Support for whole-school arts integration programs to improve instruction and increase student outcomes through arts integration.

Arts360 brings teachers full circle as learners, collaborators, facilitators, and reflectors by making arts-based and arts integrated learning a critical component of every child’s educational experience. Arts integration is a method of teaching that supports learning both in and through the arts. Teachers of non-arts subjects work alongside arts specialists and teaching artists to create collaborative lesson plans that infuse creativity into learning. The curriculum standards and objectives of arts and non-arts subjects are connected seamlessly to strengthen understanding in multiple content areas.

View the Arts360 Guidelines below to determine your school’s eligibility and to view additional information.

These projects are supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Arts360 Guidelines Fiscal Year 2025

The Arts360 grant program supports whole-school arts integration programs to improve instruction and increase student outcomes through arts integration. Arts360 brings teachers full circle, as learners, collaborators, facilitators, and reflectors by making arts-based and arts integrated learning a critical component of every child’s educational experience.

Arts integration is a method of teaching that supports learning both in and through the arts. Teachers of non-arts subjects work alongside arts specialists and teaching artists to create collaborative lesson plans that infuse creativity into learning. The curriculum standards and objectives of arts and non-arts subjects are connected seamlessly to strengthen understanding in multiple content areas.

Program Goals

  • Improve the academic performance and outcomes of students
  • Improve standards-based arts education for all participants
  • Integrate standards-based arts education into the school curriculum
  • Nurture collaboration within schools, across districts, and statewide
  • Support a systematic expansion of the arts integration network in Tennessee

A project may not begin until July 1, 2024 and conclude by June 15, 2027.

The category provides funds up to $55,000 over a three-year grant period (contingent on funding), not to exceed:

$25,000 for project year 1
$20,000 for project year 2
$10,000 for project year 3


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

Applicants must be:

PK-12 public schools or school systems in Tennessee*
*Panel reviewers may give preference to Title I Schools

Applicants may not apply for funds for the same project in another Commission grant category during the three-year grant period.

This grant program is not available for schools that have been a part of the Commission’s Value Plus Schools or Arts360 arts integration programs in the past.

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.

3 Phases for Participating Schools

New Schools exist in the New Schools phase for project years 1-2 and become Mentor Schools during project year 3 before graduating as Expert Schools. Arts360 grant funds are only available to New and Mentor Schools for project years 1-3. Expert Schools are not eligible for Arts360 grant funds beyond project year 3.

Program Requirements for New and Mentor Schools
  • Must be a public school in Tennessee serving grades PK-12
  • 75% commitment from school faculty
  • Host a minimum of two teaching artist residencies with teacher training in-services for 75% of faculty annually. Two annual residencies must utilize artist(s)/organization(s) on the Teaching Artist Roster. Artist(s)/organization(s) not on the roster may be utilized with Arts360 grant funds only in addition to the two roster artist(s)/organization(s) each year.
  • Attend the annual statewide arts education conference for four years (before year 1, after year 1, after year 2, and after year 3)
  • Submit a minimum of five lesson plans to the Tennessee Arts Commission Lesson Plan Database each year
  • Participate in 1-2 school observations by Tennessee Arts Commission staff annually
  • Host open house or “night of the arts” inviting the community to learn about work in arts integration
  • Identify Arts360 Coordinator
  • Establish mentor/mentee relationships with new schools during project year 3
  • Participate in a community of practice by sharing program tools, lesson ideas, best practices, and findings
Expectations for Expert Schools
  • Continue as part of a community of practice by presenting lesson ideas, best practices, and leading reflection sessions at statewide arts education conferences
  • Send teams of teachers (minimum of 5-10 depending on school size) to the statewide arts education conference
  • Submit three arts integration lesson plans annually to the Tennessee Arts Commission Lesson Plan Database
  • Have an open-door policy to interested administrators, teachers, and community members
  • Exemplary leaders apply to Teaching Artist Roster as consultants/arts integration specialists
Appropriate Funding

Requested funds may be listed under any of the following expense categories in the Financial Information section for any or all of the following:

  • Permanent Staff (Administrative) for the Arts360 Coordinator stipend only (maximum $1,000 annually)
  • Contracted Personnel (Artistic) for professional artist fees and travel
  • Contracted Personnel (Tech/Production)
  • Contracted Personnel (Other)
  • Accessibility
  • Travel for professional development, trainings, or teacher release time
  • Marketing for sharing/dissemination of program tools, lesson ideas, best practices, and findings
  • Remaining Operating Expenses for supplies and equipment

