NEST (New England States Touring)

NEST (New England States Touring) funds the presentation of regional, national, and international artists presented by New England-based nonprofit organizations.

NEST-supported Strawbery Banke Museum presented Ice Dance International | photo by David J. Murray

Potential applicants should review guidelines and eligibility carefully prior to applying. Applicants are also highly encouraged to contact NEFA staff to confirm that their project fits the program. Find the latest guidelines and criteria on the grant page. 

Program Goals

NEST Artists

NEST artists are professional artists from New England who meet the NEST artist requirements. They represent a wide range of disciplines, including dance, folk art, interdisciplinary work, media, music, musical theater, opera, poetry, storytelling, and theater. NEST artists must be available for public performances and must maintain a permanent residence in New England.

CreativeGround houses the directory of all artists who may be chosen by NEST applicants for funding.

Visit the NEST grant page for information about finding NEST artists or becoming a NEST-eligible artist.


The New England state arts agencies serve as the review panel for all NEST 1 and 2 applications. Applicants are highly encouraged to contact their state arts agency when applying.

NEST 3 applications are reviewed by panelists from the presenting and touring field with knowledge of the New England arts landscape. Learn more about how to become a NEST 3 panelist.

Idea Swap Event 

Idea Swap logo





The Idea Swap is an annual event for New England-based nonprofit cultural organizations and touring artists to network and share touring project ideas, including those that may qualify for funding from NEFA’s grant programs. Each year, NEFA’s Idea Swap attracts over 150 participants. The Idea Swap stimulates opportunities for collaboration and partnerships in arts touring and presenting while raising awareness and support for arts projects and activities available to New England communities.

The Idea Swap includes informal networking, five-minute presentations of projects available for New England-wide touring, and facilitated small groups to discuss project ideas.

The 21st annual Idea Swap will be November 13 at a new venue - the Nashua Center for the Arts in Nashua, New Hampshire.

Learn more about Idea Swap

“This was wonderful to be a part of the event, so rich and packed with opportunities to connect and find partners. It is very impressive to see how you are able to take so good care of so many elements, bigger ones and details, how the event is so well prepared and organized on every level and how at the same time you build a wonderful culture of kindness and connectives.”

-Jacek Zuzanski, Founder and Artistic Director of Dream Tale Puppets in Cotuit, MA


Read the Idea Swap Video Transcript


The New England States Touring program is made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts Regional Touring Program and the six New England state arts agencies.

NEA logo has stripes across the bottom leading to
CT State Arts Logo
RISCA Logo has a yellow smudge under RISCA.

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