Tennessee Nonprofit Arts & Culture Recovery Fund Grant

Federal support to address documented pandemic-related economic harm to TN arts nonprofits that have a track record of federal grants administration in the TN Arts Commission online grants system.

This grant category offers a one-time opportunity for Tennessee arts nonprofits to address documented negative economic impacts of the COVID-19 public health emergency.* Funding comes from the U.S. Treasury Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund award to the State of Tennessee under the Interim Final Rule at 31 CFR Part 35 published May 17, 2021 and is governed by other state and federal accounting, audit and regulatory requirements. Funds allocated to the Tennessee Arts Commission, through the Tennessee Resiliency Plan, represent a significant commitment and a recognition of the value of the arts and culture sector to the state’s economy and recovery by the Governor, State of Tennessee, and the Financial Stimulus Accountability Group.

The purpose of the fund is to support pandemic recovery of TN nonprofit arts organizations so they may again offer arts programs and services that increase access to the arts, contribute to local economies and result in improved overall quality of life for Tennesseans.  

Click on the list of eligible TN arts nonprofits and arts organizations operating within a municipal or county government with a track record of federal grants administration in the Arts Commission online grants system. Any TN arts nonprofit not on this list that has suffered pandemic loss and can show a track record of federal grants administration in the TN Arts Commission system should contact ann.brown@tn.gov.

*On March 12, 2020, Governor Lee declared a state of emergency in TN to facilitate the response to COVID-19 by Governor’s Executive Order 14. For purposes of this program, the terms “COVID-19 public health emergency” and “pandemic” are used interchangeably. 


Funding amounts for eligible applicants will be proportional to documented pandemic-related loss, not to exceed $5 million for any single applicant over the three-year period ending June 30, 2024. Pandemic-related loss will be based on IRS 990 form reported total revenue for a base pre-pandemic year and total actual revenues for subsequent periods. No federal pandemic relief funding may be included in the base year figure. Eligible applicants not required to file an IRS 990 form will provide a notarized annual profit and loss statement. Visit Job Aid for Pandemic Loss Calculation.

Eligible Expenses

These ARP Act funds are intended to support day-to-day business expenses/operating costs incurred since July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2024, including salary and benefits, contracts, facilities cost such as rent and utilities, costs associated with health and safety supplies for staff and/or visitors/audiences, and marketing and promotional costs. Expenses covered under other current TN Arts Commission grants to the grantee organization are not eligible. Grantees will be required to document all expenses and verify that the expenses are separate and distinct from other reported grant and match expenditures for other TN Arts Commission grants. This is a reimbursement grant; however, grantees may request an advance of up to 40% of the fiscal year grant amount or up to $100,000, whichever is less, on an annual basis.

Allowable Activities

Proposed arts programs and services must address pandemic-related harm and involve one or more Commission recognized art forms including: visual arts, craft, media, design, music, theater, dance, folk and traditional, or literary arts. Most of the following are example activities and expenditures that are consistent with the funding philosophy for other TN Arts Commission grant programs and may also include additional exceptions: 

  • A reasonably proportionate share of the costs of audits required by, and performed in accordance with, the Single Audit Act Amendments of 1996 (31 U.S.C. 7501–7507), as implemented by requirements of this part, are allowable.
  • Activities that involve and promote professional artists, especially Tennessee artists 
  • Visiting artists conducting master classes
  • Workshops, festivals, and conferences
  • Public performances, productions, and exhibitions produced by the applicant
  • Exhibitions of art by professional and folk artists, especially Tennessee artists
  • Activities involving and promoting folk and traditional artists
  • Promotion, publicity, and newsletters 
  • Administrative and artistic staff support 
  • Research and documentation as part of an arts activity or program development 
  • Consultancies and residencies for administrative and artistic activities 
  • The development of long-range planning documents
  • Improved program accessibility for underserved constituencies, e.g. children, people living in rural communities or isolated settings, people living with disabilities, people of color, and senior citizens
  • Art in public places
  • Extensions of literary initiatives, journals with continuing publication, or juried anthologies
  • Apprenticeship programs
  • Computer software/training
  • Technical/production support
  • Technical assistance activities
  • Touring/presenting activities that bring professional and/or traditional folk performers to communities across the state
  • Office, performance, studio space rental
  • Janitorial service and general physical plant maintenance
  • Permanent equipment purchases

Unallowable Activities

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

The following are examples of activities and expenditures not allowable for ARP funds. For further information see Funding Restrictions on Legal Requirements. 

  • Insurance premiums 
  • Endowments 
  • Food and hospitality 
  • Scholarships 
  • Payment of accumulated deficits 
  • Capital improvements 
  • Vanity publications 
  • Out-of-state travel 
  • Scholarly arts-related research and writing 
  • Cash awards 
  • Purchase of local public art 
  • Legal fees 
  • Planned fundraising activities 
  • Events to which the public is not invited 
  • Payments to members of the organization’s board 
  • Payments to an employee or official of the State of Tennessee 
  • Any costs of auditing a non-Federal entity that is exempted from having an audit conducted under the Single Audit Act and subpart F of this part because its expenditures under Federal awards are less than $750,000 during the non-Federal entity’s fiscal year are unallowable.

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

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.

Single Audit Requirement

Grantee organizations that expend more than $750,000 in state and/or federal funds will be subject to an audit under the Single Audit Act and its implementing regulation at 2 CFR Part 200, subpart F and state requirements of the Tennessee Office of the Comptroller. These audit requirements are more specific than the usual audit routinely performed for operating support grantees of the Tennessee Arts Commission. ARP grant funds are allowable for audit costs. Visit Job Aid for Understanding Grant Audit Requirements.

