ArtsBuild Grant Programs

ArtsBuild grant programs serve our goal of providing More Arts in More Places for More People.

Grants are available to local arts organizations of all sizes, non-arts organizations, and as well as special grants to select individual artists.

For inquiries about all grant programs, please contact Rodney Van Valkenburg, President – Interim at (423) 777-4214 or

Grant Categories

Mission Support

Mission Support Grants replace the Cultural Partner grant program and are designed to support access to the arts by providing general operating funds to eligible organizations that have arts at the center of their mission.

Application deadline was March 29, 2019.

Mission Support Grant Application

Mission Support 2019-20 Grant Recipients:

Art 120
Association for Visual Arts
Ballet Tennessee
Bessie Smith Cultural Center
Chattanooga Ballet
Chattanooga Boys Choir
Chattanooga Girls Choir
Chattanooga Symphony & Opera
Chattanooga Theatre Centre
Creative Discovery Museum
East Lake Expression Engine
H*Art Gallery
Hunter Museum of American Art
Scenic City Clay Arts
Sculpture Fields at Montague Park
Southern Lit Alliance
Unity Performing Arts Foundation of Chattanooga

Equity in the Arts

ArtsBuild, with support from the Benwood Foundation, has created the Equity in the Arts grant program to support projects led by local Black and Latino artists. The goals for the grant program are to help build the careers of local Black and Latino artists; increase sustainability of cultural organizations that focus on Black and Latino arts; build community awareness of Black and Latino arts within Hamilton County; and to support collaborations between Black and Latino artists and other arts organizations within the community.

Letter of Intent deadline was November 3, 2017.  Click here for more information.

Community Cultural Connections

In response to Imagine Chattanooga 20/20, ArtsBuild implemented a program which makes arts and culture more accessible to underserved populations, inclusive of geographic area, ethnicity, age and individuals with disabilities.

These grants have a rolling grant deadline and are available until funds are depleted for the year.  Grant recipients are listed below.

Equity in the Arts Grants

ArtsBuild with support from the Benwood Foundation, has created a new Equity in the Arts grant program to support projects led by local Black and Latino artists.

Grants up to $10,000 were awarded to eight individual artists and organizations. The goals for the new grant program are to help build the careers of local Black and Latino artists; increase sustainability of cultural organizations that focus on Black and Latino arts; build community awareness of Black and Latino arts within Hamilton County; and to support collaborations between Black and Latino artists and other arts organizations within the community.

2018 Grant Recipients

ALEX LOZA: Dreaming Forward/Soñando Mural
Alex Loza will lead the creation of Chattanooga’s first Latino public mural titled Dreaming Forward/ Soñando. This mural will be painted on Super Carniceria Loa #7 wall facing Main Street, located on the corner of Main St and Broad St. Loza will also meet with Latinos from Super Carniceria Loa #7 neighborhood to learn about their stories, ideals and dreams that will inspire the mural design. About 20 youth will be invited to participate in a Community Painting Day event, where they will have the opportunity to paint alongside the Artists Team. (The Community Painting Day event took place in June 2018.)

CHRISTIAN COLLIER: Manifest Poetry Documentary Series
Collier will create a documentary series that will showcase the rich history of Chattanooga poets and shed light on powerful, influential and emerging writers and voices in our community. Fifteen to seventeen poets will be interviewed and will read their poetry to bring their work to life in a unique fashion.

Creative Discovery Museum implemented a four-month residency with local blues musician Rick Rushing. Rick spent an average of 10 hours per week, from April through July, providing music instruction and playing songs on his guitar and ukulele for Museum guests. Rick also worked alongside staff performing live music performances and worked with the Museum’s Development and Communications managers, resulting in the creation of video promotional materials for the Museum and the artist.

THiRDspace will be a quarterly graphic novel style publication consisting of four stories, each highlighting the cultures and challenges specific to the neighborhood of East Lake. Emphasizing the importance of visual literacy and quality illustration, the graphic novel will help children and families in this neighborhood interpret, negotiate, and make meaningful connections. A total of 2000 copies will be published and released to five local elementary schools.

IANTHA NEWTON: My Evolution into Open Impressionism
The Equity in the Arts grant will enable Newton to utilize an explosively vibrant palette in both acrylics and oils independently, from which will be produced a body of work of approximately 25-30 canvasses of various sizes from small, medium to large sizes, that will present her landscapes in a more contemporary application, or in other words a more modern “open” impressionism. The work will be exhibited in four locations throughout the year.

