19 TN Arts Organizations Receive NEA Grants Totaling $1.5M

From National Endowment for the Arts –

Photos from clockwise from top left: Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center’s New Mainers on Stage, photo by Firdaws Hakizimana; Neomuralismos de Mexico alejibres workshop, photo by Aaron Johnson-Ortiz for Neomuralismos de Mexico; Detroit Excellence in Youth Arts (DEYA) Youth Stage at Detroit’s Concert of Colors, photo courtesy of DEYA; Living Streets Alliance volunteers, photo by Ernesto Raul Aguilar

The National Endowment for the Arts announced 19 Tennessee arts organizations in each of Tennessee’s three grand divisions are receiving a total of $1,495,250 in grants. The recipients are: ArtsBuild, Big Ears Festival, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley, Hattiloo Theatre, Indie Memphis, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Inc. (aka The Brooks), National Ornamental Metal Museum (aka Metal Museum), New Ballet Ensemble (aka New Ballet or NBE), Orpheum Theatre Group, Mid-South Sculpture Alliance, Rutherford Arts Alliance, Actors Bridge Ensemble Theater of Nashville, Inc., Girls Write Nashville, Humanities Tennessee, Nashville Opera Association, New Dialect, Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America (aka The Barbershop Harmony Society), Tennessee Arts Commission, and Vanderbilt University.

The National Endowment for the Arts announced more than $110 million in recommended grants in all 50 states and U.S. jurisdictions. These grants fall under three NEA funding categories: Grants for Arts Projects, Our Town, and State and Regional Partnerships. “These projects exemplify the creativity and care with which communities are telling their stories, creating connection, and responding to challenges and opportunities in their communities—all through the arts,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD.

“These projects exemplify the creativity and care with which communities are telling their stories, creating connection, and responding to challenges and opportunities in their communities—all through the arts,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD. “So many aspects of our communities such as cultural vitality, health and well-being, infrastructure, and the economy are advanced and improved through investments in art and design, and this funding at the local, state, and regional levels demonstrates the National Endowment for the Arts’ commitment to ensuring people across the country benefit.”

As part of the application review process, the NEA works with panelists with relevant knowledge and experience who reviewed the applications and rated them in accordance with published review criteria. Recommendations were then presented to the National Council on the Arts. The council made its recommendations to the NEA Chair, who then made the final decision on all grant awards. Learn more about the grant review process or volunteer to be a panelist.

Grants for Arts Projects

Grants for Arts Projects (GAP) provides expansive funding opportunities to strengthen the nation’s arts and cultural ecosystem. It is the National Endowment for the Arts’ largest grants program for organizations, with matching grants ranging from $10,000 to $100,000. Designated local arts agencies eligible to subgrant may request from $30,000 to $150,000 for subgranting programs. In July 2023, the NEA received 2,129 eligible applications requesting more than $111 million in FY24 support. Following a competitive application review process, 1,135 projects are approved for funding in this round, including to first-time applicants, totaling more than $37 million in 48 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.

Grants for Arts Projects supports an expansive range of projects of varying sizes and scope across artistic disciplines with a focus on agency priorities: opportunities for public engagement with the arts and arts education, the integration of the arts with strategies that promote the health and well-being of people and communities, and the improvement of overall capacity and capabilities within the arts sector, including the efforts of nationwide and field-specific service organizations.

Significant investments in these key areas include the following examples:

  • An award to Arts Center of the Capital Region in Troy, New York, of $60,000 to support a grant program for individual artists in all artistic disciplines who work or live within a 100-mile radius of Troy. Grant award recipients will be selected through a competitive review process with a focus on funding underserved artists, including emerging, Indigenous, and rural artists.
  • An award to Connect Detroit in Detroit, Michigan, of $75,000 to support Detroit Excellence in Youth Arts (DEYA), an emerging collective impact initiative to develop a citywide arts education plan. In partnership with Detroit Public Schools, the initiative builds on a youth arts community assessment that identified what is needed to improve access to arts education for students in Detroit.
  • An award to Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center in Portland, Maine, of $25,000 to support New Mainers On Stage, a monthly traditional arts performance from an immigrant community in Maine. Local and regional professional artists will represent immigrant communities from Afghanistan, Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Ukraine, among other countries.
  • An award to the International Association of Art Critics, American Section in Weehawken, New Jersey, of $12,000 to support the Art Writing Fellowship, which will support emerging arts writers by pairing fellows (selected through an open call) with experienced mentors to develop works for publication on the IAAC-USA online magazine.
  • An award to Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi, of $25,000 to support the week-long S.O.S. (Summer Opera/South) Boot Camp, an opera training workshop for undergraduate and graduate students. The camp will be hosted by the Jackson State University Department of Music, home of the Opera/South Company, in collaboration with participating historically Black colleges and universities.
  • An award to the Madison Symphony Orchestra in Madison, Wisconsin, of $15,000 to support HeartStrings, a music therapy project. The orchestra’s Rhapsodie String Quartet, with training by and participation of certified music therapists, will offer residency programs and perform interactive recitals for individuals with disabilities and other underserved communities.
  • An award to the Writers League of Texas in Austin, Texas, of $10,000 to support author visits to K-12 public schools and public libraries in rural communities across the state. The program will focus on serving rural areas where school and library resources are often not available for this type of programming.

