Research News

Limited Submission Opportunity: Tennessee Arts Commission–Arts Build Communities grant

Applications due May 18

Vanderbilt University may submit only one application to the Tennessee Arts Commission’s Arts Build Communities program.

The Arts Build Communities (ABC) grant program is designed to provide support for arts projects that broaden access to arts experiences, address community quality-of-life issues through the arts, or enhance the sustainability of asset-based cultural enterprises. ABC funds may be used to:

  • provide innovative arts experiences that are new or unfamiliar to community residents;
  • offer arts programs that are designed to help effect positive change on community social issues;
  • develop arts programming that strengthens social networks through community engagement;
  • undertake cultural arts initiatives that enhance a community’s identity and/or economic development; or
  • offer training that helps experienced or emerging artists/arts administrators develop entrepreneurial skills or innovative strategies for building sustainability.


Colleges and universities are eligible only for activities that clearly serve the needs of surrounding communities or the state and are designed to involve a broad audience. Activities that are credit-producing or are oriented primarily to collegiate students and the academic community are not eligible.

Matching requirement

Vanderbilt may request a maximum of $3,500 from the Tennessee Arts Commission. ABC requires at least a one-to-one (1:1) dollar match. “One-to-one dollar match” means the applicant must cover at least half the cost of a project or program through other income sources. Matching funds may be listed in multiple expense categories. In-kind contributions cannot be used for the one-to-one (1:1) dollar match requirement, but the commission wants to know about such contributions.


Metro Arts is hosting a one-hour virtual workshop on May 11 at 10 a.m. for Davidson County nonprofits and government organizations interested in applying for Arts Build Communities grants through the Tennessee Arts Commission. Register here.

Appropriate activities

The following are examples of activities and expenditures that are consistent with the funding philosophy for ABC:

  • Projects that involve and promote Tennessee artists
  • Visiting artists conducting master classes
  • Festival coordination and programming
  • Public performances, productions and exhibitions produced by the applicant
  • Exhibitions of art by Tennessee artists and artists from outside Tennessee
  • Promotion, publicity and newsletters
  • Administrative and artistic staff support
  • Research and documentation as part of a project or program development
  • Touring projects that bring professional performers to communities across the state
  • Improved program accessibility for underserved constituencies, such as at-risk youth, economically disadvantaged individuals, people living in rural communities or isolated settings, people with disabilities, people of color and senior citizens
  • Art in public places
  • Extensions of literary projects, journals with continuing publication or juried anthologies
  • Apprenticeship programs
  • Computer software/training that builds or enhances creative workforce skills
  • Technical/production support

ABC funds may NOT be used:

  • To support a project already funded by the commission
  • For capital improvements (buildings or construction), for permanent equipment purchases or for the elimination of an accumulated deficit. Such expenditures that relate to the proposed project may be used as matching expenses up to $2,500.
  • As “seed money” for starting new organizations
  • For in-school, curriculum-based projects. Projects may target youth as participants and can occur within school facilities outside of regular school hours.
  • To begin, match, add to or complete any type of endowment campaign or program
  • For out-of-state travel expenses

Please note:

  • All projects sponsored in part or entirely with ABC funds must be accessible to the general public.
  • Applications from colleges or universities or other institutions of higher education, whether public or private, must emphasize non-academic community involvement in the planning and implementation of the project.

Please see the program website for more information.

Internal application instructions

Interested faculty should visit to apply for the internal LSO competition and to find additional information about the opportunity. The deadline for the internal competition is May 18, 2022.

Any questions about this opportunity or the LSO process may be directed to