The Arts Education Community Learning (AE-CL) grant program provides funding for projects that use the arts in creative and innovative ways to offer education in communities or non-traditional school environments. There are no age restrictions. Projects should include hands-on learning experiences focused on performing, visual, traditional folk, and/or literary art for the participants.
Applications must have a single project focus. Applicants may not apply for funds for the same project in another Tennessee Arts Commission grant category in the same fiscal year. Funds vary depending on the group being served, refer to the Guidelines below for more detail.
Arts Education Community Guidelines
The following guidelines are for reference. FY2021 Guidelines will be published by October 15, 2019.
Funds support projects that demonstrate creative and innovative arts education programming in community settings or non-traditional school environments for populations of all ages that directly involve participants in a hands-on learning experience focused on performing, visual, traditional folk, and/or literary arts. Examples of projects may include, but are not limited to, after school programs for at-risk youth, projects involving adults as the primary learners, community-wide events with strong arts learning components or short-term teacher training activities. Professional performing, visual, traditional folk, and/or literary artists must be used.
A project may not begin until July 1, 2019, and must conclude by June 15, 2020.
This category provides two tiers of funds:
Tier One: $500-$5,000 for innovative arts education programming in community settings or non-traditional school environments for populations of all ages
Tier Two: $500-$7,000 for projects serving elementary, middle and/or secondary students through hands-on, experiential arts education programs. A minimum of 500 students must be reached through the proposed project with each student receiving at least three contact sessions with professional teaching artists involved in the design and implementation of the project. The proposed project must include a strong curriculum-based approach and thorough assessment plan that measures student learning in the art skills being taught, as evidenced through a well-constructed lesson plan and evaluation tools submitted with the application.
- nonprofit organizations or government agencies with a primary mission of education
- nonprofit arts organizations
- private PK-12 schools with nonprofit 501(c) 3 status
NOTE: Public PK-12 schools are ineligible to apply in this grant category.
Applications MUST have a single project focus. Organizations with expansive education programs should narrow their focus to one component of their overall educational programming.
Applicants may not apply for funds for the same project in another Commission grant category in the same fiscal year.
Debarment and Suspension. Grantees are required to sign contracts certifying to the best of its knowledge and belief, that it, its current and future principals, its current and future subcontractors and their principals are not presently debarred, suspended, proposed for debarment, declared ineligible, or voluntarily excluded from covered transactions by any federal or state department or agency.
DUNS Number: All applicants are required to have a DUNS number. Information and application instructions can be found here.
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. Artists representing Tennessee’s diverse artistic and cultural heritage are urged to apply and participate in programs and activities. 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, Kim Johnson, (615) 532-9797.
Requested funds must be listed under only one expense category in the budget section for one of the following:
- Professional artist fees
- In-state travel and/or lodging for artists
- Space rental (for locations not currently being rented by the applicant organization)
- Consumable supplies related to the project
The Tennessee Arts Commission reserves the right to deny any application if the proposed activity is outside of the scope or spirit of the agency’s mission, purpose, or this grant program.
- Projects in which the artist is to serve as the arts teacher in the absence of any ongoing arts education programs
- Permanent staff of an organization
- Incentives for participation including cash awards
- Projects designed primarily as performances, demonstrations, or exhibits with only minimal impact and limited hands-on participation
- Field trips
- Competitions and/or tours in which students are presenting, performing, and/or exhibiting
- Out-of-state travel
- Individual private lesson instruction
- Payment for apprentices or interns
- Capital outlay for permanent or non-consumable materials or equipment purchases (such as musical instruments, books, cameras, easels, etc.)
- Planned fundraising activities
- After-school clubs
- Scholarships or competitions
- Grant writing fees
- Non-classical art forms including but not limited to culinary arts, martial arts, healing arts, exercise programs, acrobatics or gymnastics (exceptions exist – contact the Commission for details)
- Payments to an employee or official of the State of Tennessee (Exceptions exist. Contact Commission for details)
- Guest artists to exhibit, direct, choreograph or conduct productions or performances
- serve a population defined by the organization’s mission
- have a clear beneficial educational focus which demonstrates thorough planning and implementation
- include an instructional component that clearly defines the goals and objectives of the project, provides learners with historical and/or social context, and demonstrates and/or reinforces the skill sets needed for the artistic medium being used. The instructional component details the content of the project – how subject matter will be taught and reinforced, the goals of the project, hands-on activities, and any problem-solving or critical thinking components. A sample lesson plan or content outline from one class session must be submitted with the application.
- include an evaluation component that measures the planning, implementation, and successes of the program and addresses plans for improvements or expansion of future projects. Evaluations should effectively measure the goals and objectives (outcomes) of the project. Recently funded continuing projects must demonstrate to what extent outcomes were met.