Applicant Eligibility

A preliminary list of Eligible Arts Organizations including TN arts nonprofits and arts organizations operating within a municipal or county government with a track record of federal grants administration in the Arts Commission online grants system is here. Any TN arts nonprofit not on this list that has suffered pandemic loss and can show a track record of federal grants administration in the TN Arts Commission system should contact ann.brown@tn.gov. For more information about what is considered an arts organization, see the definition of an arts organization. 

Applicant organizations must be chartered in Tennessee. National or regional 501(c)3 organizations, chartered in Tennessee, and serving as an umbrella organization applying for funds for another group are restricted to one application only per fiscal year (see below). All Nonprofit, 501(c)3 applicants must upload the most recent copy of their by-laws. All Nonprofit, 501(c)3 applicants must upload these to their organization profile in the TN Arts online grants management system prior to submitting their application. 

Unique Entity ID (UEI): In FY2022, all applicants are required to have a Unique Entity ID. Information and application instructions can be found here. 

Unique Entity ID (UEI): In April 2022, the federal government will transition away from the use of the DUNS and toward the new Unique Entity ID as the primary means of entity identification for federal awards government-wide. While not required to submit an application, the UEI will be required prior to receiving a grant award. To register your organization or get a Unique Entity ID, go to the SAM website SAM.gov | Entity Registrations and click on the green Get Started button on the right side of the page. 

SAM.gov Requirements: All eligible recipients are also required to have an active registration with the System for Award Management (SAM) (https://www.sam.gov). To ensure timely receipt of funding, Treasury has stated that Non-entitlement Units of Government (NEUs) who have not previously registered with SAM.gov may do so after receipt of the award, but before the submission of mandatory reporting.

Debarment and Suspension: Each grantee is required to sign a contract 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. 

New Specialty Earmarked Plate: Arts organizations that receive revenue directly from a “New Specialty Earmarked Plate” under T.C.A 55-4-215 (a) (1) are ineligible for Commission grant funding.


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 he or she has been subjected to discrimination, he/she should contact the Commission’s Director of Arts Access, Kim Johnson (615) 532-9797.

Review and Award Process

Applications for the TN Nonprofit Arts and Culture Recovery Fund will be reviewed in-house by TN Arts Commission staff. Funding amount determinations include award proportional to pandemic-related documented loss, proportional to applicant annual budget, and consideration of demand by eligible TN nonprofit arts organizations. Organizations may document ongoing losses and apply for additional funds in Fiscal Years 2023 and 2024 (Period 2 and Period 3 Losses). The maximum award will not exceed $5 million over three years. The first round of award notifications will be made in late February 2022, contracts sent in March 2022, and first draw down of funds in April 2022.

Deadline and 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 into the Online Grants System to complete or update your “Organization” profile and begin an application for Tennessee Nonprofit Arts and Culture Recovery Fund Grant. 
  3. Use the “Organizations” tab on the left-hand menu to ensure that the profile is complete, accurate and updated. 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, accurate and updated. 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, accurate and updated, select the “Apply for Grants” tab again and choose the TN Nonprofit Arts and Culture Recovery Fund application link. 
  6. Complete all application fields. 
  7. Create and upload required attachments. 
  8. Submit by Friday, February 4, 2022, 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 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

If applicable, upload the following documents in the Required Documents section of your Tennessee Nonprofit Arts and Culture Recovery Fund Application in the Online Grants System. 

1. Financial Documentation of Pandemic-Related Loss: All applicants must upload Financial Documentation of Pandemic-Related Loss. 

    1. Pre-Pandemic Annual Revenue – IRS Form 990/Notarized P&L Statement. Upload the IRS 990 form for the most recent year that reflects pre-pandemic annual revenues for your organization. If not required to file an IRS 990 form, upload a notarized annual profit and loss statement that reflects pre-pandemic annual revenues for your organization. 
    2. Pandemic Revenue Report – March 2020-November 2021. Upload a report from your organization’s financial records that shows revenues for the pandemic period March 1, 2020 through November 30, 2021 OR IRS form 990 that reflects annual pandemic loss. 

2. Arts Programs and Services Timeline: All applicants must upload a timeline in the Documents section for single or multi-year arts programs and services outlining deliverables. 

3. 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. 

4. 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. 

Additional Document 

You will NOT be prompted to upload this document in the system, but this document may be required based on your applicant type. 

Bylaws: Only nonprofit organizations with 501(c)3 status need to upload this document. Upload the most recent copy of the organization’s Bylaws into the “Organization” profile where prompted, not into the grant application.

If Awarded Funds

Reporting: If awarded, you will be expected to submit Request for Funds forms and an Annual Evaluation, among other requirements, to receive funds.

Credit: All notices, informational pamphlets, press releases, research reports, signs, and similar public notices prepared and released by the Grantee shall include the Tennessee Arts Commission logo image supplied by the State. Guidelines for proper usage of the Commission logo can be found here.

Any publications produced with funds from this grant must display the following language: “This project [is being] [was] supported, in whole or in part, by federal award number SLFRP5534 awarded to the State of Tennessee by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.”

Match: This grant does not require a match.

Program Income: If awarded, grantees may be expected to calculate, document, and record program income earned through arts activities and services funded through this grant. Further guidance on program income requirements is available as of 2/28/22. See the Job Aid on How to Budget and Account for Program Income for Recovery Fund Grants.


For questions on eligibility, contact ann.brown@tn.gov 

For questions on how to apply, contact the program director assigned to your organization. Please note that the program director assigned to your organization for the TN Nonprofit Arts and Culture Recovery Fund may not be the same Commission staff member with whom you typically work. For the program director assigned to your organization, visit the list of Eligible Arts Organizations with Program Director Assignments.

Contact information for program directors is available on the staff directory.