The next deadline for organizations interested in applying for Grants for Arts Projects is Thursday, July 11, 2024. Each discipline has identified the types of projects that are of greatest interest within this program as well as the characteristics of competitive proposals that provide the greatest opportunities for federal support to strengthen the arts ecosystem. Visit for guidelines and application resources, including a recording of the Grants for Arts Projects guidelines webinar.

Our Town

Our Town is the NEA’s creative placemaking grants program, supporting projects that integrate arts, culture, and design into local efforts that strengthen communities over the long term. Matching grants in this category range from $25,000 to $150,000. Of the 263 eligible applications, 68 projects are approved for funding totaling $5 million in 34 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.

Our Town funding requires a partnership between a nonprofit organization and a local government entity, with one of the partners being a cultural organization. Projects advance local economic, physical, or social outcomes in communities, are responsive to unique local conditions, authentically engage communities, center equity, advance artful lives, and lay the groundwork for long-term systems change.

Examples of recommended projects include:

  • An award to Chilkoot Indian Association in Haines, Alaska, of $75,000 to support community gatherings and co-created public art to heal generational trauma in the Tlingit community. The Chilkoot Indian Association and Alaska Indian Arts, with support from a wide range of local partners, will host monthly multi-generational gatherings that combine conversation, storytelling, and traditional Alaska Native arts training. The project will offer a forum for cross-generational healing as well as Native arts skill-building among younger community members, making traditional arts and arts businesses more visible in Haines.
  • An award to Living Streets Alliance in Tucson, Arizona, of $90,000 to support a series of traffic-calming interventions and community activities in Tucson. Living Streets Alliance will work in partnership with the City of Tucson Department of Transportation and Mobility, Tucson Housing and Community Development, and local arts organizations to address traffic safety needs. Artists will be trained to facilitate activities such as mural and traffic calming street painting projects and civic artist capacity-building workshops. Living Street Alliance will also present a series of “cyclovias” or closed streets events featuring community arts activities.
  • An award to Neomuralismos de Mexico in St. Paul, Minnesota, of $30,000 to support a communitywide public art project featuring alebrijes, brightly colored fantastical creatures, often featuring a combination of different animals, that are a form of traditional Mexican folk art. Neomuralismos de Mexico, in partnership with the City of St. Paul Department of Parks and Recreation, will bring together community members and Latino artists to conduct workshops and create a large-scale public art exhibition of alebrijes.
  • An award to Rebuild Bay County in Panama City, Florida, of $75,000 to support a community archiving project that will preserve local culture and rebuild cultural assets in Bay County, Florida, in response to 2018’s Hurricane Michael, which exacerbated decades of disinvestment in the formally segregated and largely industrial area. Rebuild Bay County, the City of Panama City, and other partners will co-launch a community archiving project to include artist-facilitated community asset mapping, intergenerational memory preservation, a curated exhibition, temporary art installations, live performances, and teaching artist workshops.

The next deadline for organizations interested in applying for Our Town is Thursday, August 1, 2024. Visit for guidelines and application resources.

State and Regional Partnerships

Each year, approximately 40 percent of the NEA’s appropriated program funds are awarded to state arts agencies, regional arts organizations, and the national service organization to support the work of the states and regions. In total, up to $68.1 million is recommended for these partners in FY 2024.

State and Regional Partnership Agreement grants extend the NEA’s reach to even more communities, reflecting investments in locally-determined priorities, and translate national leadership into local benefit. To learn more about how the National Endowment for the Arts is impacting individual states and regions of the country, select a state or territory on the state impact page or visit the regional map.