The 2023 Current Art Fund

From Tri-Star Arts –

Application timeframe: Thursday, June 8, 2023 – Thursday, August 31, 2023.

The Current Art Fund granting program is organized and administered by Tri-Star Arts as a partner in the Regional Regranting Program of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. The Current Art Fund seeks to support visual artists and artist collectives in creating independent, non-traditional, public-facing projects that contribute to the rich dialogue within contemporary visual art scenes across the state of Tennessee.

The fund annually disburses grants totaling $60,000 to Tennessee-based artists 21 years of age and older in support of project expenses. Grantees will be selected by a 4 person jury panel composed of internationally recognized artists, collectors, curators, administrators, gallerists, educators, and arts professionals. The Current Art Fund program tangibly illustrates the Tri-Star Arts mission of cultivating and spotlighting contemporary visual art in Tennessee, championing innovation within our local art communities, and supporting artists across the state. BIPOC and AAPI applicants are strongly encouraged to apply.


Our 2023 granting cycle will offer project-based grants to fund artists’ innovative contributions to the visual arts conversation in Tennessee. The Current Art Fund will distribute grants of $7,500 each to 9 Tennessee-based contemporary visual artists and artist collectives, selected by a 4 person jury panel, to use towards the realization of a dynamic and accessible project. Awarding grants to artists living throughout the breadth of Tennessee will be a high priority in the jurors’ selection process. Applicants may submit projects featuring 2-D, 3-D, and 4-D work (or a combination).

The online application will open on Thursday, June 8, 2023 and remain open through Thursday, August 31, 2023.

Project proposals should endeavor to be innovative and expand the possibilities of how the applicant’s work can engage audiences in Tennessee and the contemporary art world beyond. Applicants should consider what visual and social impact their project could have upon local communities, and how it could expand how viewers experience their surroundings or circumstances. Furthermore, applicants are invited to consider infusing their project’s vision with an expansive scope that invites collaborators and/or persons with additional skill sets into the process (to be reflected in the description of the project and budget).

The Current Art Fund jury panelists for the 2023 Project-Based Grants are Joeonna Bellorado-Samuels (Director, Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, NY), Patricia Lee Daigle (Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, TN), Elizabet Elliott (Executive Director/ Curator, Alabama Contemporary, Mobile, AL), and Raymond Padron (Artist/ Educator/ 2022 Current Art Fund Grantee, Chattanooga, TN). Bios listed below.

There is no application fee to apply. Artists will be asked to submit an application including the following: (1) Project title and artist or artist collective bio; (2) Short & full descriptions of the project; (3) Description of the project’s audience; (4) Proposed timeline (doesn’t have to be confirmed); (5) Additional links to websites, image captions; (6) Upload a budget using our provided template; (7) At least 1 image with a max of 5 sized to a max of 1600 pixels in any direction at 100 dpi; for optimal viewing results for video, please provide an external link to Vimeo/YouTube rather than uploading a file.

If applicants are unable to complete the online application, they are welcome to email their responses and/or any questions to “CAF support” at or mail their physical application materials to 4450 Candora Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37920. If applicants would like the application in another language, they may submit that request to “CAF support” at All applicants must be 21 years of age or older and reside (with a mailing address) in the state of Tennessee. Project proposals must be submitted by one individual and, if the proposal comes from an artist collective, the individual submitting the application must be the project’s point person, designated to receive all communications and funding distribution.

Virtual and in-person Q&A sessions led by Executive Director Brian R. Jobe will be scheduled and promoted.

A list of Frequently Asked Questions, the link to the online application, dates and locations of Q&A workshops, and more will be posted to our web page:

Tri-Star Arts serves Tennessee by cultivating and spotlighting the contemporary visual art scenes in each region while fostering a unified state-wide art scene. Tri-Star Arts programs promote art dialogue between the different cities in the state, and between the state and the nation. The Current Art Fund amplifies this mission.

If individuals and businesses would like to support the Current Art Fund to extend its impact, tax-deductible donations may be made online or by mail to Tri-Star Arts, Memo: Current Art Fund, 4450 Candora Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37920.


Joeonna Bellorado-Samuels is a Director at Jack Shainman Gallery and views her position as an advocacy role in helping manage the careers of artists within the gallery’s roster. She is also the founder of We Buy Gold, a roving gallery presenting exhibitions, commissioned projects, and public events. She was on the curatorial team of The Racial Imaginary Institute and was a founding Director of For Freedoms, the first artist-run Super PAC which uses art to inspire deeper political engagement to impact policy and the American political landscape. Recently, Joeonna organized the Curator Spotlight for the 2022 edition of NADA Miami.

Patricia Lee Daigle is the Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. Her recent projects include Harmonia Rosales: Master Narrative, touring to Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, and Tommy Kha: Eye is Another, presented as part of the Tennessee Triennial for Contemporary Art. Prior to this, she was Director of The Martha and Robert Fogelman Galleries of Contemporary Art at The University of Memphis, organizing solo exhibitions featuring the work of Virginia Overton, Jefferson Pinder, and Umar Rashid (Frohawk Two Feathers), among others. She also worked at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art as Curatorial Assistant in Contemporary Art, curating the exhibitions Living in the Timeless: Drawings by Beatrice Wood (2014) and Myth and Materiality: Latin American Art from the Permanent Collection (2013). She holds a Ph.D. in the History of Art and Architecture from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Elizabet Elliott joined the Alabama Contemporary in November of 2018 and is currently its Executive Director/ Curator. She has been curating since 2009 at both the grassroots and institutional level. Prior to coming to Alabama Contemporary she served 5 years at the Mobile Museum of Art, and 4 years as the founding director of the Rumor Union, a grassroots community art organization that organized site-specific installation, performance and new media festivals, cross-disciplinary collaborations, outreach and education projects, and guerrilla exhibitions. Elliott has also served on several boards and in community action groups, including 2 years as Vice President of the Creative Wellness Foundation. She received her BFA with First Class Honours from Massey University in Wellington, New Zealand in 2009, and her MFA in Interdisciplinary Art from Goddard College in Port Townsend, WA in 2014, with a focus on social/ civic practice. She enjoys action movies and dirty jokes.

Raymond Padron is a sculptor and performance based artist, experienced in a broad range of art-making processes and materials. Born in 1983, he grew up in the Northern Virginia suburbs of DC. In 2005 after receiving his B.A. in sculpture and graphic design from Messiah College in Grantham, PA, he moved south to the city of Chattanooga, TN. In 2011 he received his M.F.A. from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He has since returned to Chattanooga where he now works in his studio, exhibits nationally and teaches. Padron is a 2022 grantee of the Current Art Fund, the granting initiative of Tri-Star Arts in partnership with the regional re-granting program of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.


Tri-Star Arts serves Tennessee by cultivating and spotlighting the contemporary visual art scenes in each region while fostering a unified state-wide art scene. Tri-Star Arts programs promote art dialogue between the different cities in the state, and between the state and the nation. Tri-Star Arts initiatives include a gallery space and artist studios at the historic Candoro Marble Building, annual Current Art Fund project grants, the Tennessee Triennial for Contemporary Art, statewide collaborative projects, and the web resource.

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