LA PAZ: Entre Nosotros
The project will consist of the creation of four mobile murals (48” x 72”), which each will portray traditions, animals and customs of a specific Latin American country (i.e. Mexico, Guatemala, etc.). Each mural will be presented to a particular area of the Chattanooga community on four different occasions, which will be spread throughout the year. Attendants are invited to engage in a dialogue about the culture of the country, the artists will share their stories (personal accounts, poetry, etc.) and also food, typical of the country portrayed, will be served.

MARCUS ELLSWORTH: 8 Conversations
8 Conversations will consist of eight free performances inspired by eight controversial issues of local, national, and global concern. The topics selected are: Transgender Rights, Classism, Environmental Justice, Islamophobia, Sexism, Reproductive Justice, White Supremacy, and Immigration. The events will run from 7:00 PM until 9:00 PM on the last or second to last Saturday of each month for eight consecutive months at Barking Legs Theater.

JONATHAN “TRYEZZ” FOWLKES: The Arts and Groove on Wax
This project consists of an original music release and release event. The main idea and centerpiece is that this release would be pressed on 12-inch vinyl at 45 rpm. All the music would be songs first created live on the spot while performing at different events in Chattanooga, particularly participating in Soundcorps’ “Sidewalk Stages” busking program. This would be capturing the cool and energetic vibe created from the scenic atmosphere, interaction with people, and spontaneity while performing live at events and on the streets of Chattanooga. The vinyl release would also be a limited-edition one time only pressing.

 2017 Grant Recipients

For additional information about the Equity in the Arts grant program, contact Rodney Van Valkenburg at ArtsBuild: or (423) 777-4214.

Community Cultural Connections Grants

In response to Imagine Chattanooga 20/20, ArtsBuild implemented a program which makes arts and culture more accessible to underserved populations, inclusive of geographic area, ethnicity, age and individuals with disabilities.

The Diversity section of Imagine Chattanooga 20/20 suggests the following goal:
“To ensure that neighborhoods and underserved communities are better served, a special neighborhood arts and culture program should be developed that provides small grants for neighborhood and community cultural initiatives.”

Funding for the Community Cultural Connections (CCC) grants was provided by the Lyndhurst Foundation, Hamilton County Commissioner Tim Boyd, and generous community contributions.

Community Cultural Connections Grant Application


FY 2019 Community Cultural Connections Grant Recipients

Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer for the purchase of new supplies and equipment to support the After School Enrichment Program, which offers weekly one hour classes that incorporate art, education, and skill-building.

Ben Van Winkle to support Ben Van Winkle and the Figment Chamber Ensemble, a concert that aims to bridge the gap between classical and popular music lovers through a performance at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre.

Center for Mindful Living to support Paths to Peace, an event promoting discovering peace and mindfulness in its many forms, including through visual arts, theater and writing activities.

ChattaNAP: Chattanooga Neighborhoods Arts Partnership to support the Chattanooga Festival of Black Arts & Ideas to be held in June 2019 with events taking place throughout the city.

Chattanooga Chinese Dance Group to purchase Er Hu, an instrument to be used in their performances in the Chinese festivals, local international multicultural activities and other community gatherings as well as a program with the Creative Discovery Museum.

Family Promise to provide classes taught by an art therapist for the clients as they transition from homelessness to independence and self-sufficiency.

Friends of the Chattanooga Public Library to fund Symphonic Tales, a music and literacy program that celebrates culture through reading, music performance, art, and other activities.

Good Neighbors, Inc. to support the Lincoln Park Annual Festival.

Glass Street Collective to fund Glass Street LIVE 2018, a block party featuring live music, dancing, local food and arts activities while showcasing the positive actions of Glass Street’s residents, artists, and partners.

The Helen Ross McNabb Center to support Art for the Inconsistent Mind, a project focused on art therapy with adults who suffer from a mental illness.

Jenison Owens to support Celebrations: a Community Collaboration, a live dance, art, and music production featuring local artists as well as a dance workshop.

Memo’s Grill to fund a monthly concert series featuring local and regional artists sharing the rich history of African American musical style from 1920 to today.

Northside Neighborhood House to present Just Dance, a program for middle and high school students taught by local dancer Louis Marin-Howard to understand dance as a unique form of personal expression and meaning.

Operation Song Chattanooga to fund ten-week songwriting sessions for veterans and their family members with professional songwriters.

Pablo Mazariegos to support Howard High School Documentary, a project that highlights the role that Howard’s ESOL teachers’ played in the academic success of their students.

The Pop-up Project to direct and produce a collaborative performance and dance film with Ballet Tennessee featuring local dancers, musicians, makeup artists, cinematographers, choreographers, and costumers to be filmed at Sculpture Fields.

Scenic City Chamber Society to support their 2018-2019 concert season, including performances by artists and college professors who bring top-level chamber performances to the Chattanooga area.

