Creative Aging Tennessee II

The Creative Aging Tennessee II Grant for Fiscal Year 2023 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+ with the aim of reducing social isolation and loneliness and increasing creativity and artistic techniques. All projects must be implemented by teaching artists on the new TN Creative Aging Teaching Roster.

The Creative Aging Tennessee II Grant application is now closed in FY23. These grant guidelines are for reference only.

The Case for Creative Aging

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. The number of Tennesseans ages 60 and older, currently at 16% of the state’s population, is projected to grow from an estimated 1,574,911 in 2017 to over 1,787,000 in 2021 according to the TN Commission on Aging and Disability’s Tennessee State Plan 2017–2021.

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 the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) in partnership with E. A. Michelson Philanthropy, the Tennessee Arts Commission is offering a one-time funding opportunity for nonprofits and governmental entities to apply for grants under this next initiative, Creative Aging Tennessee II, to address some of the key needs of older adults in Tennessee.

Expected Outcomes

There are many types of programs that can be created to achieve these desired outcomes but for this initiative, an emphasis is placed on programs that equip artists, arts organizations, and other service providers to:

  • Respect the high capabilities of older adults by challenging them to develop their artistic skills and creative techniques
  • Offer sequential arts instruction that allows participants to broaden or deepen their creative practices in a sustained and organized fashion
  • Deepen community or social engagement
  • Employ teaching artists trained to understand the effects of aging and their significance for the design and delivery of arts programs that meet the specific needs of this population*

*To expand the capacity and knowledge of individual artists and staff at nonprofit organizations/government entities in the state to learn how to effectively work with older adults in arts programming, the Tennessee Arts Commission 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. As a result, 36 artists and nonprofits were trained and are now a part of the Creative Aging TN II Teaching Artist Roster.  For more information about the Creative Aging Teaching Roster, visit the Tennessee Arts Commission’s website.

Funding Guidelines

Funding will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis by geographic location until funds are expended and paid on a reimbursement basis for submitted applications that are complete. 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. This grant is subject to the availability of funds by geographic location.

Total funding for this project equals $75,000. Individual projects may request up to $3,000 for contractual fees for artists and supplies. Standard pay for teaching artists to deliver a series of sequential hour-long arts classes is $2500. To ensure dollars are allocated across geographic areas, each of the geographic areas listed below will have a maximum amount of dollars for allocation:

  • East up to $18,750
  • Middle up to $18,750
  • West up to $18,750
  • Rural up to $18,750*

*In alignment with Governor Lee’s Executive Order #1, which requires all state executive departments to provide recommendations to better serve rural counties, grants from rural counties will receive funds from the Grand Division allocation until funds are depleted, then grants from rural counties will receive funds from the distinct allocation for rural counties.

Grant Timeline

Funded projects must take place during Fiscal Year 2023 between July 1, 2022 and August 15, 2022.

Matching, Payment, and Close-Out Requirements

This grant does not require a match.  Rolling Grants, like this one, 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 August 30, 2022. Failure to do so may jeopardize future funding.

Review Process

Applications are reviewed in-house by Commission members and staff.  Funding notification will take place via email.

Eligibility Requirements

Organizations eligible to apply if the organization meets one of the following qualifications:

  • The applicant is a nonprofit organization legally chartered in Tennessee and in possession of a determination letter from the Internal Revenue Service declaring the organization exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; or
  • The organization is an entity of local government or regional governmental entity (development district, human resource agency, etc.) located in Tennessee.

Additionally, the applicant must use at least one (1) artist(s) from the Creative Aging Teaching Roster to provide sequential learning methodologies for older adults.  Funds may not be used to pay non-roster artists. Applications that do not meet this criterion will not be considered for review.

Schools, colleges, and universities are ineligible to serve as lead applicants.

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.

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

Funded projects must take place between July 1, 2022 and August 15, 2022 under a grant contract with the State of Tennessee, Tennessee Arts Commission.

The Tennessee 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 Tennessee Arts Commission.

Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) requirement. All organizational applicants are required to have a UEI. More information about this requirement and how to retrieve your organization’s UEI can be found here.

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.

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.

Project Details

Ineligible projects for the Creative Aging Grant category include operating support for arts organizations or currently funded arts programming, marketing and promotional materials, and standard Tennessee Arts Commission funding restrictions. See more details at Tennessee Arts Commission Legal Requirements.

Examples of ineligible projects include: expansion of currently funded Tennessee Arts Commission projects that serve older adults; for-profit organizations; start-up funding to establish nonprofit status; meals, food, or transportation 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 Tennessee Arts Commission staff.

