Research News

Limited Submission Opportunity: 2024 South Arts Traditional Arts Touring Grants

Applications due Feb. 15

Vanderbilt University may submit one application to the South Arts Traditional Touring Grants program.


The Traditional Arts Touring Grant Program works to increase public awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the traditional arts in the South, through funding projects that bring a traditional artist/ensemble for a residency of two or more days in Southern communities.

  • Traditional Arts Touring Grants are available for requests from $1,000 up to $5,000. Traditional Arts Touring Grant awards may only be used for artist honorarium and/or award travel.
  • This program requires a 1:2 match. For instance, if an organization is awarded a $1,000 grant, the organization must provide an additional $500, for a total budget of $1,500 to be used for the contracted artist/ensemble’s fees. The match can be the organization’s own funds, other grant awards (non-NEA funds), or other earned income.

What are Traditional Arts?

The South is home to an abundance of traditional art forms, whether they are indigenous to the region or reflect the traditions of recent immigrant communities. Traditional arts are shared aesthetics, practices, and values of families, geographic communities, occupational groups, ethnic heritage groups, etc. Traditional arts are learned orally, or by observation and imitation, often through a mentor artist instructing an apprentice. These traditions are usually maintained without formal instruction or academic training. Some traditional arts have a deep-rooted history with little change, while others are constantly evolving and adapting to their changing environment.

Examples of traditional art forms (performing and visual arts) practiced in the South include Afro-Cuban batá drum, Catawba pottery, Zydeco music, Indian Bharatha Natyam dance, Anglo American quilting, Peruvian retablos, African American Sacred Steel, Chinese Zheng, Cherokee storytelling, and Minorcan netmaking, among others.

All traditional art forms may qualify for this program, regardless of whether they are American or not. The sponsor only requires that the traditional art form is currently being practiced in the South.

Grant Criteria and Eligibility

  • Organizations in South Arts’ nine-state region are eligible to apply.
    South Arts’ nine-state region includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
  • The project must take place between July 1, 2024 and June 30, 2025.
  • Eligible projects must include the following:
    • Engagement of a traditional artist or ensemble (who meets the description above of a traditional art form) that resides in the South Arts region, but in a state other than the applicants.
    • The residency must include at least one in person or live virtual public presentation and two in person or live virtual educational activities.
    • The residency must be a minimum of two days.
    • Projects must take place in the applicant’s state.
  • Projects may include performing (music, dance, and storytelling) and/or visual arts/crafts.
  • Applicant must provide a 1:2 cash match.

Project Requirements

  • The project must include both an in person or live virtual public performance/demonstration/exhibition, and at least two in person or live virtual educational/outreach components. For the public presentation(s), a minimum of 60 minutes of presentation by the traditional artist/ensemble is required, and the event(s) must be open and marketed to the public and dedicated to serving a wide audience. Please note that if a grantee fails to meet this requirement, funding will be rescinded.
    • NOTE: Presentations at conferences and school-focused presentations (primarily engaging students, whether taking place at the school, or a performance venue) will not be considered public presentations that are open and accessible to the public; however, school-focused presentations will satisfy the educational component requirement.
  • Only one traditional artist/ensemble per grant application is allowed
  • The traditional artist/ensemble must fully participate in the public presentation. The traditional artist or members of the ensemble must also conduct the educational/outreach components.
  • Projects are not required to serve the entire geographic community but should have targeted participants.
  • All grant recipients are required to provide accessibility for constituents with disabilities at grant-funded events.

See the program website for more information and full project requirements.

Internal Submission Instructions

Interested faculty should visit to submit an application for the internal LSO competition and to find additional information about the opportunity.  The deadline for the internal competition is February 15, 2024.

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