National Endowment for the Arts  
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The NEA Mayors' Institute on City Design
25th Anniversary Initiative

CFDA No. 45.024

Statement of Interest Deadline: March 15, 2010
Invitation to Apply Issued: April 8, 2010
Formal Application Deadline: May 10, 2010

Grant Program Description

Since 1986, the Mayors' Institute on City Design® (MICD) has helped transform communities through design by preparing mayors to be the chief urban designers of their cities. To build on the momentum created by the MICD over its history, the Arts Endowment is announcing the NEA Mayors' Institute on City Design 25th Anniversary Initiative which will award a limited number of grants, ranging from $25,000 to $250,000, to showcase and celebrate the goals of the MICD during its anniversary in 2011.

MICD mayors know that the arts and culture contribute greatly as core components in building livable and sustainable communities. They have discovered that the art of place-making contributes to their communities' economic and cultural vitality. MICD mayors also know first-hand that through design and involvement with the arts and cultural activities, citizens engage in a celebration of place and make their communities dynamic places to live and work.

"In the context of place-making, arts and cultural activities make sense because of benefits intrinsic to their very nature: they provide novel opportunities for expression and creativity; they reinforce and build social capital; they facilitate connections across urban and regional boundaries; they help to construct quality public space; and they provide educational opportunities for residents. They also, in fact, generate significant levels of residential and commercial economic value."

Jeremy Nowak
President, The Reinvestment Fund
From Creativity and Neighborhood Development: Strategies for
    Community Investment

Eligible applicants for the NEA Mayors' Institute on City Design 25th Anniversary Initiative are cities (or their designees) that have participated in the Mayors' Institute on City Design® during its 25-year history. This includes cities that are committed to participate in the Mayors' Institute on City Design® during 2010. (See "Applicant Eligibility" for more information.) To learn more about the Mayors' Institute on City Design, go here.


Partnerships can be valuable to the success of MICD projects, especially when involving and leveraging public and private sector resources. While not required, partnerships are encouraged for NEA Mayors' Institute on City Design 25th Anniversary Initiative projects. Partnerships succeed when they are founded with shared vision, shared planning, and shared resources. Potential partners may include a wide variety of entities such as foundations, arts organizations and artists, design professionals and design centers, developers, business owners, and community organizations, as well as public entities.


The Arts Endowment plans to support a variety of diverse projects, across the country in communities of all sizes. Projects may include planning, design, and arts engagement activities such as:


  • The planning of arts districts.

  • The mapping of cultural assets and related developmental potential.

  • The promotion of the arts and artists as integral components of community life and essential to community planning.

  • The exploration of innovative approaches that maximize the economic growth of a community's creative sector.


  • The promotion of design and the arts to enhance livability and as central components for the development and enhancement of new or existing public spaces -- such as parks, public buildings, libraries, memorials, streets -- through architecture, streetscapes, pedestrian bridges, neighborhood gateways, and sustainable parks and landscapes.

  • Design competitions or charettes (design workshops) for arts or cultural vitality projects.

  • The revitalization of neighborhoods that focuses on preserving the historic value and heritage of existing buildings and/or the adaptive reuse of structures to be used as cultural facilities or for mixed use purposes (i.e., for cultural facilities and other entities). This includes affordable housing for artists and others, artist studios or live/work space, and entrepreneurial new creative sector business development.

Arts Engagement

  • The transformation of community sites into public spaces for cultural activities.

  • Projects which contribute to cultural vitality and a sense of place such as innovative community engagement projects, including festivals, community-wide celebrations, outdoor exhibitions, and learning opportunities; and the commissioning of temporary and/or permanent site-specific public art such as murals and sculptures, sculpture gardens, and waterfront art walks.

  • New media or technology projects that connect citizens to cultural activities or engage them in participating in city planning or design projects.

All phases of a project -- planning, development, design, and implementation -- are eligible for support. Applicants generally should limit their projects to a single phase. NOTE: The Arts Endowment does not fund the construction, purchase, or renovation of facilities. (Predevelopment, design fees, and community planning are eligible; however, no Arts Endowment or matching funds may be directed to the costs of physical construction or renovation or toward the purchase costs of facilities or land.) In addition, you may be requested to provide information to the Arts Endowment in response to specific questions in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act and/or the National Historic Preservation Act. See here for more information. Subgranting or regranting activity also is not eligible.



Grantees will be required to participate in an evaluation of the NEA Mayors' Institute on City Design 25th Anniversary Initiative (see "Administrative Requirements" for more information).

Award Information

Grant Amounts and Matching Funds

The Arts Endowment anticipates awarding fewer than 15 grants.

Organizations must designate a grant request in one of the following categories: $25,000, $50,000, $100,000, $200,000, or $250,000.