Allowable Expenses include:

  • Fees for artists and/or organizations on the Creative Aging Teaching Roster
  • Consumable supplies related to the project
  • In-state travel for Roster artists and/or organization representatives

Unallowable activities and expenses include:

  • Any project that does not include a series of sequential arts learning classes for adults aged 60 and older provided by a Creative Aging Teaching Artist roster artist
  • Stand-alone performances, exhibits or activities that are not part of a sustained arts learning program
  • Services designed primarily as health interventions (using art for therapeutic purposes to treat cognitive or physical diagnoses)
  • Tuition or activities for which academic credit is given
  • Program or services for children, unless intergenerational programming with older adults if a focus of the program
  • Programs or services intended for private use
  • Rent or general administrative overhead/expenses unrelated to the proposed project
  • Deficits incurred from past activities
  • Expenses incurred before the start or after the ending date of the grant period
  • Capital or fixed equipment expenses
  • Other unallowable expenses can be determined by the Tennessee Arts Commission
Evaluation Criteria

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 or purpose of this grant program. Applications that can achieve the desired outcomes (as listed above) and can demonstrate a compelling opportunity or need for older adults in their communities by using the criteria below, may increase the overall chance of being funded.

Funding will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis by geographic areas until funds are expended and paid on a reimbursement basis for submitted applications that are complete.  A complete application is one that creates a narrative case for the grant, a reasonably accurate application, puts forth a reasonable budget, and demonstrates the ability of proposed program to align with the project’s outcomes and the availability of funds.  And demonstrates the following criteria:

  • Creative Aging Opportunity
    – The proposed program fulfills a compelling need or interest to serve older adults.
    – The proposed program is able to articulate its role in making a difference in its community.
    – The proposed program starts or strengthens a foundation for future creative aging efforts.
    – The applicant can document experience in serving older adults and/or articulate a clear, feasible plan to engage older adults in sequential arts learning program.
  • Quality of Program Design
    – The proposed program will expand the quality and/availability of arts programs that benefit older adults.
    – The proposed program is seeking partnerships and collaborations that will expand expertise or opportunities to serve older adults through the arts.
    – Teaching artist who is a part of the Creative Aging Teaching Roster is used as provider of the program.
  • Community Inclusion
    – The proposed program has taken into account how systemic issues like ageism, racism and poverty affect older adults.
    – Intentional efforts will be made to ensure diversity among all project participants, including audience, artists, collaborators, supporters, etc.
  • Feasibility
    – The proposed program defines clear roles, responsibilities and contributions.
    – The proposed program reflects a realistic timeline.
    – The proposed program reflects alignment between proposed activities and budgeted- Artists will be compensated fairly for their time.
    – Application evidences overall readiness to take on a project of the proposed scope.
Deadline and How to Apply

Applications for this grant will open June 1, 2022 and will be due at least 30 days prior to the Activity Start Date. Prior to applying, organizations, who have not previously done so, must register in the online grants system before filling out an application.  Instructions for registration and access to the online grants system are available on the Tennessee Arts Commission’s website.  Only one (1) application is allowed per organization and/or project.

Projects may begin no earlier than July 1, 2022 or 30 days after the submission date of the application and must be completed no later than August 15, 2022.

How to Apply:

  1. Register to use the Online Grants System. If you are a new organization applying for this funding at the Tennessee Arts Commission, 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. If you are an existing organization applying for funding, please make sure your current “organization” profile is up to date.
  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 II” 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 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.

Documents needed for application:

Documents required to be uploaded in the “Required Documents” section of your application:

1. List of Board of Directors. Only nonprofit organizations with 501(c)3 status will be prompted to upload this document. The board list (at the time of application) must include the following:

    • Full Name
    • Email address
    • Number of years on the board
    • Length of term(s)

NOTE: Other biographical information about individual board members should not be
included on this list. 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.

2. Corporation Annual Report (nonprofit organizations only)

3. Example of evaluation tool(s)*

4. 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).

Documents required to be uploaded in “Organization” profile under “Documents:

1. FY23 Title VI training and certification form.  If awarded a grant, the Tennessee Arts Commission’s FY23 Title VI training will be available upon award and funds will be held until Title VI training requirements are met (required of both nonprofit and governmental entities).

2. 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.

Additional requirements needed if awarded a grant:

1. Evaluation Tool – A grant awardee may design and use its own evaluation tool, but this grant requires additional reporting requirements. These requirements may be a part of the awardee’s evaluation tool and/or may be kept separately, but these records must be available when requested:
– Total number of older adults reached (either virtually or in-person)
– Total number of instructional hours for older adults
– Total number of teaching artists used and their compensation
– Write up of qualitative stories about participants’ involvement with the program

2. Marketing Outreach – Provide examples of the marketing used to promote the program to older adults (newspaper, social media, posters, etc.). The Tennessee Arts Commission’s logo must be used on these materials.

3. Lesson plans developed for the project for potential inclusion in the TN Arts Commission’s online Lesson Plan Database.

4. Pictures of participants engaged in the program – Periodically, the TN Arts Commission will request pictures to be sent in for various purposes. Funded programs must ensure that permission/photo release forms are on file at their agency from people in the picture.


All Tennessee 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 Tennessee Arts Commission and its contracting agencies.  If an individual believes he or she has been subjected to discrimination, he/she should contact the Tennessee 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.