Creative Aging Tennessee III

The Creative Aging Tennessee III Grant for Fiscal Year 2025 provides one-time non-matching funds for nonprofit arts, senior service or community organizations, and governmental entities to support sequential arts learning for seniors aged 60+ in rural and/or culturally specific communities with the aim of improving arts skills and knowledge, well-being, and social connectedness. All teaching artists involved in the project must go through training.

Building on the successes of Creative Aging Tennessee I and II initiatives, the Tennessee Arts Commission continues to expand arts learning opportunities for older adults through its latest initiative, Creating Aging Tennessee III. This initiative will connect vital resources to under-resourced communities to provide arts programming to older adults.

Specifically, this initiative will focus on the following goals:

  • Strategically and intentionally providing resources to expand arts programming targeted to older adults in rural and culturally specific communities (i.e., Native American, African American, Kurdish, and other diverse communities). A part of this expansion is to provide opportunities for artists from these communities to be trained in sequential arts learning and to become a part of the Creative Aging Teaching Artist roster housed on the Tennessee Arts Commission’s website.
  • Increase education of all teaching artists to work with older adults with different physical and cognitive disabilities.
  • Expand communications and marketing about the arts programs offered, and partner with networks or state-wide affiliated groups including libraries, senior centers, community centers, and places of worship to make programs more accessible.
  • Increase access to and participation in sequential arts learning for older adults resulting in improved arts skills and knowledge, well-being, and social connectedness.
  • Fund grants in Creative Aging for older adult arts programming specifically targeting rural and culturally diverse communities.

The Case for Creative Aging Tennessee III

Mirroring U.S. trends, Tennessee (TN) is undergoing a major demographic shift, as older adults become a larger portion of the population and the older adult population is becoming more racially and ethnically diverse. “Between 2021 and 2031, the number of older Tennesseans age 60+ is projected to grow from 1.66 million to 1.93 million. Programs and services will be essential to address the needs of this large and rapidly growing population” according to the TN Commission on Aging and Disability’s Tennessee State Plan 2021–2025.

Participation in the arts can enhance and transform the lives of older adults to reduce social isolation and loneliness. Research shows that through the arts older adults are redefining stereotypical attitudes and perceptions about aging and increasing engagement in activities that will have a lifelong impact on their learning, engagement, and connectivity in their communities. For more information about previous work in creative aging by the Tennessee Arts Commission, visit our website at

Through the generous support of E. A. Michelson Philanthropy and the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) through its States Leading Creative Aging project, the Tennessee Arts Commission is offering Creative Aging Tennessee III as an opportunity to reach under-resourced rural and culturally specific communities to increase artist capacity in working with older adults; and to provide a one-time funding opportunity for nonprofits and governmental entities to apply for funding in this area.

Expected Outcomes

There are many types of programs that can be created to achieve the desired outcomes for this initiative.  However, for this initiative, programs will align with a learning approach rather than a health intervention model and should aspire to achieve the following outcomes:

  • Respect the high capabilities of older adults by challenging them to develop artistic skills;
  • Offer sequential arts instruction in a sustained and organized fashion (i.e., classes must run between 4-12 consecutive weeks);
  • Deepen social engagement;
  • Employ teaching artists trained to understand the effects of aging and their significance for the design and delivery of arts programs for older adults.*

*To help meet this outcome, the Tennessee Arts Commission has contracted with Lifetime Arts, a national organization that trains artists to work with older adults, to provide virtual training in the effectiveness of sequential learning and other tools of working with older adults and how to work with physical and cognitive disabilities in adults who participate in arts programs. At the conclusion of each training, artists will be invited to become part of the Tennessee Arts Commission Creative Aging Teaching Roster. For more information about the Creative Aging Teaching Roster, visit the Tennessee Arts Commission’s website.

Eligibility Requirements

Eligible organizations include local and regional government entities and nonprofit organizations legally chartered in Tennessee.   Failure to provide all nonprofit status documentation will result in the application being disqualified.

Libraries, places of worship, arts and non-arts organization, senior centers and community centers with a nonprofit status are encouraged to apply.

