Physical Activities Through The Arts: TN Health Dept. Grants Up To $85k

Jeffery Stoner
Jeffery Stoner

By Carol White, Associate Director of Operations –

Heads up, local arts councils, creative placemakers, public arts groups and dance organizations, the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) has announced the availability of $900,000 for grants up to $85,000 each to “increase access to safe, tobacco-free and publicly accessible places offering opportunities for physical activities for a diverse group of users.” Projects could include convening (max $2k); planning (max $50k); programming (max $10k); and/or construction (max $80k).

An informational teleconference is scheduled for October 12 at 2 p.m. CST with Letters of Intent due November 16, 2017. Call this number: 888-757-2790 and use the passcode: 766173 to join.

Access to Health Through Healthy Active Built Environments is not an arts grant on its face, but the TN Arts Commission has worked with TDH and the statewide Livability Coalition to open paths for arts participation and arts as a strategy. Consider if one of the paths below makes sense for you and/or your organization and community.

  • Join a Local Collaboration. The Request for Application (RFA) on page five encourages local partnerships and lists “arts and housing professionals” as potential collaborators along with “the city or county council or board of aldermen, community development block grant board, development district, elected officials, Healthier Communities (if any)” and others. Read the RFA#343-301-17618 and contact your county mayor or development district to find out what’s going on in your community. Reference the RFA and explain that arts participation could potentially strengthen the local application.
  • Creative Placemaking. The RFA provides up to $50k for Assessment & Planning. Page six of the RFA notes that “plans and policies typically developed and considered during this phase include (among others)….arts place making plans that may encourage physical activity through the influence of public art.” Up to $80k is possible for Infrastructure Design/Construction. Ideas could range from public art signage, benches, bike racks, etc to a square dance barn/community center or other structure that could generate compelling outcomes related to healthy activities.
  • Apply for up to $10k for Programming
    If there isn’t a broader collaborative in the works for your county, an arts nonprofit that can spark increased physical activity through dance, the influence of public art, or music in a public place could apply for a smaller dollar grant for programming in existing publicly available space (not one-time events). We have been told that this competition could be competitive, especially for a rural community without a larger collective action in the works.

Brainstorming Strategies—Arts at the Table
If you would like to brainstorm strategies, contact your TN Arts Commission program director or

Visit TN Dept. of Health Funding Opportunities webpage