The Tennessee Arts Commission offers a variety of distinct funding opportunities in the arts to serve diverse constituencies.  Eligible applicants include:

Any question of eligibility should be directed to the Commission before the application is submitted.  Contact Hal Partlow, TAC’s Associate Director for Grants, at 615-741-2093 or hal.partlow@tn.gov with eligibility inquiries.  First time applicants MUST contact the TAC to discuss the proposed project prior to submission of the application.


An organization is eligible to apply for funding of its arts activities if the organization is legally chartered in Tennessee and meets either of the following qualifications:

  1.  The group is a chartered nonprofit organization with a determination letter from the Internal Revenue Service declaring it exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code

    A copy of the organization’s Tennessee state charter (verification of incorporation), current by-laws, and letter of determination from the IRS must be on file with the Tennessee Arts Commission office.  Applicants must provide a valid IRS Employer Identification Number that is issued in the name of the applicant organization.

  2. The organization is a public or private educational institution (such as an elementary or secondary school), a school board, a governmental agency, or a college or university.  Private educational institutions must be nonprofit and meet the tax-exempt requirements explained above.  Colleges and universities are 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 oriented primarily to university students and the academic community are not eligible.  However, organizations whose projects primarily serve K-12 students are eligible to apply for Arts Education grants.


Most TAC grants are geared to organizations.  However, there are also opportunities for professional individual applicants who reside in Tennessee.

  1. Professional individual artists may apply for Individual Artist Fellowships and Professional Development Support grants.
  2. Professional individual arts administrators may apply for Professional Development Support and Arts Education Teacher Incentive grants.
  3. Professional individual teaching artists on the Teaching Artist Roster and full-time classroom teachers, arts specialists, and principals may apply for AE Teacher Incentive grants.


Arts Access grants are earmarked for underserved constituents.  Funds awarded in this category are made possible, in part, through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.   Arts Access grant categories offer direct support for arts projects and technical assistance to organizations of color (whose board members are 50% or more people of color) or to organizations whose programs and services primarily benefit persons of color.


An arts organization is defined as an organization whose mission is primarily dedicated to the arts, and with a majority (at least 51%) of annual activities that are arts-focused.    

Arts organizations are eligible to apply for all TAC grants except for those designated for K-12 schools only or for individuals only

Non-arts organizations are eligible to apply for project support grants (Arts Project Support/Rural Arts Project Support and Arts Access) but may request only up to $7,000 as opposed to the $9,000 cap for arts organizations.  Non-arts organizations are also eligible to apply for Arts Education Community Learning, Teacher Training, and Funds for At-Risk-Youth grants as well as Touring, Arts Access Touring and Arts Access Mini grants.  Non-arts organizations are not eligible to apply for Major Cultural Institution, Partnership Support, Cultural Education Partnership, Special Opportunity, Technical Assistance, and some Arts Education grants. 

If you are uncertain whether your organization qualifies as an arts organization, you should contact TAC staff before submitting your application.   How your organization is defined has direct bearing on its range of eligibility for TAC funding opportunities.


Applicants may submit only one application per grant category per fiscal year, except for Student Ticket Subsidy.

The following applicants may apply to more than one grant category per fiscal year, but the applications must be for completely different projects

Major Cultural Institutions, Partnership Support, Cultural Education Partnership, Arts Project Support, Rural Arts Project Support applicants may also submit one Arts Access application and/or more than one Arts Education application per fiscal year; as long as the projects are entirely distinct and the applicant meets the eligibility requirements in the guidelines.

In addition to the annual grants listed above, small grants with rolling deadlines such as Touring, Arts Access Technical Assistance, Arts Access Touring, Special Opportunities, Arts Education Mini-Grants and Technical Assistance grants may also be sought for distinct applications.  Contact the project director of that area before making application to confirm eligibility.

Applicants for Arts Access Mini-Grants may not apply in any other large grant category but may apply for other Small Grants. 

NOTE:  New applicants should contact the TAC before submitting applications in multiple categories.   


All applicants are required to read the Legal Requirements before submitting application.  


All grant categories require a 1:1 (one-to-one) dollar match of Commission funds with the exception of these categories:
            Arts Education*
            Arts Access Touring Grants*
            Arts Access Mini-Grants*
            Technical Assistance Grants*
            Professional Development Grants*
            Individual Artist Fellowships

*Although 1:1 match is not required for these categories, applicants are encouraged to include matching funds on the budget page to demonstrate the organization’s financial commitment to the project.


Applicant programs, services, and facilities must be fully accessible to all Tennessee citizens regardless of physical or mental disability.

No person on the grounds of race, color, national origin, disability, religion or gender shall be excluded from participation in, be denied benefits of, or otherwise be subject to discrimination from services, programs, or employment provided by the Tennessee Arts Commission and its contracting agencies.


Statewide organizations must have statewide mission and board members located throughout the state.

Organizations with a standing deficit must submit a plan to reduce that deficit with the application.

Faith-based organizations may apply for non-faith-based projects only.