TN Arts to Distribute One-Time Federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) Funds to 196 Arts Organizations

From Anne B. Pope, Executive Director –

Last week, the Tennessee Arts Commission announced FY2022 Annual Grant Awards to organizations across the state. Many of these awards included one-time funds from the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP). Congress appropriated $135 million to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) through the ARP Act. This appropriation represents a significant commitment to the arts and a recognition of the value of the arts and culture sector to the nation’s economy and recovery. The NEA is directing 40% of these funds directly to state and regional arts agencies to be distributed through their funding programs. The NEA ARP funds coming directly to the Tennessee Arts Commission is $844,600, less $50,000 for operating costs to administer this subgranting program. The total amount the Commission will subgrant is $794,600.

The Commission intends to subgrant $794,600 of the ARP funds as broadly as possible to 196 arts and cultural organizations across the state. The purpose of ARP funding is to support organizations and jobs in the arts sector impacted by the pandemic. In an effort to expedite federal ARP funding and to ensure proper management of federal dollars, the $794,600 funds will be sub-granted directly, without separate application to Tennessee organizations meeting all of the eligibility requirements below. Eligible organizations:

  • Are current FY2022 Annual grantees
  • Are Tennessee arts nonprofits defined as having a mission with an arts focus and 51% of the organizations’ budget and programmatic activities are arts related
  • Have a history of satisfactory grants management within the last three years with the Tennessee Arts Commission

Additional considerations of the distribution of these non-matching federal ARP award amounts include:

  • Award amounts are proportional to budget size of organization as reflected in grant categories, recognizing that community outcomes are generally proportional to organizational size
  • Equal award amounts for grantees within individual categories, recognizing significant need across the board
  • Priority for operational support grantees, a key component of Tennessee’s arts and culture infrastructure
  • Priority for rural arts organizations per TN Governor Lee’s Executive Order 1

The Commission has authorized allocations of federal ARP funds as shown below.

In addition to Tennessee’s arts and culture sector benefitting through Commission support, organizations may apply for direct grants from the NEA. The ARP Act designates the remaining 60% of the NEA funds for direct grants to nonprofit arts organizations all across the United States. The NEA has two funding opportunities available—one for local arts agencies to subgrant and one for arts and culture organizations. The application deadline for local arts agencies for subgranting is July 22, 2021. Read the local arts agencies subgranting guidelines for full details. The application deadline for arts and cultural organizations is August 12, 2021. Read the organization guidelines for full details.