Scenic City Clay Arts to start a ceramic based residency program.

Spot Athletic Arts Venue to support Ballet Esprit’s production of a new ballet inspired by Antoine De Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince.

University of Tennessee – Chattanooga Chamber Singers to professionally record original choral works by local composer Ethan McGrath.

Youth Shakespeare Chattanooga to support an after-school pilot project at Lookout Valley Middle and High School for young people to attend Shakespeare workshops for six weeks.

FY 2018 Community Cultural Connections Grant Recipients
FY 2017 Community Cultural Connections Grant Recipients
FY 2016 Community Cultural Connections Grant Recipients
Spring 2015 Community Cultural Connections Grant Recipients
2013 – 2014 Community Cultural Connections Grant Recipients
2012 – 2013 Community Cultural Connections Grant Recipients

Arts Build Communities Grants

Arts Build Communities (ABC) Grants is a program funded by the Tennessee General Assembly and administered in cooperation with the Tennessee Arts Commission and ArtsBuild.

The objective of these grants is to build communities by nurturing artists, arts organizations (including local arts agencies), and arts supporters in each of Tennessee’s 95 counties. Grant applications and guidelines may found on the Tennessee Arts Commission’s website.

ArtsBuild and the Southeast Tennessee Development District will host an ABC grant workshop on Tuesday, April 30, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. The orientation will be held at ArtsBuild, 301 E. 11th Street #300 in Chattanooga and will review guidelines and tips for applying for funds through this Tennessee Arts Commission grant program.

Prior to submitting an application, qualifying organizations should discuss the program or project proposal with their designated agency. Rodney Van Valkenburg at ArtsBuild will administer Hamilton County agencies. He can be reached at (423) 777-4214, or email: Melissa Mortimer at the Southeast Tennessee Development District will administer grants for the nine counties of Southeast Tennessee (except Hamilton): Marion, Sequatchie, Grundy, Bledsoe, Bradley, Rhea, McMinn, Meigs, and Polk counties. She can be reached at (423) 424-4266, or email:

The ABC grant program is funded under an agreement with the State of Tennessee, the Tennessee Arts Commission, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

2018-2019 ABC Grant Recipients

Art 120 brought bring Pakistani truck artist, Haider Ali, to Chattanooga, in September 2018. Haider painted their utility art vehicle in the style of jingle truck that will be used to connect our community to Pakistani culture and this amazing form of art.

Bessie Smith Cultural Center
The Bessie Smith Cultural Center will present programs in performing, visual, literary, and expressive arts which positively enhance and promote the understanding of both the multicultural and the multi-dimensional definition of African and African American derived art and culture. These programs will be conducted monthly at area neighborhood community centers.

East Lake Expression Engine
East Lake Expression Engine will provide stipends to teachers for music education program serving underprivileged students in the East Lake neighborhood of Chattanooga, TN. Through the instruction and practice of music in a gospel-centered mentoring environment students are equipped with the creativity, discipline, and problem solving skills they need to become leaders in their families, communities, and the city.

Friends of the Library
Friends of the Library will host The Symphonic Tales program, a once-per-month music and literacy event series presented at the Downtown Public Library, one of the branch libraries and two local Pre-K’s during the school year (September through May). Each event includes literacy, musical, play, and art activities, all of which center on a literary theme.

H*Art Gallery
TAC funds will be used to hire teaching staff and purchase art supplies for art making classes with seniors at low-income senior living housing in the Main Street area. Inner city high school students will also be engaged as helpers to foster multi-generational learning and art creation.

Music Therapy Gateway in Communications
Music Therapy Gateway in Communications (MTGIC) will hire composers and singer/songwriters to create musical samples/songs/compositions. These compositions will be utilized for therapeutic purposes to benefit persons with disabilities and their caregivers.

Scenic City Clay Arts
Scenic City Clay Arts will offer pottery classes for local schools, colleges, and veterans. Tennessee Arts Commission funds will assist with the cost of teachers and marketing.

Sound Corps
Sound Corps will produce Sidewalk Stages that provides opportunities for local musicians to earn income while also encouraging the Chattanooga community to more easily and more often interact with the local music community.

SPLASH will offer free art classes taught by professional exhibiting artists to underserved, low income youth living in College Hill Courts. The studio is a fully equipped professional artist studio that serves as a safe place for kids to be nurtured and grow in their creativity.

2017 – 2018 ABC Grant Recipients
2016 – 2017 ABC Grant Recipients
2015 – 2016 ABC Grant Recipients
2014 – 2015 ABC Grant Recipients
2013 – 2014 ABC Grant Recipients