In partnership with the Tennessee Department of Health and the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability, the Tennessee Arts Commission is offering a one-time funding opportunity called Creative Aging Tennessee. The initiative will provide one-time seed funding for innovative projects through the arts that will promote healthy aging of seniors and encourages community partnerships that have the potential for sustainability. Successful projects will encourage senior creativity, physical activity, and/or community engagement through the arts. Outcomes can include using the arts for improved health and wellness; lifelong learning; reduced isolation and increased social and community connections; and/or increased positive attitudes/perceptions about aging.

Eligible organizations include local and regional government entities and nonprofit organizations legally chartered in Tennessee. See “eligibility requirements” for more details.

Applicants may request up to $5,000 for projects. At least two (2) awards will be made to qualified applicants who can demonstrate rural impact and at least two (2) awards will be made to applicants who address health-related impact.

This grant does not require a match. However, evidence of community support, which may include a match, will make an application more competitive.

For this grant opportunity, seniors or older adults are defined as individuals sixty (60) years old and above in age.

Funded projects must take place between October 15, 2017, and June 15, 2018, under a grant contract with the State of Tennessee, TN Arts Commission.

Eligibility Requirements

Organizations eligible to apply if the organization meets one of the following qualifications:

  • The applicant is a nonprofit organization legally chartered in Tennessee and in possession of a determination letter from the Internal Revenue Service declaring the organization exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; or
  • The organization is an entity of local government or regional governmental entity (development district, human resource agency, etc.).

Ineligible projects for the Creative Aging Grant category include operating support for arts organizations or ongoing arts programming, marketing and promotional materials, and standard TN Arts Commission funding restrictions (see more details). Organizations currently receiving funding from the TN Arts Commission to serve older adults can partner with other organizations to expand their programs in other geographic areas.

Schools, colleges and universities are ineligible to serve as lead applicants, although they would be welcomed as partners.

Only one application per project will be accepted and partners cannot apply for the same project. All Creative Aging grants will be awarded and disbursed to lead applicants only.

Outcomes and Project Examples

Key requirements for successful applicants include the ability to demonstrate a project that addresses an older adult need and/or opportunity; has an effective project design; has the potential for sustainability; uses the arts to connect older adults with the communities in which they live; has people (volunteers, staff, or other personnel) to implement the project; and has the ability to achieve results in two or more of the following outcome areas:

  • Health & Wellness– Promotes interventions through the arts to improve health and well-being outcomes among older adults. Examples include music programs that help improve the cognitive skills of people with memory loss or dance programs which can improve balance and gait in people with conditions that affect motor abilities.
  • Lifelong learning and Engagement – Promotes greater cognition and creativity through the arts among older adults by means of social engagement. Examples include using theatrical training to improve cognitive (problem-solving, word recall, & listening) skills or using storytelling with peers to increase social and emotional engagement.
  • Increased positive attitudes/perceptions about aging – Promotes older adulthood as the beginning of a life suited for productivity and purpose through the arts. Examples include older adults taking a hobby (jewelry making, wood carving, quilt making, etc.) and turning it into a crafts business with mentorship of young craftsmen, or older adults becoming teaching artist and teaching young people how to write/speak poetry as a way of expressing themselves.
  • Connecting older adults to their communities – Promotes ways of connecting older adults to the communities around them through the arts thereby reducing isolation and increasing social interaction. Examples include multigenerational, creative writing programs where the knowledge/wisdom of older adults is shared with young people or establishing a docent program for older adults at an art gallery.

Some of the outcomes above were derived from the National Endowment for the Arts and National Center for Creative Aging. The examples attached to each outcome are illustrations and are not intended to represent all of the potential programs that could be developed. More examples of specific creative aging programs across the country can be found at the National Center for Creative Aging’s website.

Examples of ineligible projects include: expansion of currently funded TN Arts Commission projects that serve older adults; for-profit organizations; start-up funding to establish nonprofit status; meals, food, or transportation expenses; capital expenses/equipment; fees for out-of-state artists and performances; travel, hotel, conference, or other related expenses; and other examples as determined by TN Arts Commission staff.

Evaluation Criteria

Successful applicants will clearly articulate a need or identify an opportunity within their community that the project will address for the benefit of their senior population through the arts. Engaging partners in a project is often critical to the success of Creative Aging initiatives through the arts. Because the focus of the initiative is to incentivize non-arts organizations that serve older adults to use the arts as another way to meet their mission and to increase the likelihood of success and sustainability, the TN Arts Commission encourages applicants to involve public, private (including nonprofit arts organizations) and/or institutional partners from their communities in the development of a Creative Aging grant proposal. Applications that demonstrate meaningful partnerships with organizations serving older adult populations, achieve desired outcomes through the arts, and that can address the opportunity or need for older adults may increase the overall chance of being funded.

