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, Director of Grants and Initiatives at (423) 777-4214 or

Total Grant Investment 2018-19: $588,000

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 30, 2018.

Mission Support 2018-19 Grant Recipients:

Ballet Tennessee
Bessie Smith Cultural Center
Chattanooga Ballet
Chattanooga Boys Choir
Chattanooga Symphony & Opera
Chattanooga Theatre Centre
Creative Discovery Museum
East Lake Expression Engine
H*Art Gallery
Hunter Museum of American Art
Sculpture Fields at Montague Park
Shaking Ray Levi Society
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 2018 Community Cultural Connections Grant Recipients

AMP: Ebony Archives for the creation of a performance art piece fusing the visual art based aesthetics of photography and modeling.

Annoor Academy for a 6-week photography workshop for 5th and 6th grade students that captured their impressions of growing up Muslim in Chattanooga.

Barefoot Group: St. Elmo Incline Crawl for an outdoor art show to benefit the community by integrating the diverse Appalachian Urban culture.

Bike Walk Tennessee for the creation of a mural which was the centerpiece of the Stove Works party during the Ciclovia event.

Center for Mindful Living for a variety of art activities and exploration of peace with speakers, performances and community during the International Peace Day at Coolidge Park.

Chattanooga Chinese Association to fund the purchase of authentic Chinese costumes for the dance group to perform during Chinese New Year celebrations and other events during the year.

C.K. Mawre Entertainment to fund the Sankofa International Music and Arts Festival (SIMAFEST) which celebrates diverse partnerships and creative collaborations focused on the influence of African, African American and Latino cultures.

CoPAC for funds enabling teaching artists to attend professional development workshops.

EnVaGe (Ensemble of Variable Geometry) for the Meet EnVaGe – Inaugural Concert which highlights the juxtaposition of various musical genres and styles as they interact.

Family Promise for weekly Art Therapy sessions with H*Art Gallery for families that are homeless.

Glenwood Association to support the Festival of Black Arts and Ideas – celebrating Juneteenth and the contributions and showcasing works by local artists of African descent.

Jennison Owens for Celebration: A Community Celebration – a presentation of original bodies of work in dance, music, and other visual and performing arts.

Jewish Federation to support Simcha!: A Celebration of Klezmer and Yiddish Folk Music – a special event held at Barking Legs Theater in partnership with the Jewish Federation and the Mizpah Congregation to celebrate the variety and richness of Jewish music.

Lincoln Park Neighborhood Association to fund a project to bring stories African American perspectives of historical landmarks during segregation was shared during a neighborhood community event.

LIT Art Gallery for scheduled events and workshops with local art instructors and performers.

Operation Song to fund 10-week music sessions for veteran/family members, as a unique approach to therapy.

Scenic City Clay Arts for the Empty Bowls Project and pottery workshop held for HCDE visual arts teachers.

SPLASH for Art Tank – workshops for at-risk youth that focus on business and career with art.

The Pop-Up Project to support a video recording at “The Big Nine Art Bash” – performances inspired by and interacting with the public art installations on the Bessie Smith Cultural Center.

Therapeutic Recreation Services for Expressions Theatrical Camp – an 8-week community theatre program for individuals with physical or intellectual disabilities.

Tim Hinck to support SENSORY DECK – A Parking Garage Experience – collaboration and performance with painter/muralist Kenneth Kudulis, located in a downtown Chattanooga parking garage.

Voice of Reason Women’s Ensemble for Doin’ It for Themselves: Music by Women for Women – a concert of vocal music composed or arranged by women, who are underrepresented, primarily classical music.

Youth Gallery to support an artist workshop for high school students with a multi-faceted/multi-day event featuring a juried art gallery at The Church on Main. 

FY 2017 Community Cultural Connections Grant Recipients

Chattanooga Chinese Association for dragon costume for Chinese Dancing Group.

Hope for the Inner City to provide job training in silk screening in techniques.

SoundCorps to support buskers throughout Chattanooga.

Unity Performing Arts  for an after-school arts program for inner city youth.

Scenic City Opera to support of the opera production of der Vampyr.

Chattanooga Bach Choir for educational support for Elijah concert.

ARC Support for artist residency program.

St. Marks to support Faithmarks projects combining tattoo art and religious symbols.

green|spaces to support Pool – Lighting the Path Project.

Chattanooga State Community College to support performers at Latino Fest.

