Local Arts Agencies in TN Offer Relief Funds

Local and regional arts councils in Tennessee are putting together relief services to aid artists. Here are four opportunities for Chattanooga, Knoxville, Nashville and Memphis:

ArtsBuild in Chattanooga has established an Artist Emergency Fund to help self-employed artists of all arts disciplines in Hamilton County recover from lost income due to the cancellation of a specific scheduled gig or opportunity (such as a commission, performance, contract, etc.) due to Coronavirus/COVID-19 precautionary measures. Artists can request up to $500 to compensate for work that was scheduled and lost.

Since being announced, the ArtsBuild Artist Emergency Fund has received 85 applications from local artists and continues to receive new applications each day. Currently, the total request for funds is $34,612, with most applicants requesting the maximum $500 allowance because of multiple gig cancelations.

As of April 1, ArtsBuild has awarded funds to 57 applicants and anticipates funding at least an additional 25 applicants this week. ArtsBuild has received notes of appreciation from many artists:

Thank you all very much for this grant assistance. I’m so proud to see ArtsBuild offer this help for artists in our city. This is no doubt a very tough time for all of us and I sincerely appreciate your continued support and helping pave a way forward for creativity in Chattanooga!
– Matt

Words fall short to express the gratitude I am feeling. In my case, your generosity is truly helping me get through this challenging time. You have helped me keep the lights and water on, and put food on the table for us.
– Dana

This is such great and helpful news!…at this moment, really life-changing, thank you so much!
– John

Just wanted to send a quick thank you note as I received my funding from the Artists Emergency Fund yesterday. Thank you so much for your quick work in helping artists. I can’t tell you what a relief the financial support is, but also how encouraging it is to feel cared for by organizations like ArtsBuild.
– Caroline

The Artist Emergency Fund is supported by Benwood Foundation, Lyndhurst Foundation, and the Footprint Foundation. The band, Strung Like a Horse, raised money for the fund through a free live stream quarantine and charity concert which was broadcast from Songbirds on March 21, 2020. All donations to that event above and beyond the cost of the show were given to ArtsBuild for the Artist Emergency Fund.  ArtsBuild is accepting tax-deductible donations as well, to go directly towards this special fund. Go to to donate and to apply.

Greater Knoxville’s GRACE Fund was created by the Arts & Culture Alliance as a confidential resource for local arts and culture workers who need financial assistance to meet basic needs.

All GRACE donations are 100% tax-deductible and usually come from organizations and artists in the local arts and culture community who want to express their gratitude and support to their fellow artists, historians, and administrators in their time of need. All donations will be distributed to qualified applicants and may not be designated for a specific person.

Any individual resident of Greater Knoxville who has worked at least two of the last five years (professionally or vocationally) in the local arts and culture community OR who has been an active participant in the local arts and culture community, regardless of the income derived from work in the arts and culture field, is eligible to apply for up to $2,000 at one time from the program.

An individual may submit a GRACE application every six months: APPLICATION (pdf).

The Arts & Culture Alliance aims to be able to respond with award notifications within two weeks of application submission.

ArtsMemphis has been designated a beneficiary of $25,000 from the Mid-South COVID-19 Regional Response Fund by the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis. Their staff, who has worked virtually around the clock to remain a resource to our arts community in this time of extreme need, has quickly compounded $25,000 into $50,000 thanks to a matching gift from the Assisi Foundation.

They will immediately redirect these funds to provide flexible funding to individual artists who are most impacted by novel coronavirus and the economic consequences of the pandemic in their region.

ArtsMemphis will allocate a total of $50,000 to support recovery from lost income due to canceled events, job layoffs, or furlough. They are now accepting applications from self-employed artists of all arts disciplines as well as artists employed/contracted by nonprofit arts and culture organizations in Shelby County.

Metro Arts in Nashville launched THRIVE funds to create projects that connect, support and uplift the community while adhering to social distancing and safer-at-home guidelines.

THRIVE funds artists and community organizations or businesses for arts projects in neighborhoods. Individual artists or artist teams, businesses and organizations are eligible for funding. You must be located in Nashville/Davidson County and must be at least 18 years of age.

Learn more at