Professional Development Support Grant
Fiscal Year 2019
July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019

Application Deadline: 30 days prior to the beginning date of the project activity. Applications become available on June 1, 2018

Non-matching FY19 Professional Development Support Grants are designed to assist professional individual Tennessee artists and arts administrators from all disciplines take advantage of a unique opportunity that will significantly benefit their work or career development. Requests up to $750 toward a specific, documented opportunity that will occur between July 1, 2018 – June 15, 2019 are eligible.


This grant category provides up to $750 to assist Tennessee artists and arts administrators with funding support for participation in professional development and skills-building activities which contribute to significant professional growth. Applicants must make a compelling case as to why their particular self-identified learning activity was selected and how it will have a substantial impact on their work and/or community.

The Tennessee Arts Commission reserves the right to deny any application it deems ineligible based on a lack of evidence proving the applicant is not a “professional individual artist” or “professional arts administrator,” or if the grant’s purpose is outside of the scope or spirit of this grant program.

For the purposes of this grant program, “professional development and skill-building activities” refer to learning activities which may include (but are not exclusive to) the following:

  • Participation in TN conferences or symposia
  • Artist or administrator residencies
  • Training or apprenticeship with mentors/master artists – learning activities must be structured and documentable
  • Residencies and training opportunities, provided the applicant has been invited or accepted and will be a participant, not a deliverer of learning or programming. Applicants must make a compelling case as to why a particular self-identified learning activity was selected and how it will have a substantial impact on their work and/or community.
  • To travel within Tennessee for artistic research or to present or complete work
  • Creation or upgrade of website
  • Attendance to TN Arts sponsored events
  • Research and documentation as part of an arts project or program
  • The development of long-range planning documents
  • Computer software/training
  • Technical assistance projects

Activities NOT supported in the PDS grant category include, but are not limited to:

  • Activities that involve any organization at which the applicant is employed and/or from whom the applicant receives a W-2 or 1099 form
  • Paying for tuition, fees, or work toward any degree, or higher education classes
  • Activities in which artists are required to pay excessive fees in order to exhibit or perform
  • Payment of debts incurred before the grant activities begin
  • Activities that are essentially for the religious socialization of the participants or audience
  • Activities that attempt to influence any state or federal legislation or appropriation
  • Capital costs (such as equipment purchases, improvements, construction, or property)
  • To start, match, add to, or complete any type of capital campaign (such as endowment, debt retirement, or building campaigns)
  • Payment of costs for activities that take place outside the geographic boundaries of the U.S.
  • Contracting for professional fees and services for a specific opportunity: i.e., lighting, set/costume design or carpentry
  • Purchase of expendable supplies or rental of equipment, instruments, or materials to complete work scheduled for a gallery exhibition, performance, publication, etc.
  • Medical, legal, or accounting fees
  • Meals, food, hospitality expenses
  • Applicant’s own artistic, per diem, or consultant fees
  • Release time or sabbatical from work
  • Programs that are currently or could potentially be funded under TAC’s Arts Education category
  • Expenses involved in establishing, maintaining, or administering an organization or company
  • Finishing funds for a work in progress
  • To use in conjunction with another Tennessee Arts Commission grant to fund participation in the same event.
  • Projects, programs, or other activities deemed inappropriate by the Commission.

All Professional Development Support grantees must be prepared to handle all necessary expenditures up front. Commission funds will be paid as reimbursement to the individuals upon submission and approval of reports and invoices. No Commission funds are available prior to the Professional Development Support activity.

Reimbursement is made after proof of attendance and receipts documenting expenses are provided. **All receipts must be in the name of the applicant individual.** Receipts in the name of spouses or roommates will NOT be accepted. Expenses that were not incurred directly by the applicant (example: organization pays for administrator’s registration fee) may not be claimed.


General Information, Hal Partlow, Associate Director for Grants, 615-741-2093

Performing artists, Jared Morrison, Director of Performing Arts, 615-532-9801

Visual, Craft, Media and Design artists, Krishna Adams, Director of Visual Arts, Craft, Media and Design, 615-532-9798

Literary artists, Lee Baird, Director of Literary Arts, 615-532-0493

Folk and Traditional artists, Bradley Hanson, Director of Folklife, 615-532-9795


Professional Individual Artists:

  • For the purposes of this grant category, professional artists is defined as those individuals who either by education, experience, or natural talent engage in a particular art form or discipline, and compensation from their work as an artist provides a significant source of support for their livelihood.
  • Individual artists must live in Tennessee and provide proof of residency in the form of a copy of a valid Tennessee voter registration card or a legal State of Tennessee driver’s license as part of the supporting documents.
  • At least 18 years of age
  • A U. S. citizen, or individual who has attained permanent resident status