Chattanooga Therapeutic Services to support Expressions: Theatrical Camp for Teens with Special needs.

Independent Youth Services for visual art classes offered by Charlie Newton and SPLASH for inner-City youth summer camp.

Grassroots midTown for support of arts activities for El Mercado Latino American market at MidTown Celebrates Fall Festival.

Young Gifted and Black to support monthly high school/young adult led performances at Mercy Junction.

Family Promise for art therapy workshops offered for homeless families led by Brooke Montague.

Guitar Chattanooga for support of a concert by French guitarist Judicael Perroy at Chattanooga State in March.

Burnin’ Bridges for support of a new mural festival led by the artist SEVEN to be held at the Chattanooga Choo-Choo.

GlassHouse Collective for support of mural artists at Glass Street Live block party.

Culture Fest to support African and Mexican performing artists at Culture Fest.

River City Sessions to support showcases of local and regional musicians, poets, storytellers through live events and a monthly radio show on WUTC.

SPLASH for workshops for youth that live primarily within Chattanooga’s Westside.

Urban League for youth workshops led by Charlie Newton and SPLASH.

Chattanooga Film Festival for support of a workshop by Joe Bob Briggs examining the history of film in Tennessee.

800 Collective for workshops led by Josiah Golson at the Chattanooga Public Library for teens to explore social issues through art activities.

BJS Productions for support of actor stipends for dinner theatre production produced by Brandalyn Shropshire held at the Kingdom Center in November.

HCDE Community Art Workshop for support of a workshop by arts educator John Smolko for HCDE visual artists and community artists.

Hamilton Sings to support a community concert by fifth grade students from HCDE schools.

Friends of Chattanooga Public Library to support The MANIFEST film and Workshop Series for teens led by artist Christian Collier.

FY 2016 Commmunity Cultural Connections Grant Recipients

Art120 for art car artists to lead workshops for Hamilton County students and senior citizens as part of the Scenic City Art Car Weekend.

Chattanooga Chinese Association to organize and acquire dragon costumes for a dragon dance in celebration of the Chinese New Year.

Christian Family Theater to support materials for the musical Annie Jr. presented at Brainerd UMC involving underserved youth in the cast and crew.

Grassroots midTown to support arts events at the 2nd annual midTown Celebrates Fall Festival.

Handmade Here/Tennessee Crafts to support pottery workshops for seniors in public housing and provide transportation to the Empty Bowls exhibit at Chattanooga Workspace.

H*Art Gallery to support workshops held in community centers with a culminating exhibit at the H*Art Gallery with first responders, police officers and firefighters creating art alongside with members of the community.

La Paz to support local artist Olga de Klein to teach twenty Latina participants with minimal exposure to the arts how to paint on canvas.

Lincoln Park Neighborhood Association to support an annual reunion to help educate and celebrate the history of the Lincoln Park area.

Premiere Studios Entertainment to support a four week summer performing arts camp for inner-city young people ages 7 – 18 in June, 2016.

RiverCity Co. to support Passageways, a public design and art exhibit focusing on animating alleyways that exist between city buildings.

SPLASH to support 50 young people mostly from Chattanooga’s Westside area to participate in art classes led by Charlie and Iantha Newton.

Spring 2015 Community Cultural Connections Grant Recipients

A Different Touch to provide art instruction for juveniles at the Hamilton County Juvenile Detention Center.

Chattanooga Housing Authority to provide low-income residents a means of transportation and admission to cultural events.

East Lake Expression Engine to expand a youth musical arts program for up to 80 local students.

East Lake Neighborhood Association to create a wall mural along Dodds Avenue painted by local artist Seven.

Ensemble Theatre of Chattanooga to produce a festival of short plays highlighting different cultural themes.

Family Promise of Greater Chattanooga to provide art therapy for homeless families with children.

H*Art Gallery to create portable, pocket-sized and waterproof art supply packs for homeless families, hospice clients and hospitalized children.

La Paz to host arts and crafts workshops for women in the Latino community.

Native American Services of Tennessee to establish an annual event to bring Native American musical performances to the Chattanooga area.

Renaissance Presbyterian Church Literacy Arts Program to host artistic and creative thinking classes, taught by local artists, for low-income children.

The Salvation Army ReCreate Café to expand the work of Playback Theatre and prepare for regular performances throughout the community.

Senior Arts Council to offer opportunities for senior citizens to attend and participate in cultural events and activities.

SPLASH to establish a summer art program, teaching easel painting and drawing to over 100 students.

