On October 1, 2019, NEFA announced a series of changes to the Expeditions and New England States Touring (NEST) programs, merging the two under the NEST moniker and sunsetting the Expeditions program. Updated grant criteria will be in place for the March 2020 deadline. 

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

About the New England States Touring Grant Program

Visit the New England States Touring Program page to learn more about program goals, advisors, and more.


New: Matching Grant to Present Indigenous Performing Artists

Western Arts Alliance (WAA) announces the launch of the Advancing Indigenous Performance (AIP) Touring Fund, a new grant opportunity for presenters of Native performing artists.

The AIP Touring Fund provides matching fee support to presenting organizations, which engage eligible performing artists through the touring programs of the six Regional Arts Organizations. Arts organizations outside of New England should contact their RAO about the matching support. Arts organizations in New England receiving funding through NEFA’s New England States Touring (NEST) for a project featuring Indigenous artists can receive an additional dollar-for-dollar match – up to 50% of the artist fee – from the AIP Touring Fund.

Learn more


To be eligible for NEST funding, applicants must:

  • Be a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, school, federally-recognized Indian tribal government, or unit of state or local government. (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. If you are unsure if the applicant has a DUNS number or to sign up to receive a DUNS number, go to: http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform
  • Applicants must be able to provide 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 Arts & Accessibility page for details.
  • Maintain an updated profile in the CreativeGround directory for their cultural nonprofit.
    See NEST Presenter Profile Recommendations for instructions
    If the applicant nonprofit is not a cultural or arts-based organization, please contact Falyn Elhard (they/them/theirs) to confirm your organization's qualification for a CreativeGround profile.

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 or Become a NEST Artist on CreativeGround

CreativeGround houses the directory of all artists (NEST artists) who may be chosen by NEST applicants for funding. Learn more about NEST artists on the NEST program page.

To find NEST-eligible artists:

  1. Go to www.CreativeGround.org 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.

How to create your NEST-eligible CreativeGround profile

 All artists who wish to qualify for NEST funding must maintain an artist profile on CreativeGround. 

  1. Follow these step by step instructions, or
  2. watch this video tutorial:

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 $5,000. Requests below $400 will not be accepted. Artists’ fees may include costs for creation of new work, travel, and per diem.

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.
  • Remove barriers to participation due to race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, class, age, and geography.
  • 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. NEST grant recipients will be notified six-eight weeks following the deadline. 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 reports must be submitted within 40 days from the end of the artist engagement to receive reimbursement. Full instructions are in the Requirements & Reports for Grant Recipients section.

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


NEST deadlines occur three times a year, or every four months, as follows:

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

Requirements & Reports for Grant Recipients

Grant payments will be made upon receipt of the following which must be submitted within 40 days after the funded event:

  1. A completed online Grantee Report for each grant. Click "Return to your grant request" below to log-in to your portal account to find and submit your online report(s). If you need technical assistance, please email Falyn Rose Elhard (they/them/theirs).

     RETURN TO YOUR GRANT application
  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. 
    See NEFA logo and crediting information for details

Failure to provide this material within 40 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, preferably in advance of the event.