Arts Education Teacher Incentive

Support for Tennessee educators and teaching artists participating in arts education professional development.

The Arts Education Teacher Incentive Application for Fiscal Year 2025 with projects occurring between September 15, 2024 and June 15, 2025 will open August 15, 2024 at 8:00 a.m. CST.

Fiscal Year 2025 Application Deadline:
Rolling, 30 days prior to the beginning date of the project activity 


This grant category provides funding up to $1,000 to support full-time educators, including arts specialists, general classroom teachers, principals, roster teaching artists, college/university arts faculty, and arts education administrators who work directly in or with Tennessee K-12 schools to take advantage of unique professional development opportunities that will significantly benefit their work and career in arts education and arts integration.

The earliest start date for a project is September 15, 2024. The latest end date for a project is June 15, 2025. This program is open throughout Fiscal Year 2025 OR until all funds are expended.

Funds may be used for:

  • Stipends: Applicants may request a $100 stipend for each full day of training (7 or more hours) and $50 for each half day (less than 7 hours).
  • Registration fees for the conference.
  • Travel for the individual applicant only (although attendees are encouraged to carpool). All travel expenses must be approved beforehand and will require proof of receipt upon request for funds. Eligible travel fees include:
    • Mileage reimbursement at $0.67/mile and subject to change per state regulations.
    • Parking fees
    • Airline tickets, baggage fees, and ground transportation
  • Hotel: Applicant may request funds at the hotel rate indicated by the GSA here.

Commission funds will be paid as reimbursement to the grantees upon submission and approval of reports and invoices. All grantees must be prepared to handle all necessary expenditures up front. No Commission funds are available in advance of the proposed activity.


Applicants should contact Chris Sweatt, Director of Arts Education, at or 615-253-8914 before applying to determine eligibility.

Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and legal residents of Tennessee at the time of application with a permanent Tennessee mailing address. Evidence of residency includes a valid Tennessee voter registration card or a State of Tennessee driver’s license.

The Tennessee Arts Commission encourages applications from any individual across the state. Eligible applicants living in Distressed or At-Risk counties, or in other counties designated as part of the Commission’s Targeted Arts Development Initiative (TADI) are encouraged to apply.

Those not eligible to apply include: organizations; full-time State of Tennessee employees; members of the Commission, its staff, and members of their families; full-time registered students working toward a degree or diploma in an educational institution; teaching assistants; and artists not on the Tennessee Arts Commission Teaching Artist Roster.

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.

  • Only one Teacher Incentive grant will be awarded to an individual in a single fiscal year. A maximum of five may be awarded to individuals employed at any given school or organization in any grant cycle.
  • Applicants must attend the entire opportunity for which they are applying and provide proof of attendance. Failure to attend the entire opportunity and/or provide proof of attendance for any reason will disqualify the application and nullify the grant contract.
  • Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit accurate budget projections in their application. Before applying, please price airlines tickets and Google Map distances between home and the event to estimate mileage. When booking hotels, please call the hotel to obtain the price per night with taxes. Providing realistic expenses will save time and paperwork during the close-out process and expedite payment.
  • All reservations must be made in the name of the applicant.
  • Expenses paid for by credit card or check must be in the name of the applicant to receive funding. Receipts will notbe honored if they are in a spouse’s name or someone other than the applicant.
  • For applicants who are sharing travel and rooming expenses, grant funds will be awarded to the applicant named on the receipt. It is the responsibility of the applicant to sort out shared expenses.
  • Applicants who are attending the same opportunity and sharing transportation and/or rooming costs with another applicant may not “double-dip” and ask for reimbursement of expenses that were not incurred. For example, two applicants sharing a room may not both claim the total cost of the room. This action will disqualify the applications of all individuals involved and nullify all grant contracts.

Examples of activities NOT supported by Teacher Incentive Grants:

  • Strictly commercial activities (i.e. projects that are primarily revenue-producing and benefit the applicant financially)Applicants may not request funds for opportunities in which they are being compensated in any way for presenting, including waived registration fees.
  • Purchase of meals and/or food.
  • Fees for medical, legal, accounting, or insurance.
  • Applicant’s own artistic or consultant fees.
  • Release time or sabbatical from work.
  • Purchase of equipment or supplies.
  • Projects that are currently or could potentially be funded under another TN Arts Commission Arts Education category.
  • Expenses involved in establishing, maintaining, or administering an organization or company.
  • Membership dues.

All 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 they have been subjected to discrimination, they should contact the Commission’s Director of Arts Access, Kim Johnson (615) 532-9797.

Evaluation Criteria

Arts Education Teacher Incentive applications will be reviewed by the following criteria to be considered for support. Competitive applications may demonstrate merit by showing the following:

  • The application should be well planned and presented.
  • The funding request should be clear and concise.
  • The narrative should define the goals and objectives of the project. Please be specific. The application narrative should promote excellence in the arts education and/or arts integration and professional development for the individual. The narrative portion of the grant application is extremely important in the determination if, and how much, a grant will be awarded. Competitive applications will address the following:
    • Describe the project activity (what, when, where, how, etc.).
    • What are your goals for this project and how is your project designed to achieve your goals?
    • How will you monitor progress toward achieving your goals?
    • How will the project activity add value to your work as an educator?
    • How will it add value to your school/organization and community?
  • The appropriate documentation must be attached to the application.

Funding is based on the narrative case for funding, the accuracy of the application, and the availability of funds, which are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Funds are awarded on a reimbursement basis to individual applicants. Organizations, schools, or any other groups may NOT apply. 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: school pays for registration fee) may not be claimed.

  • AE-TI grantees who receive an award of $600 or over will be sent a 1099 form for IRS tax purposes.
  • If approved, funds are paid to the applicant on a reimbursement basis. Payment will be made only after the applicant has completed the project, has submitted the Rolling grant evaluation associated with the grant and the evaluation is approved.  Grantees should upload into the Rolling Grant evaluation:
    • Proof of attendance such as a certificate or letter from a conference administrator verifying the applicant attended the entire opportunity.
    • A Rolling Grant Itemized Expenditure Sheet (IES) listing allowable expenses incurred by the grantee and/or Receipts in the applicant’s name that verify allowable expenditures. Hotel or travel expenditures in a spouse’s name or roommates name will not be accepted.
    • Expenditure requirements may vary and may require additional documentation before the Rolling Grant evaluation is approved and payment is made.
Payment & Close-Out Requirements

Grantees must submit receipts and all required close-out paperwork no later than 30 days after the project or by June 15, 2025, whichever comes first.

Review Process

Arts Education Teacher Incentive applications are reviewed in-house by Commission staff. Funding notification will be sent via email.

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.

Deadline & 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 a Teacher Incentive 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.

Required Documents

You will be prompted to create and upload the following documents in the Required Documents section of your Rolling Grant Application in the Online Grants System.

  1. Applicant Resume: Showing current employer and/or Teaching Artist Roster status
  2. Proof of TN Residency: Copy of TN Driver’s License or Voter Registration Card
  3. Information on Conference or Training: Brochure or information from website showing conference overview, dates, and presenters

If applicable, create and upload the following document in the Documents section (below the Required Documents section) of your Rolling Grant Application in the Online Grants System. Please note that you will NOT be prompted to upload Optional Support Material but are welcome to do so.

  1. Optional Support Material: Other support materials (letters of support, artist resumes, reviews, clippings, photos, and brochures) directly related to the application proposal.