Arts Education Grant Guidelines

FUNDING ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:
The following requirements must be met before an institution is eligible for funding from the Tennessee Arts Commission.  Additionally, some arts education grant categories have further restrictions. Read the guidelines carefully for specific requirements in each grant category.

To qualify for Arts Education funding, an applicant must:

  • Establish education as a significant component of the organization’s mission and/or strategic plan. To substantiate this, applicants may be asked for additional documentation including, but not limited to, audited financial statements.
  • Clearly demonstrate that the project serves a population defined by the organization's mission.
  • Demonstrate through the application that the project has a beneficial educational focus including evidence of thorough advanced planning and collaboration.
  • Include professional artists at the core of the education experience.
  • Show the project directly involves participants in a hands-on learning experience. Projects that are primarily performance or demonstration-based are not eligible for arts education funding but may be suitable for Student Ticket Subsidy funds.
  • Include an appropriate evaluation component that measures the project's effectiveness.

General Eligibility Requirements for all Grant Applicants

  • All institutions must be legally chartered in Tennessee and meet one of these qualifications:
  • The institution is a non-profit organization in possession of a determination letter from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) declaring the organization exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.  Private educational institutions must be non-profits and meet these tax-exempt requirements.  First-time applicants click here.
  • The institution is an entity of government, such as a public school, county library, municipal Parks and Recreation, etc. 
  • Colleges and universities - eligible only for activities that clearly serve the needs of surrounding communities or the State and are designed to involve a broad audience.  Activities that are credit-producing or are oriented primarily to collegiate students and the academic community are not eligible.

Any question of eligibility should be directed to the Commission before the application is submitted.

REQUIREMENTS FOR FIRST-TIME APPLICANTS
All 501(c)3 grant applicants must provide the Commission with copies of the basic non-profit status documentation, which includes a copy of the organization's:
• Tennessee State Charter
• IRS 501(c)(3) Determination Letter
• By-laws.

Organizations who have received Commission funding in the past 2 years may assume that these documents are complete and on file with the Commission unless otherwise notified.

 

 

 

Grants for Schools

Artist-in-Residence Grants - For curriculum-based arts integration projects using an approved TN Arts Commission artist-in-residence. 

Mini-Grants – Offered year-round to support unanticipated short-term (one week) or one-day arts education projects with roster artists.

Teacher Training Grants – For arts organizations who provide outstanding professional development for educators and teaching artists that promote curriculum-based arts education and/or integration.

Teacher Incentive Grants – For arts specialists, generalists, principals, and teaching artists attending Commission-approved professional development in arts integration. 

Funds for At-Risk Youth Grants – Support for after-school or summer camp arts programs designed specifically for elementary and secondary school at-risk children.

 

 

Grants for Organizations

Community Learning Grants - For projects that demonstrate creative and innovative arts education programming in non-traditional K-12 school settings or for adult learners.

Mini-Grants – Offered year-round to support unanticipated short-term (one week) or one-day arts education projects with roster artists.

Teacher Training Grants – For arts organizations who provide outstanding professional development for educators and teaching artists that promote curriculum-based arts education and/or integration.

Funds for At-Risk Youth Grants – Support for after-school or summer camp arts programs designed specifically for elementary and secondary school at-risk children.

 

 

(FAQ's) Frequently Asked Questions

We are not an arts organization. Are we still eligible to apply for an arts education grant?
Yes, non-arts organizations may apply if they have proof of 501(c)3 status and meet all other eligibility requirements.

Can grant funds be used to purchase musical instruments?
No, grants may only be used for consumable materials (items that are used or consumed by the end of the project).  Equipment such as music stands, easels, dance barres, etc. that are non-consumable may not be purchased with grant funds.  Consult the Resources page for a list of foundations and corporations that can provide assistance.

Additionally, Arts Education grants CANNOT be used for:

  • Projects in which the artist is to serve as the arts teacher in the absence of any on-going arts education programs.
  • Permanent staff of an organization.
  • Incentives for student participation.
  • Projects designed primarily as performances, demonstrations, or exhibits with only minimal impact and limited hands-on participation.
  • Field trips or trips by students strictly for demonstrations or performances.  The only exception is under the AE-AR category.
  • Out-of-state travel.
  • Individual private lesson instruction.
  • Payment for apprentices or interns.
  • Capital outlay for permanent or non-consumable materials or equipment purchases (such as musical instruments, cameras, easels, etc.)
  • Fundraisers.
  • After-school clubs.
  • Scholarships or competitions.
  • Food.
  • Cash awards.

We want to bring an artist to our school. What do we need to do?
Select a professional teaching artist.  The Commission maintains a roster of artists on the Arts Education Web page who are available to conduct in-school residencies.  Once you select an artist, contact them directly about scheduling a residency. School residencies require a lot of collaboration between teachers and teaching artists. The teacher hosting the residency needs to be willing and available to plan with the artist before the residency begins and also be an active participant in the classroom during the residency.  Residencies are a “team-teaching” situation where the teacher and teaching artist provide instruction together. 

How long should the residency be?  We recommend no less than 5 days.  Mini-grant projects may be shorter.

How much do artists charge?  Each artist sets their own fee schedule.  Please contact the artist directly for information.

We want to work with a specific artist but they aren’t listed on the roster.  Can we still use them?  Projects funded through an Artist-in-Residence grant must use an artist from the roster. For teacher training or At-Risk youth grants, qualified artists not on the roster may be used but information on the artist will need to be provided as part of the grant application.