Press Releases

Tennessee Arts Commission Awards over $3.5m in Annual Grants Across Tennessee

The Tennessee Arts Commission has awarded 311 Fiscal Year 2016 Annual Grants Awards totaling $3,925,710.00 to help fund arts and cultural activities for arts organizations, schools, local governments, nonprofits and artists in Tennessee.

Annual Grants provide funds for: operating support to well-established arts organizations; project support for arts projects in urban and rural 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 board members voted unanimously to approve the annual grants on June 10, 2016 at the Commission quarterly board meeting. The meeting was the last quarterly meeting of FY-15 in which the 15-member board historically votes on allocations and budget for the next fiscal year.

The Annual Grants are the first of a series of grants that will be made by the Tennessee Arts Commission. The Commission expects to award over 1,000 grants during FY2016, totaling more than $5.3 million dollars. These funds have a direct impact on communities across Tennessee, in both urban and rural areas.

Of the $5.3 million dollars that will be granted, $4.5 million came from specialty license plate fees earmarked to benefit the arts. Additionally, the Commission receives a state appropriation and federal funding, namely from the National Endowment for the Arts.

A list of FY 2016 Grant Recipients can be found on the TN Arts Commission website,