Applicants may request up to $5,000 for projects and this grant does not require a match.

For this grant opportunity, older adults are defined as individuals sixty (60) years old and above in age.

Unique Entity ID (UEI): All applicants are required to have a Unique Entity ID.  UEI information and application instructions can be found here.

For fiscal year 2025, funded projects must take place between July 1, 2024 and June 1, 2025 under a grant contract with the State of Tennessee, TN Arts Commission.

Any organization receiving operational support (MCI, PS, SUPS, or SRPS) through the Tennessee Arts Commission is not eligible to apply as the lead applicant but can be a provider of arts programming in rural or culturally specific communities.

Schools, colleges and universities are ineligible to serve as lead applicants, although they would be welcomed as partners.

Only one application per project will be accepted and partners cannot apply for the same project.  All Creative Aging grants will be awarded and disbursed to lead applicants only.

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.

Additional eligibility requirements and funding restrictions may apply. Please see Legal Requirements for further details.

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.

Other Important eligibility considerations:

  • The applying nonprofit must choose an artist who has completed Lifetime Arts’ Foundations training.  If the nonprofit wants an artist to do their arts programming and  has not completed this training, the TN Arts Commission will be providing this training free of charge during late August 2024.  To get the artist included in this training contact Kim Johnson, Director of Arts Access, at or 615-613-3822.  This will be the only Lifetime Arts training for FY25 for any programming conducted between July 1, 2024 – June 1, 2025.
  • The nonprofit can choose the artists they would like to do their arts programming, but the artist must go through training and a signed contract between the artists and nonprofit must exist and be uploaded into the documents section of the application.
  • Trained artists can teach classes in their culturally specific art form (i.e., the art form they know) to older adults in their community and/or to the public (i.e., outside their community). However, we hope that the trained artists will provide classes in their local community first.
  • We want these programs to occur in geographic locations close to where people live (i.e., we want the artists to be local people) and for the arts programming to be easily accessible to older adults in the surrounding community.
  • Public libraries, community centers, senior centers, and places of worship, if they have their nonprofit 501c3 status and can meet other eligibility guidelines, are encouraged to apply. These locations are also encouraged to be spaces where the arts programming can occur.
  • In some cases, the artists may want to take the lead and recruit a nonprofit to be the applicant for their services. This is acceptable but the nonprofit must be the applicant organization for grants funding.
  • The CATIII application is open to governmental entities and arts/non-arts nonprofits. Universities, colleges, and any organization receiving operational support (MCI, PS, SUPS, or SRPS)  through the Tennessee Arts Commission is not eligible to apply as the lead applicant but can be a provider of arts programming in rural or culturally specific communities.
  • The following art forms are acceptable including visual arts, craft, media, design, music, theater, dance, folk and ethnic, or literary arts. Additional examples of acceptable art forms include jewelry making, quilting, storytelling, etc.
  • Rural counties will be defined as those that are in alignment with Governor Lee’s Executive Order #1, which requires all state executive departments to provide recommendations to better serve rural counties. A list of rural counties can be found here –
  • Culturally specific communities or artists are defined as populations representing Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian, American Indian/Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander or other groups that constitute less than the state’s current majority population.
Funding Guidelines

Funding will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis until funds are expended and paid on a reimbursement basis for submitted applications that are complete. Applications will be accepted on a continual basis until funds are depleted and/or until April 1, 2025.

Individual projects may request up to $5,000 expenses in four (4) line-item categories for salaries, professional (contractual) fees for artists, consumable supplies/materials, and travel. Salaries includes staff coordination time for the program by the applying organization. Professional (contractual) fees include planning time, teaching of the art classes, and travel fees incurred by the artist. Consumable supplies include supplies/materials for participants and estimated costs for marketing that includes costs of printing and mailing of brochures, fliers, posters, etc. Travel includes travel fees incurred by staff of the grantee organization such as for their own mileage or transportation or if the organization pays for travel fees of a contracted artist directly (e.g., organization pays artist’s hotel fee directly).  For definitions of expenses, visit  Travel reimbursements must adhere to state rates (hotels, mileage, etc.) that can be found at

The teaching artist and grantee organization must have a contract that states the fees reimbursable to the artist for provided sequential classes. A copy of this contract will be required in the Documents section of the grantee application.  The Tennessee Arts Commission is not responsible for the execution of this contract.

