Press Releases

TN Arts Commission Awards Over $4 Million in Grants Across State

The Tennessee Arts Commission has awarded 347 Fiscal Year 2019 Annual Grants Awards totaling $4,226,710 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.

“It is an honor to award these annual grants that support Tennessee’s communities and schools through the arts. These investments help cultivate the arts which benefit all of us through quality of life, economic development, tourism and providing a more balanced education for our children,” said Tennessee Arts Commission Chair Steve Bailey.

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 May 30, 2018, at the Commission quarterly board meeting. The meeting was the last quarterly meeting of FY18 in which the 15-member board historically votes on allocations and budget for the next fiscal year.

“The arts are a vital tool for attraction and retention of businesses, and help build stronger communities by enhancing the distinctive character of Tennessee places,” said Anne B. Pope, Executive Director for the Tennessee Arts Commission.

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 FY2019, totaling more than $5 million dollars. These funds have a direct impact on communities and schools across Tennessee, in both urban and rural areas.

Of the $5 million, $4.4 million comes from specialty license plate fees earmarked to benefit the arts. Additionally, the Commission receives a state appropriation from the Tennessee General Assembly and federal funding, namely from the National Endowment for the Arts. The Tennessee Arts Commission is a state arts agency whose mission is to cultivate the arts for the benefit of all Tennesseans and their communities. More information about the Tennessee Arts Commission can be found at the website,