Tennessee Arts Commission Awards over $6m in Annual Grants Across Tennessee

From Anne B. Pope, Executive Director –

The Tennessee Arts Commission has awarded nearly 400 Fiscal Year 2022 Annual Grants Awards totaling over $6 million to help fund arts and cultural activities for arts organizations, schools, local governments, nonprofits and artists all across the state.

This past year, our grants impacted 346 nonprofits to benefit communities; 156 student subsidy grants to pay for buses, tickets, and artists; and 47 local and regional governments.

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

“The Tennessee Arts Commission is honored to award these Annual Grants to support Tennessee’s communities and schools through the arts. These investments help cultivate the arts for the benefit of all Tennesseans and offer all of us a better quality of life, provide our children with a more complete education, stimulate economic development and attract tourists to our state,” said Tennessee Arts Executive Director, Anne B. Pope.

Annual Grant review panels were held throughout the month of April to review the grant applications. Panels are divided into different categories including: Arts Education, Arts Access, Community Arts, Folk Arts, Literary Arts, Visual Arts, Music, Dance, Theater, Inter-Arts, Funds for At-Risk Youth and Rural Arts. Panel members are appointed to two-year terms and generally consist of professional artists, arts administrators, patrons, sponsors, educators and community leaders.

The Tennessee Arts Commission approved the Annual Grant awards on May 26, 2021 at the Commission quarterly board meeting. The meeting was the last quarterly meeting of FY21 in which the 15-member board historically votes on allocations and budget for the next fiscal year.

The Annual Grants are the first in a series of grants that will be made by the Tennessee Arts Commission. The Commission expects to award approximately 1,000 grants during FY2022, totaling more than $8.3 million dollars, through a combination of Annual Grants, Rolling Grants, and special initiatives. These funds have a direct impact on communities across Tennessee, in both urban and rural areas.

Of the total grant awards made by the Tennessee Arts Commission, approximately 75% of grants are funded through the sale of specialty license plates. Other Commission revenues include one-time funds from the federal National Endowment for the Arts American Rescue Plan (ARP) of which the Commission will subgrant $794,600. Additionally, the Commission receives a state appropriation and federal funding, primarily from the National Endowment for the Arts.