2013 – 2014 Community Cultural Connections Grant Recipients

Chattanooga Kids on the Block, Inc. to provide two five-day puppet training workshops for children ages 6 – 11.

Chattanooga Resident Service Department to provide a means of transportation and admission access to area cultural events for low-income residents.

Chattanooga School of Language to host an 8-week language and culture class for approximately 40 children at Northside Neighborhood House.

Chattanooga Workspace to provide art instruction for juveniles at the Hamilton County Juvenile Detention Center.

East Lake Neighborhood Association to host Movies in the Park event for residents in the East Lake community.

Folk School of Chattanooga to establish a Bluegrass Club at Red Bank Middle school and host a national bluegrass banjo champion for an in‐school performance with other local musicians.

Girls Inc. to establish an afterschool project that will provide girls with hands-on experiences in the fine arts.

Glass House Collective to host a professional musician as an instructor for a beginner violin course at Hardy Elementary School.

Greenwood Resident Council to bring fine arts classes to the residents of Greenwood Terrace. H*Art Gallery to create portable, pocket‐sized and waterproof art supply packs for transient or homeless artists.

Highland Park Neighborhood Association to create a series of murals on McCallie Avenue painted by local artist Kevin Bate.

Hixson Community Center to host a series of photography workshops led by a professional photographer.

LAUNCH to paint a 10 x 20 mural on a newly acquired property in the Alton Park community.

North River Civic Center to host a series of classes teaching introductory oil painting to seniors in the community.

Northside Neighborhood House to provide afterschool programming related to dance and the arts in partnership with Chattanooga Ballet.

Partnership for Families, Children and Adults to provide African drum and dance classes to children in inner-city community centers.

Secret Weave to host a multi‐media performance series in underserved neighborhoods and communities in the Chattanooga area.

Senior Arts Council to sponsor a series of four artistic and cultural programs for seniors, including museum visits, dance, music and theatre performances.

Signal Centers to provide movement and music instruction for children and adults with special needs in partnership with two local artists.

SPLASH to host weekly painting workshops for children integrating art, literacy and history.

Students Taking a Right Stand to facilitate student teams to rehearse and perform a dramatization reflecting the emotional impact of bullying behaviors in partnership with Ensemble Theatre of Chattanooga.

Therapeutic Recreation Services to host an 8‐week community program focusing on arts experiences for individuals with disabilities.

2012 – 2013 Community Cultural Connections Grant Recipients

Belvoir Neighborhood Association to purchase and display artwork from Public Art Chattanooga within the Belvoir Neighborhood.

Bethleham Community Center to teach the value of African culture to students through dance, music, art, food, clothing, spoken word, song and decorative adornment.

Chattanooga Chapter, Links, Inc. to increase accessibility to the language and imagery of ballet for African-Americans through exhibits, classes, performances and sponsorship.

Community Choir Consortium to host an internationally renowned conductor who will lead a weekend workshop for choirs that will culminate in a public concert performance.

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority to increase exposure to arts venues and performances for 50 young girls in urban Chattanooga.

Eastgate Senior Activity Center to host a 12-week photography class and oral history project for seniors, teaching photography skills and hands-on application for storytelling.

Gang Task Force/The Future is Ours to host a series of workshops incorporating photography skills and techniques with creative writing, community tours and outreach.

Glass House Collective to create and display a temporary art installation, incorporating borrowed items from the community residents on Glass Street.

Glenwood Neighborhood Association to fund the artist and production costs for this year’s festival, celebrating the neighborhood’s 150th anniversary.

H*Art Gallery for the design, creation and publishing of four editions of Unsheltered Voices, a printed publication featuring art and poetry from the homeless community.

In His Hand Church to engage children from the Westside Community to create a large mural.

Chattanooga Mayor’s Office to fund an 11th Street art project featuring 12 freestanding pillars painted by artists and community youth.

Orange Grove Center to integrate physical abilities in dance through dance workshops, performances and artistic collaboration.

Orchard Knob Neighborhood Watch to host an annual neighborhood event featuring live Blues performances, a children’s area and vendors.

Prevention and Youth Development Services to host workshops and training programs for multimedia broadcast and production, integrating media education, radio and video editing and technical training.

Project Success to host classes promoting personal development and storytelling through digital photography.

City of Red Bank to display public art in Red Bank’s park, as well as host musical, theatrical and other public art performances.

