Pōhaku, Christopher K. Morgan & Artists. Photo: Sareen Hairabedian

Photo: Pōhaku, Christopher K. Morgan & Artists, credit: Sareen Hairabedian

The Artist Engagement Fund advances racial and cultural justice, increases artist mobility, models equitable artist fees, and centers community engagement through the support of artistic activity taking place in NPN National Partner communities.

Through the AEF, NPN provides grants of up to $10,000 to BIPOC and/or Small-Budget Rural National NPN Partners and $5,000 to all other NPN Partners; supporting artist fees for newly commissioned and touring works.

The program focuses on support for projects that:

  • address issues of racial or cultural justice;
  • prioritize meaningful engagement between communities, artists, and presenters;
  • and result in a live public exchange.

Currently, the Artist Engagement Fund supports artists from the United States and Mexico and can only be accessed through an NPN National Partner organization.

The Artist Engagement Fund is supported by the Doris Duke Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Doris Duke Foundation
Mellon Foundation
National Endowment for the Arts,
John O'Neil
"NPN is a very valuable provides access to much needed money at a time when money is dreadfully scarce for work which aligns with and advocates for the interests of exploited and oppressed people."
—John O'Neal, Junebug Productions
Photo: "Don't Start Me to Talking or I'll Tell Everything I Know: Sayings from the Life and Writings of Junebug Jabbo Jones"
Sharon Bridgforth
"NPN is a critical player in these changing times. Through its support of original works, community engagement, visioning gatherings, fair pay and fair play for artists, NPN not only ensures that artists reach their full potential, it helps artists serve the leap into consciousness that our world is participating in. NPN is actively working for a better world."
—Sharon Bridgforth, artist, writer,
Photo: courtesy of the artist
"NPN has been instrumental in helping performing artists who produce critical non-commercial artwork to tour the US, engage in residencies and collaborate with other colleagues. This has contributed enormously to the creation of a robust alternative art culture in the US and to the sustenance of an arts community which has no product to sell other than our ideas."
—Guillermo Gomez Peña, artist
Photo: "Mapa-Corpo 2: Interactive Rituals for the New Millennium La Pocha Rostra," credit: Zack Smith
Kristina Wong
"The NPN residency is not a 'gig.' A gig is when you blow into town and vanish into your hotel room after curtain call. An NPN residency is about a meaningful engagement with the audiences, the community, the history and landscape in which you are performing in. It's a two-way connection that plants the seeds for future work and provides a deeper sense of purpose in the work you are performing."
—Kristina Wong, artist
Photo: "Wong Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest," credit: Matty Nematollah
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Fiscal Year 2023


Artist Projects
  • 570 individual artists from 37 cities
  • 94% led by Black, Indigenous, or People of Color
  • 25% of lead artists identify as trans, gender-nonconforming, non-binary or two-spirit
  • 303 activities, including 188 community engagement activities


Direct Subsidies


Funds Leveraged