South Arts Awards Grants to Support “Southern Creative Places” in Tennessee

By Ivan Schustak, Director of Communications, South Arts –

South Arts, a nonprofit regional arts organization serving nine Southern states, has awarded two Tenessee organizations creative placemaking grants:

  • The Glass House Collective in Chattanooga received a $4,750 grant to use arts events to encourage community engagement and input into the redevelopment of a public housing site.
  • The City of Whitwell received a $4,750 grant to create artistic welcome signs at city gateways, connecting to a public park.

Across the region, South Arts has awarded $78,189 in grants to 18 communities. These grants, made possible through funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Georgia Council for the Arts, support the planning and execution of creative placemaking projects predominantly in small and rural communities in the South.

“Creative placemaking uses arts and culture to activate and animate communities,” said Susie Surkamer, executive director of South Arts. “Creative placemaking puts arts, culture and creativity at the center of planning and problem-solving. It brings people and partners together to design creative solutions to community challenges using arts and culture as catalysts. The results can be more connected communities, enhanced quality of life, more economic opportunities, and the showcasing of a community’s most unique characteristics.”

The grants, which must be matched by the recipient organization, support organizations in South Arts’ region. Organizations applied this spring and were recently notified of their status.

“In our new strategic plan, South Arts has made a commitment to address the evolving needs of Southern communities through impactful arts-based programs,” continued Surkamer. “Supporting these creative placemaking efforts – from a small-business incubator for creative entrepreneurs to public art projects embracing civic pride and even a project using the arts to promote healthy eating and locally-grown produce – is an important step in serving the cross-sector needs of our region through the arts.”

The Southern Creative Places grant program represents South Arts’ first programmatic offering in the arena of creative placemaking, following up on its successful co-sponsorship of the Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit in March 2018 in Chattanooga, TN. For more information about opportunities from South Arts, visit

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