Salvation Army to incorporate the arts into both the homeless and non-homeless community through theatre and a city-wide festival.

Signal Centers, Inc. to host 32 music workshops that will provide music and arts exposure to children and adults and feature Bob Stagner of the Shaking Ray Levi Society.

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.

2015 – 2016 ABC Grant Recipients

Bessie Smith Cultural Center – Dance camps for inner-city youth held at the Bessie Smith Cultural Center will be promoted.

Chattanooga’s Kids on the Block, Inc. – Chattanooga’s Kids on the Block will host a free community event, Pinwheels for Prevention, in April 2016 in cooperation with the Creative Discovery Museum.

Mid-South Sculpture Alliance – Expanded programming will be developed through salary support for the Executive Director.

Music Therapy Gateway in Communications, Inc. – MTGIC will partner with the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera (CSO) and the UTC Department of Music to present Dance of the Neural Tango, celebrating the art of music in therapy.

Performing Arts League – The Sunday Showcase, a celebration of local youth performing groups, will take place at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga in November.

Red Bank Elementary – A patriotic concert presented in partnership with Red Bank Elementary, Middle and High Schools will be held in November.

Siskin Children’s Institute – A special sensory-sensitive performance will be held in partnership with the Chattanooga Theatre Centre’s Youth Theatre Program.

SPLASH – Visual art classes will be held for youth in the SPLASH studio, located in the former James A. Henry Elementary School in Chattanooga’s Eastside area, and will teach students entrepreneur skills.

University of Tennessee Chattanooga Music Department – River City Clarinet Winter Festival 2016 will be held in January for local clarinetists and the general public.

YMCA-YCAP – Visual arts workshops will be held through the YCAP program for area middle school students.


2014 – 2015 ABC Grant Recipients

Chattanooga Kids on the Block, Inc. to host a free community event, Pinwheels for Prevention, in April 2015 in cooperation with the Creative Discovery Museum.

Chattanooga Writers’ Guild to conduct a Fall Writers’ Workshop on the craft and business of writing in September 2014 at Chattanooga State Community College.

Highland Park Neighborhood Association to fund stipends for local professional artists participating in The McCallie Walls Mural Project.

Mountain Arts Community Center to purchase supplies for and market classes of the Fairy Garden Project.

Music Therapy Gateway in Communications, Inc. to partner with the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera (CSO), the UTC Department of Music, and the Cadek Conservatory in creating distinctive performance events to celebrate the cause of music in therapy.

River City Company to supply 20 students from Red Bank High School with the materials necessary to create a display to be featured in the Open Spaces program.

Signal Centers, Inc. to market MusicFest, a community event to be held in March 2015, to typically underserved populations within the City of Chattanooga and Hamilton County.

SPLASH to continue to expand and improve Make a SPLASH, a program of free art classes at the James A. Henry School for typically underserved children ages 4 – 17.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga to co-host, along with the Chattanooga Clarinet Choir, the fourth annual River City Clarinet Winter Festival 2015 featuring concert performances, a lecture, masterclass, and high school solo competition.


2013 – 2014 ABC Grant Recipients

Chattanooga’s Kids on the Block, Inc. to host a free community event, Pinwheels for Prevention, in April 2014 in cooperation with the Creative Discovery Museum.

Choral Arts of Chattanooga to perform Missa Gaia/Earth Mass by Paul Winter during Earth Week 2014. The composition has been called “an environmental liturgy of contemporary music.”

Contemporary Performing Arts of Chattanooga to host the 4th New Dischord Festival, which will bring artists who work in multiple mediums and disciplines into Chattanooga in order to collaborate with local artists to create new works of multidisciplinary art.

Muse of Fire Project to engage a consultant to work with their board and our artistic staff to create a strategic plan for the next 3 years to provide stability and growth for this new entity.

Music Therapy Gateway In Communications, Inc. to partner with the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera (CSO) and the UTC Department of Music in creating a performance event that will help celebrate the cause of therapy in music.

Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church to host “Icons in Transformation,” an exhibition providing an innovative art experience featuring contemporary icons of the Russian born artist Ludmila Pawlowska.

Tennessee Association of Dance to fund executive director salary support which will help increase the organization’s programming throughout the state.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, in collaboration with the Bessie Smith Cultural Center and the Southeastern Composers League (SCL), to bring the Marian Anderson String Quartet, an acclaimed African American Chamber Ensemble, to Chattanooga for a four day residency in February 2014.

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.