Over $12 million awarded in Tennessee Arts Commission Grants Across Tennessee

From Anne B. Pope, Executive Director – 

The Tennessee Arts Commission has awarded approximately 540 Fiscal Year 2025 Annual Grants totaling up to $12 million dollars. These grants support a wide range of arts and cultural activities for arts organizations, schools, local governments, nonprofits, and artists across Tennessee. 

The Tennessee Arts Commission received the highest demand for FY2025 Annual Grants in agency history. There was an unprecedented $24M in FY25 Annual Grant requests compared to $14M in FY24 Annual Grant requests. Additionally, the agency received over 550 FY25 Annual Grant applications compared to 450 Annual Grant applications in FY24, which is 100+ more or a 23% increase in the number of applications submitted. Of the approximately 370 distinct organizations submitting applications, over 50 of these organizations were first-time Annual Grant applicants. Therefore, the high demand also includes a larger pool of unique organizations.  

The Commission is committed to ensuring every one of Tennessee’s 95 counties receives grant funding, a tradition upheld since 2014. It’s important to note that these grants are distinct from separate, one-time pandemic relief programs like the TN Nonprofit Arts & Culture Recovery Fund. 

Impact Across the State 

Last year’s grants supported hundreds of nonprofits, allowing them to benefit their communities. Schools used the funds to enrich student experiences with arts and culture, while local and regional governments were able to carry out various arts initiatives. 

Grant Programs 

Annual Grants provide funds for operating support for small to large arts organizations; project support for arts projects in rural and urban counties; and a variety of arts learning projects, such as professional development for teachers, arts education in communities, and programming for children in grades PK-12. 

“As Chair of the Tennessee Arts Commission, we’re excited to award these annual grants. They fuel the arts in our communities and schools, enriching lives, boosting our economy, attracting visitors, and nurturing well-rounded students. It’s an investment in all of us,” said Tennessee Arts Commission Chair Steve Bailey. 

Rigorous Review 

The agency’s allocations process involves a review by citizen advisory panels with expertise in arts disciplines and an approval by the Commission. Annual Grant review panels were held throughout the months of March and April, providing ratings and rankings of grant applications. Panels were divided into different categories such as Arts Education, Arts Access, Community Arts, Folk Arts, Literary Arts, Visual Arts, Music, Dance, Theater, Inter-Arts, Arts Pathways for Youth Success, Creative Placemaking, and Rural Arts. Panel members are allowed to serve three, two-year terms and generally consist of professional artists, arts administrators, patrons, educators, and community leaders contributing a range of expertise. 

More Grants to Come 

The Annual Grants are the first in a series of grants that the Tennessee Arts Commission will make. The Commission expects to award approximately 1,000 grants during FY2025, totaling about $13 million dollars, through a combination of Annual Grants, Rolling Grants, and special initiatives. These funds directly impact communities across Tennessee, in both urban and rural areas. 

Funding Our Mission 

Of the total annual grant awards made by the Tennessee Arts Commission, approximately 80% of grants are funded through the sale of specialty license plates. Other Commission revenues include one-time funds from state appropriation, and regional and federal funding, primarily from the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Explore More Opportunities 

Other grant opportunities are offered throughout the year with rolling deadlines for qualifying organizations. Additional information on grant programs offered by the Commission is available at 

Tennessee’s vibrant arts and culture industry generates a significant economic impact, estimated at $1.4 billion annually. It also enriches quality of life, strengthens economic vitality, fosters tourism, and provides arts education opportunities for all ages. Consider purchasing a specialty or personalized license plate – your contribution directly supports the Tennessee Arts Commission’s mission to cultivate the arts for the benefit of all Tennesseans and their communities.