Professional Arts Administrators: 

  • Applicant must be currently serving in an administrative capacity with a Tennessee arts organization.
  • Only one individual per organization per year may apply.
  • If funding is requested to support attendance at a professional conference, the applicant will need to prove that this opportunity would not otherwise be funded the organization for which they work.
  • Individual arts administrators must live in Tennessee and provide proof of residency in the form of a copy of a valid Tennessee voter registration card or a legal State of Tennessee driver’s license as part of the supporting documents.
  • At least 18 years of age
  • A U. S. citizen, or individual who has attained permanent resident status
  • For further eligibility information, please refer to the Commission Legal Requirements.

Who is not eligble to apply?

  • An applicant that is not in compliance with any active contract with the Tennessee Arts Commission
  • An applicant who received a Professional Development Grant in the last two years
  • Full-time State of Tennessee employees (other than instructors on the faculties of state-supported higher learning educational institutions)
  • Full-time K–12 teachers
  • Full or part-time registered students (either elementary, secondary, college or university) working toward a degree or diploma in an educational institution
  • Members of the Commission, its staff, and members of their families

Affirmative Duty to Report Major Organizational Change 

Any grantee shall promptly notify the State in writing of any significant changes in the organization’s structure, leadership or financial circumstances that could affect services provided under the grant contract resulting from this application.

All Tennessee 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 Commission and its contracting agencies. If an individual believes he or she has been subjected to discrimination, he/she should contact the Commission’s Director of Arts Access, (615) 532-9797.

Evaluation Criteria
Professional Development Support applications will be reviewed by Commission members and staff using the following criteria. Competitive applications demonstrate merit by showing the following:

  • The proposed activity is a unique opportunity that will significantly benefit the applicant’s work or career development.
  • The applicant should have a past record of administrative cooperation and compliance with Commission grant requirements and procedures, if Commission funding has previously been awarded.
  • The application should be well planned and presented.
  • The narrative includes a compelling case as to why this particular self-identified learning activity was selected and how it will have a substantial impact on your professional growth and skills development. A compelling narrative is a crucial factor in the grant award.
  • The appropriate documentation was attached to the application. 
Funding is based on the narrative case for Professional Development Support, the accuracy of the application, and the availability of funds, which are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

This grant can fund consultation/master/mentor fees, registration fees, travel and hotel expenses. Funds may be requested for the following:

  • Contracted Professional Fees – negotiated between the applicant and service provider (consultant/master/mentor).
  • Registration – for attendance to conferences or seminar, etc.
  • Travel – Mileage reimbursement is $.47/mile and subject to change per state regulations. To determine mileage, applicants must use MapQuest or another tool to verify round trip distance. For travel outside of Tennessee verification of airline fee must be provided.
  • Hotel – Please refer to the US General Services Administration website to identify the state per diem rate.

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 Commission, or if the proposed activities purpose is outside of the scope or spirit of this grant program.

Matching Requirements
This grant does not require a cash match.

Review Process
Professional Development Support applications are reviewed in-house by Commission members and staff. Funding notification will take place via email.

Payment & Close-Out Requirements

Grantees must submit receipts and all required close-out paperwork no later than 30 days after the ending date of the activity. Failure to do so may jeopardize future funding. 

Deadline & Requirements
Applications become available on June 1, 2018. Prior to submitting a 2019 Rolling Grant Application for a Professional Development Support grant, applicants should check on the status of funding availability in this category with Hal Partlow, Associate Director for Grants, (615) 741-2093.

What to Submit
By the specified deadline, applicants must complete and successfully submit all sections, including required uploaded documents, of the 2019 Rolling Grant Application electronically.

Required documents:

  • You will be prompted upload the following documents in the Required Documents section of your application in the Online Grants System.
    • Valid Tennessee voter registration card or a legal State of Tennessee driver’s license.
  • You will NOT be prompted to upload these documents in the system, but these documents may be required based on your applicant type. 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, provides links to projects in the section labeled “Optional Material Link(s)” below the “Documents” section.Dependent upon your proposed project, additional documents may be required prior to evaluating your application. For example:
    • Upload a copy of their conference/symposium registration form, if applicable
    • For travel outside of Tennessee, upload verification of airline fee
    • Contact a staff member if you have questions about additional documents
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 your “People” profile is complete and accurate, select the “Apply for Grants” tab again and click the “Apply for an ROLLING Grant” link listed on the page.
  5. Complete all of the application fields.
  6. Create and upload required attachments.
  7. Submit by at least thirty (30) days prior to the beginning date of the project activity.

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.

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