- proposed project demonstrates artistic, cultural and/or educational value to the community being served (10 points)
- proposed project advances the organization’s mission to the community being served (10 points)
- organization understands and is responsive to the diverse interests and needs of the community it serves (10 points)
- proposed project supports the work of artists through payment of fees, services or appropriate benefits (10 points)
- organization understands and acts as an advocate for the public value of the arts in the community (10 points)
- planning procedures are comprehensive, inclusive and communicated (10 points)
- organization understands principles of documentation and evaluation and results are used to guide future planning and programming (10 points)
- organization understands and demonstrates the value of public and private partnerships (5 points)
- organization demonstrates financial stability and a broad base of financial support (5 points)
- organization’s ability to carry out proposed project based on history of Commission funding (10 points)
- the organization’s application is well planned, addresses all questions, and is correct an complete in all information provided (10 points)
- For new applicants, contact the Director of Arts Education to verify eligibility at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-532-5939.
- 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.
- Log in to the new Online Grants System to complete your “Organization” profile and begin an application.
- Use the “Organizations” link to the left in your Online Grants System portal to ensure that the record is complete and accurate. This information is as important as the application itself, and incomplete or erroneous data will impact your chances for funding. To open the record for completing/editing, click the “Edit” button at the top of the Organizations screen.
- Use the “People” link to ensure that the record 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.
- When both your “Organization” and “People” profiles are complete and accurate, select the “Apply for Grants” tab again and click the “Apply for an Annual Grant” link listed on the page.
- Complete all of the application fields.
- Create and upload required attachments.
- Submit by Tuesday, January 22, 2019, by 11:59 p.m. (CST).
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 pre-populate in the organization name field on any newly opened application. To change to another associated organization, simply delete the pre-populated name and type in the correct organization.
You will be prompted to create and upload the following documents in the Required Documents section of your Annual Application in the Online Grants System.
- Proof of Arts Advocacy: Arts advocacy is communicating to elected officials your views on the importance of the arts and how public support of the arts can and has impacted your community. Examples of arts advocacy proof may include membership in Tennesseans for the Arts, copies of recent letters to legislators and other elected officials, photos of elected officials at the applicant’s arts events, newspaper clippings that create awareness about public support for the arts through the organization’s activities (news articles that primarily market events are not acceptable) and other pertinent print materials. Proof of advocacy must be demonstrated by the applicant organization. Applicants may not submit advocacy efforts conducted by contracted artists. Multiple examples of arts advocacy will strengthen the application, but only one (1) example proving advocacy is required.
- Evaluation Tools: Upload one sample of each type of evaluation tool that will be used during the project as one uploaded document. Do NOT include several completed evaluation instruments as part of the application.
- Key Staff Bios: Short bios (2-3 sentences) of the primary administrative and artistic personnel, including contract artists, who will be involved in the grant activity. Do NOT upload resumes.
- Lesson Plan or Content Outline: Insert one sample lesson plan for one lesson that will be taught as part of the proposed project (limit 5 pages). Do NOT send lesson samples for the entire project or for more than one lesson. Samples should include instructional objectives and method of assessment. A content outline is a less formal version of a lesson plan but should still include instructional objectives and method of assessment.
- Schedule: Outline the schedule of activities with as much detail as possible, such as the daily and/or weekly schedule for both students and artists.
- Board of Directors List: Only nonprofit organizations with 501(c)3 status upload this document.
The board list must include the following:
- Full Name
- Phone number
- Email address
- Number of years on the board
- Length of term(s)
- NEW: Notations identifying which members represent underserved populations should no longer be included.
- Corporation Annual Report: Only nonprofit organizations with 501(c)3 status upload this document. In lieu of the report required to be filed annually with the Secretary of State’s Office, you may also submit a copy of the email verification issued by the Secretary of State’s Office or a copy of the online verification sheet maintained by the Secretary of State’s Office found here.
If applicable, create and upload the following documents in the Documents section (below the Required Documents section) of your Annual Application in the Online Grants System. Please note that you will NOT be prompted to upload these documents in the system, but these documents may be required based on your application type.
- Evaluation Summary: Only required for continuing projects funded in the last fiscal year. Provide qualitative and quantitative data collected from evaluations from the previous year’s funded project.
- Optional Material: Other support materials (artist resumes, reviews, clippings, photos, and brochures) directly related to the application proposal.
If applicable, create and upload the following document in the Organization profile of your portal in the Online Grants System.
- Bylaws: Only nonprofit organizations with 501(c)3 status upload this document. Upload the most recent copy of the Bylaws of the organization in the Organization profile.