NEST (New England States Touring) Grant

NEST (New England States Touring) funds presentations of New England-based performing artists from outside of a presenter’s state.


To be eligible for NEST funding, applicants must:

  • Be a nonprofit organization, school, or government entity.
    (Nonprofit organizations do not have to be arts organizations. Organizations that do not have a federal tax identification number may apply if part of an official government agency.)
  • Be based in New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont)
  • The federal government now requires that all NEFA organizational grant recipients supported by federal funds register for DUNS numbers. More specifics on the requirement will be included in all NEFA grant applications.
  • Applicants must be able to provide, if requested, documentation of their compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). Please visit our Increasing Access to the Arts page for details.

A presenter may apply for an artist within their state if all of the following requirements are met:

  • They have booked the artist as part of a New England tour with at least two other presenters.
  • At least two other presenters on the tour are from outside of the artist’s home state.
  • All presenters are applying to the same NEST deadline.

NEST will not fund:

  • Activities and programs which take place exclusively in schools during class time.
  • Events that are not open to the public and advertised accordingly.
  • Fundraisers.
  • Events outside of the six New England states.
  • Performances in which the performers are primarily students.

find NEST Artists

CreativeGround houses the directory of all artists (NEST artists) who may be chosen by NEST applicants for funding. To find NEST-eligible artists:

  1. Go to and click ‘Search’ at the top of the page.  
  2. Select ‘Enhanced Options’ and then select ‘Profile is NEST eligible’ along with any other search criteria that you need, such as state or discipline.

If a presenter is interested in applying for an artist who is not currently NEST-eligible then the artist(s) should follow the instructions under the NEST Artist Requirements. All artists who wish to qualify for NEST funding must maintain an artist profile on CreativeGround.

become a nest artist (nest artist requirements)

CreativeGround houses the directory of all artists who may be chosen by NEST applicants for funding (called NEST artists). Therefore, all artists who wish to qualify for NEST funding must maintain an artist profile on CreativeGround.

become a NEST artist

If you had a profile on

  1. Go to and click 'Log In.' Click 'Request New Password.' Enter the email address you used to login to Follow the instructions int he email to reset your password.
  2. Go to your 'My Account' page. There you will see any and all profiles that associated with your user account. If you do not see a profile listed on your 'My Account' page, do a quick search in CreativeGround to see if it already exists in the database. If it does and you would like to manage it, click 'Request Management of this Profile' at the bottom of the page.  Once you have access to your profile please complete all of the fields listed below.

If you did not have a profile in

  1. Go to CreativeGround, click ‘GET LISTED,’ and create a user account or log in if you have a CreativeGround account.
  2. Once you are registered, click on the link ‘Click here to create a new public profile’ on your ‘My Account’ page and complete all of the fields listed below.

In addition to the required fields on the site, which include contact information, primary discipline, and a description, artists are required to complete ALL fields listed below in order to become a NEST-eligible artist:

Please note that you may select the profile type which is most appropriate, however we strongly recommend that you select ‘Artist’ as your profile type because that is likely how most presenters will search.


Contact Information

Website or Facebook page


Activities and Services (must select concert/performance/reading/assembly)
Populations Served

Affiliations and Accomplishments


Touring Artist Information
  1. Select I am a performing artist who tours
  2. Select I wish to be considered for NEST eligibility
  3. Complete all remaining fields

Post at least one photo.

URL Collection

Link to at least one audio or video clip.

I have worked with...

List at least five different organizations that have presented you in a performance in the last year. Please complete the Relationship Description with a brief overview of your engagement and performance date(s).  For organizations within New England please link to their profile page in CreativeGround.

After your profile has been approved by NEFA staff, the phrase “I am NEST eligible” will appear on your profile indicating that you are eligible for funding.  Artist profiles must be updated at least once a year to maintain NEST status. 

Once an artist becomes eligible for NEST, their professionalism and quality will be evaluated by presenters who receive NEST funding. If comments from presenting organizations are continually marginal or unsatisfactory, the artist will be contacted and interviewed.