All grants require a nonfederal match of at least 1 to 1.

Period of Support

The Arts Endowment's support of a project may start anytime between July 1 and December 31, 2010. A grant period is not expected to exceed one year.

No pre-award costs are allowable in the Project Budget. Project costs that are incurred before the project start date will be removed from the Project Budget.

Applicant Eligibility

Eligible applicants are:

  • Local governments that have participated in the Mayors' Institute on City Design® during its 25-year history, including local governments that are committed to participate in the Mayors' Institute on City Design during 2010. See the list of eligible cities.

  • A state or local public entity or a nonprofit tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization that is designated to apply on behalf of a local government that meets the requirements above. Each application must include a statement from the relevant local government that reflects its support for and involvement in the project.

To be eligible, the applicant organization must:

  • For an organization that is designated by the local government to apply on its behalf, have a three-year history of programming prior to the application deadline.
  • Meet the Arts Endowment's "Legal Requirements," including nonprofit, tax-exempt status, as detailed in the FY 2011 Grants for Arts Projects guidelines, at the time of application.
  • Have submitted acceptable Final Report packages by the due date(s) for all Arts Endowment award(s) previously received.

For projects that involve multiple organizations, one organization that meets the eligibility requirements above must act as the official applicant, submit the application, and assume full responsibility for the grant.

Each city is limited to one Statement of Interest and, if invited to apply, one application.

An application in response to this announcement does not preclude an organization from applying under other Arts Endowment funding opportunities including Grants for Arts Projects. In each case, the request must be for a distinctly different project.

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How to Prepare and Submit a Statement of Interest

The application begins with a three-page Statement of Interest submitted through, the federal government's online application system, no later than March 15, 2010. Following review of these statements, selected organizations will be invited, by April 8, 2010, to submit formal applications. Formal applications must be submitted through and will be accepted through May 10, 2010. The application requirements will be the same as those for the Access to Artistic Excellence category in the FY 2011 Grants for Arts Projects guidelines.

Before you submit through for the first time, you must be registered. This is a multi-step process for which you should allow at least two weeks. Registration must be completed before you can apply. See "Get Registered" for details.

Your Statement of Interest document can be a maximum of three pages. Label the top of page one with your organization's name, address, and the name, phone number, and e-mail of the contact person for the project. Label the top of pages two and three with the name of your organization. Leave a margin of at least one inch at the top, bottom, and sides of all pages. Do not reduce type below 12 point font size. Excess pages will be removed and will not be reviewed.

The document should begin with a one-page cover letter that describes the importance of the project at this time and its value to the community's enhancement and identity. For applications from groups other than local governments, describe the relationship with the local government and its support for and involvement in the project. For verification purposes, include the name, phone number, and e-mail of a contact person with the local government.

Follow the cover letter with up to two pages detailing your project. Organize your response a), b), c), etc., and use the boldfaced language below as headings for each item. For example, "a) Budget. The ABC city requests..."

Be sure to include information on:

  1. Budget. State the amount that you are requesting ($25,000, $50,000, $100,000, $200,000, or $250,000) and a general outline of the project budget. Remember that all grants require a nonfederal match of at least 1 to 1, and that must be reflected in your total project budget. For example, if you request a $50,000 grant, the total eligible project costs must be at least $100,000 and you must provide at least $50,000 toward the project from nonfederal sources.

  2. Major project activities. Be as specific as possible about the activities that will take place during the project period. Discuss the place-based arts and culture support strategies that will be implemented, the anticipated impact on the community's revitalization, and how the project can serve as a model for other communities. Include information on the location(s) of the proposed activity and any special resources that will be used.

  3. Your goals in undertaking the project and what you hope to achieve. Address the Arts Endowment's outcome (The arts contribute to the strengthening of communities) and identify any additional outcomes of your own that you have established for the project.

  4. Schedule of key project dates by month or quarter.

  5. Partners, key organizations, individuals, and works of art that will be involved in the project. Describe the responsibilities of any partners and the resources that each will provide. Indicate any artists, design professionals, other individuals, or nonprofit or commercial organizations that will be involved in the project, and note whether they are committed to or merely proposed for the project. Where relevant, describe their involvement in the development of the project to date. Describe the process and criteria for the selection of artists, design professionals, organizations, and, where relevant, artworks. Where key individuals or organizations remain to be selected, describe the procedures that you plan to follow and the qualifications that you seek.

  6. The target community. Discuss the anticipated impact on the target community. If actual figures or reasonable estimates can be secured, indicate the number of people the project will serve. Have you worked with this target community before? Has the target community been involved in the planning for and implementation of the project? Describe any underserved groups or areas that will benefit.