Grant Timeline

For FY25, funded projects must take place between July 1, 2024 and June 1, 2025.  Since this is a Rolling Grant opportunity, applications will be accepted and reviewed on a continual basis until funds are depleted and/or  until April 1, 2025 in alignment with sequential learning practices.  All projects must be completed and the grant closed by June 1, 2025.

Projects for FY25 can be new projects or continuing projects that were awarded funding in FY24.  If a project was awarded funding in FY24 and wants to continue funding in FY25, applicants must re-apply. Eligible FY25 projects may occur between July 1, 2024 – June 1, 2025.

Matching, Payment, and Close-Out Requirements

This grant does not require a match.  Rolling Grants are paid on a reimbursement basis only.  No advance payments will be made.  Grantees must submit all required reporting in the Tennessee Arts Commission online grants system no later than 30 days after the ending date of the program/activity or by June 1, 2025, whichever comes first. Failure to do so may jeopardize future funding.

Review Process

A complete application is one that creates a narrative case for the grant, puts forth a reasonable budget, and demonstrates the ability of proposed program to align with the project’s outcomes and the availability of funds.

The application should demonstrate a strong plan to serve underserved rural and/or culturally specific populations and demonstrate how the project will add value to the people and/or communities it proposes to serve. The application should also be well-planned and presented with all questions answered. If Commission funding has been previously awarded, the applicant should have a past record of administrative cooperation and compliance with the Commission’s grant requirements and procedures. Creative Aging Tennessee III applications will be reviewed in-house by Commission members and staff. Funding notification will take place via email.

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.

Evaluation Criteria and Project Examples

Key requirements for successful applicants include the ability to demonstrate a project that addresses an older adult need and/or opportunity; has an effective project design; has the potential for sustainability; uses the arts to connect older adults with the communities in which they live; and the organization has people (staff or volunteers) to implement and coordinate the project.

Examples of ineligible projects include:  expansion of currently funded TN Arts Commission projects that serve older adults; projects that don’t specifically provide arts programming in or for rural and culturally specific older adults; health or wellness related programs;  for-profit organizations; start-up funding to establish nonprofit status; meal or food expenses; capital expenses/equipment; fees for out-of-state artists and performances; travel, hotel, conference, or other related expenses; and other examples as determined by TN Arts Commission staff.

These examples are illustrations and are not intended to represent all of the potential programs that could be developed and conducted for older adults especially in rural and/or culturally specific communities.  Potential program classes could include:

Creative Writing
Traditional dance or music teaching
Craft/hobbies (jewelry making, wood carving, quilt making)
Theater opportunities
Story telling
Visual Arts (painting, sculpting, etc.)

Allowable & Unallowable Expenses for this Grant

Allowable expenses include, but are not limited to:

  • honoraria for speakers, project advisors or panelists
  • artist fees for the delivery of creative aging teaching/learning programs (artist fee includes travel)
  • supplies/materials (includes consumable supplies for participants and estimated costs for marketing that includes costs of printing and mailing of brochures, fliers, posters, etc.) used in the delivery of creative aging teaching/learning programs
  • salary for staff directly involved in creative aging program development, coordination, or implementation
  • in-state travel/transportation to creative aging activity sites or trainings (use “travel” expense line)
  • space rental for art classes (use “supplies” expense line)

Unallowable activities and expenses include:

  • stand-alone performances, exhibits or activities that are not part of a sustained arts learning program (i.e., no one-time arts class or event; classes must run 4-12 consecutive weeks)
  • services designed primarily as health interventions (using art for therapeutic purposes to treat cognitive or physical diagnoses).
  • food , catering or hospitality services
  • tuition or activities for which academic credit is given
  • programs or services for children, unless intergenerational programming with older adults is the focus of the program
  • administrative expenditures, rent or overhead unrelated to the management of the project
  • deficits incurred from past activities
  • expenses incurred before the start or after the ending date of the grant period
  • technology costs related to online program design or delivery, including video conferencing platforms, web programming, site design, etc.
  • other unallowable expenses as determined by Tennessee Arts Commission
Deadline and How to Apply