It is beneficial for artists to let presenters know that they are eligible for NEST funding and mention it in promotional materials, as potential presenters may be more likely to book an artist knowing that funding assistance for the artist's fee is available from the NEST program. Below is an example of what artists may use:

Fee support for [insert artist name] may be available to nonprofit organizations through the New England States Touring (NEST) program of the New England Foundation for the Arts. Visit for more information.

Funding Criteria

NEST grants are awarded through a competitive selection process. Grants are available in amounts of up to 50% of the artists' fees, and typically range from $400 to $4,000. Requests below $400 will not be accepted. Artists’ fees may include costs for creation of new work, travel, and per diem.

Grant amounts are based on:

  • The artist’s fee.
  • How well the project meets the funding criteria below (applicants who receive the highest scores receive the maximum amount, which is 50% of the artist’s fee).

Funding Criteria

The amount of funding awarded is based on the extent to which the project meets the criteria below.

  • Contextual, educational, and adjunct activities featuring the artist(s) in the project (e.g., workshops, lecture-demonstrations) which meaningfully engage various sectors of the community. Cross-sector exchanges (connecting arts and non-arts organizations) and collaboration are strongly encouraged.
  • Collaborative planning to extend the arts to populations whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, economics, or disability.
  • Well-planned promotion and marketing, including linkages that extend and deepen the reach of the project.
  • A budget that reflects revenue from a variety of sources including admissions*, sponsorships, private foundations, individuals, and/or government agencies. NEFA strongly encourages charging admission to performances and events for the following reasons:
    • Admissions are a vital source of income to help pay artist fees and other event expenses.
    • Admissions remind audiences that the work of artists has distinct value and that the professionals involved must make a living from their endeavors in order to continue.
    • Admissions purchased through advance ticket sales help ensure attendance.
    • Admission purchases provide patron information that can aid in marketing, fundraising, and audience development.

If a project changes after funding has been awarded, the applicant must notify NEFA as soon as possible. NEFA does not guarantee funding if the project differs substantially from the original application. Requests for changes will be considered on a case by case basis and may change the amount of the grant award.

Process & Deadlines

Online applications must be submitted before midnight on the deadline date. Applications must be submitted a minimum of three months in advance of the proposed project. A finite amount of funds is allocated each year; organizations are encouraged to submit applications early within NEFA's fiscal year (June 1 through May 31).

Online evaluations must be submitted within one month from the end of the artist engagement to receive reimbursement. Read the Requirements & Reports for Grant Recipients section.

NEFA staff is available for assistance Monday-Friday, 9AM-5PM EST.

NEST has quarterly application deadlines:

  • First business day of March, for projects beginning on or after June 1
  • First business day of June, for projects beginning on or after September 1
  • First business day of September, for projects beginning on or after December 1
  • First business day of December, for projects beginning on or after March 1

Grant REQUESTs & Instructions 

Click below to REGISTER and BEGIN your grant request. You may save and return at any time.


Click below to LOG IN and RETURN to your grant request. 


Requirements & Reports for Grant Recipients


Grant payments will be made upon receipt of the following which must be submitted within 30 days after the funded event:

  1. A completed NEST Evaluation Form for each grant. (See below for instructions on how to access your form.) 
  2. A copy of the signed contract or letter of agreement (with printed name and title) between your organization and the artist(s) presented. 
  3. Copies of letters of appreciation sent to your federal and/or state legislators. This is to inform them about the purpose of this award, and the impact it will have on your organization’s activities and service to the community. 
  4. Copies of program and publicity materials showing acknowledgement of NEFA’s funding. 

Failure to provide this material within 30 days of the event may result in cancellation of the grant and all pending NEFA grants. If the performance date is changed or cancelled, or if you anticipate a delay in submission of materials, please contact Adrienne Petrillo

Reductions in Artist Fees
NEST grant amounts are determined based on  the proposed artistic fee; therefore, reductions in artist fees may result in the reduction or cancellation of your grant. Grant recipients must notify NEFA of any changes in fees paid to the artist(s) as soon as possible in advance of the event. 

Click below to log in and begin your grantee report. You may save and return at any time.



Adrienne Petrillo | Program Manager, Presenting & Touring | 617.951.0010 x527

Daniela Jacobson | Program Coordinator, Presenting & Touring | 617.951.0010 x528