoot of the National Art Education Association. The foundation’s goal is to improve and promote visual arts education and support the teachers working in the field. Grants are open to individuals who have been NAEA member for at least one year prior to applying. Schools, nonprofits, and similar organizations are ineligible.

IP TAKE: This is K-12 funder with a very specific focus—support of visual arts education through support for those doing the educating. If this agenda is in sync with yours, you may be eligible for funding for professional development, classroom projects and resources, and academic research, particularly with an eye towards curriculum development and implementation.

PROFILE: The National Art Education Foundation, established in 1985, describes itself as “an independent, philanthropic organization,” but is also affiliated with the National Art Education Association. The association’s mission is to advance “visual arts education to fulfill human potential and promote global understanding. The foundation extends this mission by giving financial support to educators through professional development, classroom projects and resources (such as equipment), and academic research.

The first thing to know about grants from this funder is that they are explicitly earmarked for “ active NAEA members who have been members for at least one year prior to the date of application.” Organizations such as “nonprofit organizations, prek-12 schools, after-school art programs, universities or other institutions” are ineligible for funding, and individual members are prohibited from applying “on behalf of their organization.”

If you meet that criteria, the National Art Education Foundation runs five different grant programs that support K-12 visual arts education and its educators.

  • NAEA Research Grant: Provides up to $10,000 towards research that "advances knowledge in the field of art education and that promulgates the goals outlined in the Creating a Visual Arts Research Agenda Toward the 21st Century."
  • Mary McMullan Grant: Gives up to $2,500 towards academic and practicum work in the area of curriculum development for educating both teachers and students from primary school through university. 
  • Ruth Halvorsen Professional Development Grant: Supports scholarship work of educators that directly leads back to curriculum implemented in their classrooms, as well as "issues specifically relating to the National Visual Arts Standards." These grants are capped at $2,500.
  • Teacher Incentive Grant: Supports educator-developed projects that “promote the teaching of art” through everything from curriculum development, to assessments, to maintaining classroom order. These grants are capped at $2,500.  
  • SHIP Grant: Supports the purchase of necessary art equipment or instructional curriculum resources for visual arts educators, again with a direct connection to the National Visual Arts Standards. These grants are capped at $500.

Although the foundation does not offer sample applications as guidance, it has a very detailed application guide, and details about the specific initiatives NAEF has funded can be found on its list of recent grant recipients (linked towards the bottom of its home page) as well as on its featured grantees page.

There are no apparent geographic limitations to these grants as long as you are within the United States. Application deadlines for each of these grants are in early fall for projects to be implemented the following school year. The ability to submit an application in multiple grant areas simultaneously varies by program, so be sure to review the foundation’s grant guidelines (also linked towards the bottom of its home page) if this is someting you are considering. As suggested by the descriptions above, be sure to review the National Visual Arts Standards and/or the Creating a Visual Arts Agenda, and to have an Institutional Board Review approval as well as signed consent forms if your proposed research project will involve human subjects.


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