Evaluators reviewing grant applications will use the following evaluation’s criteria in awarding grants funding:

  • Project Rationale (20 pts). Extent to which proposed project is able to demonstrate a compelling need and/or opportunity to older adults through art experiences and ability to reach a diverse, underserved group of older adults in terms of ethnicity, income, geography (rural) and ability (physical, mental and cognitive).
  • Project Design (20 pts). Demonstrates experiences and opportunities for older adults through the arts which positively impacts health & wellness; lifelong learning; increased positive attitudes toward aging; and connecting older adults to community.
  • Project Outcomes (20 pts). Ability of the proposed project to generate and measure outcomes for participants in health and wellness; lifelong learning; increased positive attitudes/perceptions about aging; and the ability to connect older adults with their communities.
  • Community Support & Sustainability (20 pts). Ability to develop different types of community partnerships that impact and enhance community connectivity; promotes sustainability by involving a cross-sector of artists (either professional or nonprofessional), arts and cultural organizations, health care, and/or senior/adult care facilities; and demonstrates it is a part of a long term strategy with evidence that the project will continue beyond the initial year of funding.
  • Capacity (10 pts). Ability of the applicant or partner’s capacity in implementing the project and demonstrating a history of work with older adults.
  • Rural Impact (5 pts): To align with the Governor’s Rural Task Force, up to five (5) points may be awarded to rural counties serving one or more communities in rural counties as defined by the Rural Task Force. For a map of rural counties, visit the TN Arts Commission’s website.
  • Health & Wellness Impact (5 pts): To align with the Tennessee Department of Health’s outcomes on livability, up to five (5) points may be awarded to projects that can clearly demonstrate alignment with improving health & wellness outcomes for older adults. These include increasing access to physical activity and senior utilization of physical activity resources.
Funding Guidelines

Funds awarded to a single organization in this category range up to $5,000. This grant does not require a match and funding will depend upon an organization’s rating in the review process using the evaluation criteria and the amount of funding available to the TN Arts Commission for grant allocation. In addition to merit ratings of the review criteria, the review panel will seek a diversity of project designs, locations and community settings across Tennessee for Creative Aging projects. This grant category is competitive.

The TN Arts Commission reserves the right to deny or withhold, in whole or in part, public funds for projects, programs, or other activities deemed inappropriate by the TN Arts Commission.

Deadline and How to Apply:

Applications for this grant are due by August 31, 2017 at 11:59 pm, CST. See below on how to apply. Prior to applying, organizations, who have not previously done so, must register in the online grants system before filling out an application.   Only one (1) application is allowed per organization and/or project.

Grant awards will be announced by October 1, 2017. Projects may begin no earlier than October 15, 2017 and must be completed no later than June 15, 2018.

How to Apply:

  1. Register to use the new Online Grants System. You are strongly advised to register well in advance to the application deadline. Anyone registering close to the deadline date can expect delays in the processing of their grant application.
  2. Once you’ve been emailed a username and password, log in to the new Online Grants System to complete your profile and begin an application.
  3. Use the “People” link to ensure your profile is complete and accurate. This information will also be used in the review of the application. To open the record for editing, click the edit button at the top of the screen.
  4. When the “People” profile is complete and accurate, select the “Apply for Grants” link under INFORMATION in the grey menu on the left.
  5. Scroll down the page until you see “Apply for An Annual Grant” in a green box. Select the green box.
  6. Fill out the basic information, including “Creative TN1” for Grant Category. Press the Save button. Your application will now be found in “Draft Applications link under APPLICATIONS in the grey menu on the left.
  7. Open the application by selecting it. Select the EDIT button on the top of the form. Complete all of the application fields. Save frequently.
  8. Create and upload required attachments.
  9. NOTE: The forms in this portal do not auto-save. Always click the “Save” button before navigating away from the form you are editing to save your work.

Beware that clicking the back navigation button on your web browser will exit you from the system and you will lose your work.

You will be prompted to create and upload the following documents in the Required Documents section of your application in the Online Grants System:

  • Bios & Job Descriptions: bio of the teaching artist and job description of organization’s
    staff that will coordinate program
  • – Board of Directors list
  • Example of evaluation tool(s)
  • Letters of Agreement from partners outlining the benefit they will provide to the

You will NOT be prompted to upload these documents in the system, but these Optional Documents may be required based on your organizational status. Additionally, Optional Materials may be uploaded here. These documents can be uploaded in the “Documents” section below the “Required Documents” section of your application. (Accepted file types include .pdf, .jpg, or .png. For video and audio samples, provide links to projects in the section labeled “Optional Material Link(s)” below the “Documents” section.)

  • Corporation Annual Report (nonprofit organizations only)
  • Optional: Examples (newspaper articles, marketing, links, etc.) of public
    acknowledgement or successes of your arts programs/activities with older adults.

A FY18 Title VI training and certification form and By-laws of the organization will need to be uploaded in the “organization profile” under “documents.” The Title VI training will be available upon award and the deadline for submitting the Title VI form is December 8, 2017. If an award is granted, funds will be held until Title VI training requirements are met.

All TN Arts Commission sponsored programs, services, and facilities are fully accessible to all Tennessee artists and citizens. Organizations are urged to consider contracting with diverse artists, artists living with disabilities, and/or artists representing Tennessee’s diverse artistic and cultural heritage. No person on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, age, religion, or sex shall be excluded from participation in, or be denied benefits of, or otherwise be subject to discrimination of services, programs and employment provided by the TN Arts Commission and its contracting agencies. If an individual believes he or she has been subjected to discrimination, he/she should contact the TN Arts Commission’s Director of Arts Access, Kim Johnson, at 615.532.9797 or

Questions or more information:
Contact the TN Arts Commission’s Director of Arts Access, Kim Johnson, at 615.532.98797 or

Translate »