  7. Plans for promoting, publicizing, and/or disseminating the proposed project, as appropriate.

  8. Plans for monitoring the project and assessing the degree to which you achieve your goals. Include your plans for documentation, evaluation, and dissemination of the results, as appropriate. Describe how you will measure your success in achieving the outcomes identified in c) above. If this is an ongoing project, state the results to date and the rationale for continuing the project.

  9. If this is an ongoing project, evidence of impacts achieved for the community. Include any social, cultural, and/or economic impact data so far collected and analyzed.

If any of this activity is included in a current NEA application or award, include the applicable application or award number. NOTE: Organizations may not receive more than one Arts Endowment grant for the same expenses. There can be no overlapping project costs with other federally sponsored projects.

The Statement of Interest must be submitted as a PDF (portable document format) file. If you don't already have software to convert your file to PDF, there are many low-cost and free software packages that can do this. To learn more, go to PDF Conversion Programs. Do not create a PDF of your electronic document by scanning. Do not embed images or non-printable media files (video and/or sound) in your PDF document. Please do not enable any document security settings or password-protect the PDF file you submit to us. The Statement of Interest should be no more than 1 MB.

Do not send work samples or supplementary material with your Statement of Interest; they will not be reviewed.

Go to the instructions for submitting the Statement of Interest through

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Application Review

Applications are reviewed on the basis of artistic excellence and artistic merit.

The following are considered during the review of Statements of Interest and, in more detail, during the review of applications:

The merit of the project, which includes the:

  • Potential to integrate design and the arts into the fabric of community life and serve as a vehicle for economic revitalization.
  • Potential for lasting impact and the ability to serve as a model for other communities.
  • Potential impact on the community, artists, design professionals, and arts organizations.
  • Where applicable, quality of the proposed partnership, including the engagement of the private and public sectors in support of the project.
  • Appropriateness of the project to the organization's mission and to the distinct character and qualities of the community.
  • As appropriate, plans for documentation, evaluation, and dissemination of the project results.
  • Likelihood that the project will achieve the identified outcome(s) and the feasibility of the proposed performance measurements.*
  • Ability to carry out the project including the appropriateness of the budget, the quality and clarity of the project goals and design, the resources involved, the qualifications of the project's personnel, and the likelihood that the project will be completed within the proposed period of support.
  • Where appropriate, potential to reach underserved populations such as those whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability.

The Arts Endowment, along with other federal agencies, collects information on the projects it funds in order to track the results -- or outcomes -- of its activities. This information is compiled and reported to Congress and the public. The outcome the Arts Endowment intends to achieve through this initiative is: The arts contribute to the strengthening of communities. Within the context of this outcome, we ask all applicants to define what they would like to achieve, how they will assess the degree to which it is achieved, and, upon completion of the project, what they have learned from their successes and failures.

The excellence of the project, which includes the:

  • Quality of the artists, design professionals, arts organizations, works of art, or services that the project will involve, as appropriate.

What Happens to Your Application

All applications are reviewed by an advisory panel. Panel recommendations are forwarded to the National Council on the Arts, which then makes recommendations to the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. The Chairman reviews the Council's recommendations and makes the final decision on all grant awards. Pending the availability of funding, it is anticipated that applicants will be notified of award or rejection in June 2010.

Award Administration

Crediting Requirement

Grantees must clearly acknowledge support from the National Endowment for the Arts in their programs and related promotional material including publications and Web sites. Organizations that receive grants may be provided with specific requirements for acknowledgment of this initiative.

Administrative Requirements

Before submitting an application, organizations should review the Grants for Arts Projects guidelines and General Terms & Conditions for detailed information on legal requirements, financial reviews and audits, and other administrative matters that pertain to this announcement.

Grantees will be required to participate in an evaluation of the NEA Mayors' Institute on City Design 25th Anniversary Initiative that may include:

  • Collection of baseline and post-project profile data about the grantee's community.
  • Use of standard definitions and reports to track and analyze data about the effectiveness and impact of the initiative.
  • Participation in surveys, site visits, and interviews, and assistance in publicizing and promoting those data collection efforts as necessary.

Agency Contacts

If you have questions, please contact the staff at or 202/682-5091.

Reporting Burden

The public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated at an average of 4 hours per response for Statements of Interest and 32 hours per response for Formal Applications including the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information. The Arts Endowment welcomes any suggestions that you might have on improving the guidelines and making them as easy to use as possible. Send comments regarding this burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to: Office of Guidelines & Panel Operations, Room 620, National Endowment for the Arts, 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20506-0001. Note: Applicants are not required to respond to the collection of information unless it displays a currently valid U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number.

January 2010
OMB No. 3135-0112 Expires 11/30/2010


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