Arts Education Teacher Training

Support for providing intensive professional development in arts education.

Opportunities include hands-on, immersion-style curriculum planning sessions for participants. Applicants must be nonprofit arts organizations, art councils, schools or school districts, or institutions of higher learning. 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.

Funding will depend upon an organization’s rating in the review process and upon the total amount of funds available to the Commission for grant allocation. This grant program is competitive, and most grant requests are not fully funded.

Arts Education Teacher Training Guidelines Fiscal Year 2025


Funds support outstanding professional development activities that promote curriculum-based arts education and/or arts integration which correlate with state and/or national standards. Activities may involve visual, performing, traditional folk, and/or literary arts. Teacher Training grant-funded projects are intended for immersion-style professional development opportunities with in-depth hands-on involvement and curriculum planning sessions for participants. Lecture-oriented workshops, clinics, or conferences with minimal immersion activities will not be funded under this category.

A project may not begin until July 1, 2024 and must conclude by June 15, 2025.

This category provides two tiers of funds:

Applicants may request up to $18,000 for:

  • curriculum-based arts education or arts integration professional development with a minimum of two consecutive days of intensive professional development workshops or institutes to deepen participant learning. Additionally, participants must attend both days.
  • curriculum-based arts education or arts integration professional development workshop series. Training sessions do not need to be consecutive but must extend over a minimum of 4 days.
Program Requirements

In order to be eligible for funding under the Teacher Training category, projects must meet the following requirements:

  • Professional development trainees may include classroom teachers, arts specialists, curriculum coordinators, teaching artists, principals, and/or administrators.
  • Training must be participatory and hands-on but not limited to “make it and take it” workshops.
  • Projects must have a strong instructional component that includes collaborative planning and lesson plan development and implementation in curriculum-based arts education or arts integration instruction. The instructional component should detail the content of the project: how subject matter will be taught and reinforced, the goals of the project, collaborative lesson planning, hands-on activities, etc. When linking content to state and/or national standards, do not simply list the standards. Explain how the standards will be incorporated as part of the instruction and how they relate to the project outcomes being evaluated.
  • Clinicians must be highly trained and recognized professionals in the field of arts education and/or arts integration. Applicants may be asked to provide resumes of clinicians.
  • Include a method of evaluation that effectively measures the professional development activity. Applicant organizations seeking to train teachers are expected to demonstrate a thorough and effective evaluation plan for the proposed project. Evaluations should effectively measure the goals and objectives of professional development activity. Recently funded continuing projects must demonstrate to what extent outcomes were met.

First-time applicants should contact Chris Sweatt, Director of Arts Education, at or 615-253-8914, prior to submitting an application to verify eligibility.

Applicants must be one of the following:

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. Each grantee is required to sign a contract certifying to the best of the organization’s 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.

Arts organizations that receive revenue directly from a “New Specialty Earmarked Plate” under T.C.A 55-4-301 (a)(1) are ineligible for Commission grant funding.

Unique Entity ID (UEI): All applicants are required to have a Unique Entity ID. UEI 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 they have been subjected to discrimination, they should contact the Commission’s Director of Arts Access, Kim Johnson, 615-532-9797.

Appropriate Funding

NEW: Requested funds may be listed in up to four different expense categories under the Commission Funds Requested column on the budget page for the following:

  • NEW: Permanent education staff salaries including administrators or teaching artists (Based on the percentage of time spent on the project. This is particularly important for applicants that also receive an Operating Support grant covering permanent staff salaries.)
  • Clinician or workshop leader honorarium
  • Professional artist fees
  • In-state travel and/or lodging for presenters
  • Space rental
  • Preparation time
  • Marketing
  • Consumable supplies related to the project
  • Development, duplication, and dissemination of materials used during training sessions

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

Inappropriate Activities
  • Projects that are primarily lecture-oriented
  • Substitute teachers and/or release time
  • Participant stipends
  • Incentives for participation including cash awards
  • Projects designed primarily as performances, demonstrations, or exhibits with limited hands-on participation
  • Field trips
  • Competitions and/or tours in which participants 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
  • Scholarships or competitions
  • Food
  • Grant writing fees
  • Non-classical art forms including, but not limited to, projects involving 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 the Commission for details)
Matching Funds & In-Kind Contributions

Arts Education Teacher Training grants do not require a dollar for dollar match; however, applicants are asked to show a match in the application as part of the Entire Project Budget, if applicable. In-kind contributions cannot be used for matching purposes but may strengthen the application. In the space provided for in-kind contributions, show the monetary value of services and supplies donated to the program free of charge.
Evaluation Criteria

Advisory panels reviewing grant applications for this program use the following evaluation criteria citing evidence that the:

  • 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 the 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)
Deadline & How to Apply
  1. For new applicants, contact Chris Sweatt, Director of Arts Education, at or 615-253-8914 to discuss eligibility.
  2. 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.
  3. Log into the Online Grants System to complete your “Organization” profile and begin an application.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Complete all of the application fields.
  8. Create and upload the required attachments.
  9. Submit by Tuesday, January 16, 2024, 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.

Required Documents

Upload the following documents in the Required Documents section of your Annual Application in the Online Grants System.

  1. Proof of Arts Advocacy. Advocacy is educating and communicating to the public, including public officials, 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 or emails (within the last 12 months) to state legislators and other state/local elected officials, photos of state/local elected officials at the applicant’s arts events, newspaper articles or social media posts that create awareness about public support for the arts through the organization’s activities (news articles that primarily market events are not acceptable), promoting the Specialty License Plate program and other pertinent print materials. Proof of advocacy must be demonstrated by the applicant organization. Applicants may not submit advocacy efforts conducted by contracted personnel. Multiple examples of arts advocacy will strengthen the application, but only one example that proves advocacy is required.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Schedule: Outline the schedule of activities with as much detail as possible, such as the daily and/or weekly schedule for both the participants and staff.
  5. Board of Directors List: Only nonprofit organizations with 501(c)3 status upload this document. Note that Commission staff may request that grantees provide additional information about the board including but not limited to contact information and occupation during the grant period.
    The board list (at the time of application) must include only the following:

    • Full name
    • Email address
    • Number of years on the board
    • Length of term(s)
      • NOTE: Double check your board list to make sure it has all 4 pieces of the required information. If your organization’s bylaws do not require term limits, include a statement on the Board List indicating this. Legal requirements state that Commission funds granted to an organization may not be used as a payment of any kind, for any purpose, to members of an organization’s board.
  6. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. Optional Support Material(s): It is strongly encouraged that the applicant uploads support materials that showcase the project.
    • Support materials can include but are not limited to: artist resumes, reviews, clippings, photos, brochures, monitoring plans, and links to videos directly related to the application proposal.
    • Accepted file types include .pdf, .jpg, or .png. For video and audio samples, provide links to projects in the section labeled “Optional Material Link(s)” below the “Documents” section

If applicable, create and upload the following document in the Organization profile in your portal of the Online Grants System.

  1. 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.