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

Inappropriate Activities
  • 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 (with the exception of the Arts360 Coordinator stipend)
  • Contracted Personnel (Administrative)
  • Space Rental
  • Capital Expenditures and Acquisitions
  • Incentives for participation
  • Cash awards
  • 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
  • Planned fundraising activities
  • After-school clubs
  • Scholarships or competitions
  • Food
  • 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 the Commission for details)
  • Guest artists to exhibit, direct, choreograph, or conduct productions or performances
Matching Funds & In-kind Contributions
The Arts360 grant requires a 50% match. For every $2 in grant funds, the applicant must show a $1 cash match. Applicants should show at least a 50% match in the Financial Information section under Projected Project Expenses and Income. Note that the Projected Project Expenses and Income should reflect your entire project cash expenses and income for a three-year period, including all Commission Funds Requested and all other Applicant Cash Participation. Therefore, if you plan to match more than 50% of the Commission Funds Requested, you should show this in the Projected Project Expenses and income. In-kind contributions cannot be used for cash matching purposes but will strengthen the application. In the In-Kind Contributions section of the application, show and describe the monetary value of services and supplies donated to the program free of charge.
Evaluation Criteria
The advisory panel reviewing grant applications assigns scores based on how well the proposed project addresses the following evaluation criteria based on a 100-point scale.

Artistic/Cultural/Educational Merit (30 points)
Appropriateness of the project’s goals and outcomes to the organization’s culture and is of high value to the community being served.

The Narrative Information section:

  • Thoroughly describes the culture of the school
  • Includes clearly defined student, educator, and programmatic goals and outcomes that align with the organization’s culture
  • Articulates that the project demonstrates a high artistic/cultural/educational value to the specific community being served

Evaluation and Dissemination (30 points)
Clear and comprehensive plans to assess, document, and share progress toward achieving stated goals and outcomes.

The Narrative Information section:

  • Outlines qualitative and quantitative assessment strategies to measure desired goals and outcomes and includes benchmarks for progress
  • Indicates a variety of methods for documenting assessments
  • Incorporates several plans for dissemination of tools, lesson ideas, best practices, and findings

Budget and Participant/Partnership Support (20 points)
Feasibility of the project based on evidence of a well-planned budget, committed participants and partners, and plans for sustainability.

The Narrative Information section:

  • Describes current and future partners and district support detailing collaborations that are strategic and beneficial to all involved parties
  • Shows several plans for sustainability integrated during and beyond the grant period to continue the investment in arts integration

The Financial Information section:

  • Itemizes a detailed three-year budget with items clearly linked to the proposed activity, shows a commitment to the project in the income section, and has appropriate matching funds and in-kind contributions (in the Project/Program Description section) that leverage the grant dollars

The Required Documents section:

  • Has a key staff list and letters of support that assure willingness to participate and support the project

Quality of Grant Proposal (10 points)
Potential for success based on a comprehensive and well-planned application that meets the Arts360 Program Goals and Requirements

The Grant Proposal:

  • Addresses the Arts360 Program Goals and Requirements
  • Answers all questions in a correct and complete manner
  • Is submitted on time

Title I Status (10 points)
Applicant is a Title I school. (All public TN schools serving PK-12 are welcome to apply, but preference is given to Title I schools in the scoring process.)

In addition to the above evaluation criteria, the advisory panel will seek a diversity of projects, locations, and educational settings across Tennessee.

Deadline & How to Apply
  1. For new applicants, contact Director of Arts Education Chris Sweatt at or 615-253-8914 to verify 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 in to 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 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

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.

  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. Key Staff List: Indicate the grade/title for each participating staff member and the number of years each staff member has been teaching. Indicate the percentage of participating staff members compared to 100% total staff. Indicate who the Arts360 Coordinator will be and why this person has been selected. Provide brief bios of all secured partnering teaching artists. Do NOT send resumes.
  3. Letters of Support: Include one letter of support each from the Director of Schools or Superintendent, the principal, a teacher, and one other community member or partner. If the community member/partner letter details the partnership, this strengthens this area of the application. Combine all letters into one document/attachment.
  4. School Profile and Accountability Data: Use the School-Profile-and-Accountability-Data-for-2020-2021 form to provide baseline data for your school including information from the 2020-2019 school year about your student population, attendance rates, minutes of weekly arts instruction, and achievement data. Data from 2019-2020 will be accepted if that is the most current available at time of application.