Orlando Philharmonic Receives First National Endowment for the Arts Grant

The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra is excited to announce that, for the first time in our history, we have received a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grant! Grants are an important part of funding arts programs in the United States, so we are happy to answer your questions about what this grant means for the future of your Orlando Philharmonic.

What is the National Endowment of the Arts?

The National Endowment of the Arts, or NEA, was established through the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities Act of 1965 as an independent federal agency. Today, the agency is the largest funder of arts and arts education in communities through public and private support. The National Council of the Arts was established through the National Arts and Cultural Development Act of 1964, before the federal agency was created. The Council advises the Chairman for the National Endowment of the Arts. 

Why are there arts grants? What are the different kinds of arts grants?

Arts grants are sums of money, small or large, awarded to nonprofits, artists, and institutions for specific projects or general operations support. Grant funding requires an entire process involving an application, budget proposal, panel review, and guidelines and restrictions. Grants support public engagement with and access to art and arts education through various forms including music, theater, folk and traditional arts, museums, opera, visual arts, and more.  

The National Endowment of the Arts has multiple grant categories including: Grants for Arts Projects, Challenge America, and Research Awards. This year, OPO was one of 1,251 organizations that received a total of nearly $28.8 million in funding for Grants for Projects. Grants for Projects awards fund a variety of projects in 15 artistic disciplines that reach a range of communities with diverse cultural and economic backgrounds. Grants amounts range from $10,000 to $100,000. 

When did we apply for this grant? What was the process like?

Deadline for applications for the Grants for Projects for this fiscal year was February 2022. Once the application was completed, it was sent to the staff of NEA to review for eligibility and completeness. After, the completed application is sent to a panel of experts. Finally, the application materials and recommendations are reviewed by the National Council of the Arts in an open session. The NEA Chair makes a final decision on which applications to fund or reject. 

Why was OPO considered for this grant? 

OPO continues to make community engagement and commitment to education a priority throughout our Season with Symphony Storytime, free family and community concerts across Central Florida, and partnerships with Title I schools. For 30 Seasons, we have enriched the cultural landscape of Central Florida. 

How will OPO use this grant?

OPO applied for the Grants for Projects Grant with the intended use of using the funding for this year’s third annual Resonate Festival with Artist-in-Residence Anthony McGill. The Project Dates included all of the festival rehearsals and performances in the month of February 2023 as well as a few engagement opportunities. These opportunities included a masterclass for Central Florida high school and college students, a pre-show ceremony for Title I elementary and middle school students, and “Meet the Artist” Event at Grand Avenue Neighborhood Center in the Parramore Community. 

The full list of Grants for Projects awards and more information about the National Endowment of the Arts can be found at: https://www.arts.gov/grants