NEFA’s Expeditions and NEST (New England States Touring) Programs to Merge

Streamlined program increases access to funding opportunities

Double Edge Theater's NEFA-supported Grand Parade; photo courtesy of Hyde Square Task Force.

Ann has long auburn hair. She's a white lady and she wears thick framed eyeglasses. She has gold earrings that dangle and a teal poncho.
Communications Director & Co-Accessibility Coordinator

(Boston, MA) The New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) announces a merger of the Expeditions and New England States Touring (NEST) programs. The new program design leverages the value of NEST, which, since NEFA’s inception, has been a key mechanism to reach small cultural organizations and underserved communities, and to support New England’s artists.

As key parts of NEFA’s New England core programs, the long-standing Expeditions and New England States Touring (NEST) programs will merge under the NEST moniker. The new NEST program – like its predecessors - will:

  • Build cultural vitality in New England by supporting the artistic excellence and diversity available from artists in New England, the nation, and across the globe.
  • Stimulate opportunities for collaboration and partnerships among New England cultural organizations and with artists.
  • Encourage projects that provide meaningful interaction between artists and communities, extending beyond the stage.  
  • Remove barriers to participation due to race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, class, age, and geography.

The new NEST program, which will be implemented in March 2020, will continue to have three annual deadlines in August, December, and March. Depending on the project, there will be three ways to apply:

  1. NEST 1: Funds the public presentation and engagement of a New England artist at a cultural organization located in another New England state. Deadlines in August, December, and March. Grants provide up to 50% of the artist fee to a maximum of $5,000. (Functions like the current NEST grant.)
  2. NEST 2: Funds the tours of New England-based artists to two cultural organizations, including one from inside of the artist’s home state as well as a minimum of one other cultural organization from outside of the artist’s home state. Deadlines in August, December, and March. Grants provide up to 50% of the artist fee to a maximum of $5,000.
  3. NEST 3: Funds the tours of artists from inside or outside of New England that include a minimum of three cultural organizations in different communities presenting the work in two different states; organizations may submit up to three applications as tour partners; a lead partner is no longer required as it was in the Expeditions grant. The single annual deadline will begin in March 2020. Grants provide up to 50% of the artist fee to a maximum of $10,000.

As part of this merger, NEFA is retiring the Expeditions Tour Planning grant. Program director Adrienne Petrillo said, “The essence of the Expeditions program remains, and our annual Idea Swap continues to serve as the nexus for the field to share project ideas and network. We are especially excited to have increased our maximum award in NEST 1 and NEST 2 to $5,000 to support New England artists.”

“Our aim is to lower barriers to accessing these important grant programs, which support arts activities throughout New England, in communities large and small, urban and rural. We hope these changes will encourage cultural organizations who have not previously applied to NEFA to access a range of funding opportunities," said NEFA executive director Cathy Edwards.

Our aim is to lower barriers to accessing these important grant programs

NEFA’s 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.

Watch a webinar about the program updates and tips for the Idea Swap on October 30.

About NEFA

The New England Foundation for the Arts invests in artists and communities and fosters equitable access to the arts, enriching the cultural landscape in New England and the nation.  NEFA accomplishes this by granting funds to artists and cultural organizations; connecting them to each other and their audiences; and analyzing their economic contributions. NEFA serves as a regional partner for the National Endowment for the Arts, New England’s state arts agencies, and private foundations. Learn more at


Contact: Ann Wicks | 617-951-0010 x534

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