Touring Arts Grant Program
Fiscal Year 2018
July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018

Application Deadline: 30 days prior to the beginning date of the project activity. Applications open now and close when FY18 funds have been fully expended. 

Non-matching FY17 Touring Arts (TOUR) Grants are available to nonprofit organizations and entities of government for support to engage professional touring artists for performances and educational activities in Tennessee communities. Except in unusual circumstances, only one (1) Touring Grant will be awarded to any one applicant in a single fiscal year.

NEW: Applicants receiving operating support in FY18 through the MCI, PS or CEP categories are ineligible to apply for a TOUR grant.


This grant category supports Tennessee presenters by providing grant funds up to $5,000 to offset the costs of professional artist fees for performing artists and groups that present to the public and offer an educational component with their engagement.

There are three categories of funding requests:
1. General Funding Request: Grant funds may be used to pay 50% (up to $5,000) of the agreed upon artist’s fees.
2. Artist of Color Funding Request: Grant funds may be used to pay 75% (up to $5,000) of the agreed upon artist’s fee if the artist is a person of color.
3. Artist with Disabilities Funding Request: Grant funds may be used to pay 100% (up to $5,000) of the agreed upon artist’s fee if the artist self-identifies as a person with a disability.

For performing artists to qualify for funding category 2 or 3, at least 50% of the group’s members must be people of color or self-identify as persons with disabilities. Specify in your application narrative which category your organization or government entity is applying for.

Artist fees are private negotiations between presenters and artists and do not involve the Tennessee Arts Commission. Proof of artist fee is required by providing a signed agreement or letter of intent to hire between the applicant and the artist, detailing the total artist fee and date of service. Grant funds requested and awarded must range from $350 – $5,000.

All Touring Arts grant recipients must be prepared to handle all necessary expenditures up front. Commission funds will be paid as reimbursement to the grantees upon submission and approval of reports and invoices. No Commission funds are available prior to the project or activity.


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


DUNS Number: All applicants are required to have a DUNS number. Information and application instructions can be found here.

An organization is eligible to apply for funding support if the organization meets one of the following qualifications:
• The applicant is a nonprofit organization legally chartered in Tennessee and has its headquarters and home season, or activities equivalent to a home season for non-producing organizations, 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.
• The organization is an entity of government.
• The organization is not receiving operating support in FY18 through the MCI, PS or CEP categories.

Inappropriate Activities
The following activities are not eligible for funding:
• Any activity used as a planned fundraising event.
• Any event which is part of a college or university’s curriculum.
• Projects that do not include a public performance component and an additional education/outreach component.
• Applications from producing arts organizations, such as orchestras, theater companies, dance companies, and opera companies requesting fee support for guest artists appearing as part of the organization’s own performance, concert, or production.

Additionally, schools, colleges and universities are eligible only for activities that clearly serve the needs of the surrounding communities or the state and are designed to involve a broad audience. Activities that are credit-producing or are oriented primarily to students and the academic community are not eligible. Schools, colleges, and universities must schedule public performances outside of school hours, and demonstrate that they are open and marketed to the public.

The Tennessee Arts Commission reserves the right to deny any application, if the grant’s purpose is outside of the scope or spirit of this grant program.

All 501(c)(3) applicants must have on file with the Commission copies of the basic nonprofit status documentation. First-time applicants must provide these documents by the time of application. All should be uploaded and stored in the applicant’s Organization Card in the Online Grants System.

• Tennessee State Charter
• IRS 501(c)(3) Determination Letter
• Most recent copy of the bylaws of the organization

All applicants must also provide at the time of their application:

• Title VI training certification (see requirements below)
• A signed contract or letter of agreement with the artist(s) being presented
• A copy of the applicant’s Corporation Annual Report from the TN Secretary of State’s office. Use this link to request a “Printer Friendly Version” and upload that PDF to the Organization Card.

Failure to provide all nonprofit status documentation, Title VI training certification, and/or a signed contract or letter of agreement will result in the application being disqualified.

For further eligibility information, please refer to The Commission’s Legal Requirements.

Except in unusual circumstances, only one (1) Touring Grant will be awarded to any one applicant in a single fiscal year.

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.

Title VI Training

A completed FY18 Title VI training and certification form is due at time of application. Title VI training information can be found at this link.

Note: if you are applying between June 1-30, 2017 FY18 Title VI training and certification form will be due after July 1 and before your project activity.

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
Touring grant applications will be reviewed by Commission members and staff using the following criteria to be considered for support. Competitive applications may demonstrate merit by showing the following:
• 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 demonstrates that the project will add value to the organization’s constituents and community. A compelling narrative is a crucial factor in the grant award. The presenter should be prepared to answer the following within the narrative portion of the application:

  1. Evidence of the proposed project’s impact upon the intended audience or the community in which the presenter exists (including the introduction of new or untried performing arts events aimed at broadening the audience’s appreciation for a variety of art forms, if applicable).
  2. Evidence of one or more education/outreach activities (workshops, master classes, lecture-demonstrations, etc.).
  3. Evidence that the presenter is engaging underserved audiences (including those living in rural communities or isolated settings).

• The appropriate documentation was attached to the application.

Organizations may receive funding based on the narrative case presented in the grant application, the accuracy of the completed application, and the availability of funds, which are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

This grant can fund contracted professional fees, negotiated between the organization and artist, only. Travel, hotel or food are not options for this grant application.

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.

Matching Requirements 
This grant does not require a cash match. However, a copy of a signed agreement or letter of intent to hire between the applicant and the artist, detailing the total artist fee and date of service, is part of the required document section. The Commission will reference the total artist fee on the provided documentation to determine that the requested amount is the appropriate percentage of the agreed upon fee (no more than $5,000).

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

Payment & Close-Out Requirements
Grant funds will be paid as reimbursements after the event. Grantees must submit 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.

How to Apply
  1. Register to use the 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. Log in to the Online Grants System to complete your “Organization” profile and begin an application for an TOUR grant.
  3. Use the “Organizations” tab on the left-hand menu to ensure that the profile is complete and accurate. This information is as important as the application itself. Incomplete or erroneous data will impact your chances for funding. To edit the profile, click the “Edit” button at the top of the Organization screen.
  4. Use the “People” tab on the left-hand menu to ensure that your “People” profile is complete and accurate. This information will also be used in the review of the application. To edit the profile, click the “Edit” button at the top of the screen.
  5. When both your “Organization” and “People” profiles are complete and accurate, select the “Apply for Grants” tab again and choose the Annual Grant application link.
  6. Complete all of the application fields.
  7. Create and upload required attachments.
  8. 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.

Association or Connection to Multiple Organizations: If you are associated with more than one organization, the organization that you were originally associated with will prepopulate in the organization name field on any newly opened application. To change to another associated organization, simply delete the prepopulated name and type in the correct organization.




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