Application must be received 30 days prior to the start date of the program or before.  For FY25, applications for this grant will open June 17, 2024. Grant guidelines will be available on the TN Arts Commission’s website under the name, Creative Aging Tennessee III.  To access the application, organizations, who have not previously done so, must register in the online grants system before filling out an application. Only one (1) application is allowed per organization and/or project.

Projects may begin no earlier than July 1, 2024 or 30 days after the submission date of the application.  All projects must close their grant and submit evaluations data no later than June 1, 2025.

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. Once you’ve been emailed a username and password, log in to the  Online Grants System to complete your profile and begin an application.
  3. Use the “People” link to ensure your profile 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.
  4. When the “People” profile is complete and accurate, select the “Apply for Grants” link under INFORMATION in the grey menu on the left.
  5. Scroll down the page until you see “Apply for a Rolling Grant” in a green box. Select the green box.
  6. Fill out the basic information, including “Creative Aging TN III” for Grant Category. Press the Save button. Your application will now be found in “Draft Applications link under APPLICATIONS in the grey menu on the left.
  7. Open the application by selecting it. Select the EDIT button on the top of the form. Complete all of the application fields. Save frequently.
  8. Create and upload required attachments.
  9. 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.

Required Documents in the Application:

You will be prompted to create and upload the following documents in the Required Documents section of your application in the Online Grants System:

  • Corporation Annual Report: Only nonprofit organizations with 501(c)3 status will be prompted to upload this document (as required to be filed annually with the Secretary of State’s Office). In lieu of the report, 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. Entities of government do NOT submit.
  • List of Board of Directors. Only nonprofit organizations with 501(c)3 status will be prompted to 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)
  • One pager with the artists’ name, contact information (email, phone, and mailing address), art form (i.e., type of art), and bio.
  • Curriculum or Lesson plans which outline the sequential learning series (include arts
    program/project topic; brief description of the arts learning series, program, or
    classes; how long the classes will last; the teaching artist being used; and how many
    older adults can participate in the classes). A draft is acceptable for the application.
  • Signed or draft copy of the contract between the teaching artist and applying organization.

Required Documents in the Organization Profile:

You will be required to upload these documents in the system, but these Optional Documents may be required based on your organizational status.

  • Bylaws: Only nonprofit organizations with 501(c)3 status will be prompted to upload this document. Upload the most recent copy of the Bylaws of the organization in the Organization Profile.  If you have filled out your organization profile, copies of your By-Laws should automatically upload in the application under “Organization Documents.
  • W-9 Form (if this application is the organization’s first application submittal) – new W9 Form
  • FY25 Title VI training information
    Organizations that receive grant funding from the Tennessee Arts Commission must complete Title VI training certification in the Online Grants System on or after July 1, 2024 and before payment will be distributed. If your agency has already completed the training in the TN Arts Commission’s online grant system for the FY25 fiscal year, it is not necessary to repeat the training. Failure to complete this training may result in the cancellation of your grant. For more information on the FY25 Title VI training requirements, visit the TN Arts Commission’s Title VI information page here.

Additional requirements needed if awarded a grant
This initiative requires that each grantee will participate in the evaluations process which will involve an assessment done by an independent evaluator and agreement to photograph and videotape segments of the funded program.  Participants in the classes will be offered a photo/video consent form to allow for their images to be used.

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 TN Arts 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 TN Arts Commission and its contracting agencies.  If an individual believes he or she has been subjected to discrimination, he/she should contact the TN Arts Commission’s Director of Arts Access, Kim Johnson, at 615-532-9797 or

Questions or more information

Contact the Tennessee Arts Commission’s Director of Arts Access, Kim Johnson, at 615-532-9797 or

This activity is made possible by a grant provided by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies in partnership with E.A. Michelson Philanthropy.