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

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.


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 2020 Community Cultural Connections Grant Recipients

as of October 2019

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

Chattanooga Sound Project to fund a concert series consisting of four concerts, two in the fall of 2019 and two in the spring of 2020, featuring internationally renowned musicians James Hall, flute, and Susie Maddocks, piano.

Chattanooga Writers’ Guild to present the Chattanooga Readers and Writers Fair at the downtown Chattanooga Public Library, with a theme of “A celebration of all things literary, for and by the entire community.”

Epilepsy Foundation of Southeast Tennessee to fund Studio E, a multi-week art program that gives children ages 6 – 17 with epilepsy and seizure disorders the opportunity to creatively express themselves through art, as well as build a community of support among their peers.

Glass House Collective to support the Glass Street LIVE block party, featuring spoken word artist Erika Roberts, musician Anthony Wiley, and dancers from The Pop-up Project teaming up to create and perform a piece that celebrates the history of Glass Street and reminds audiences of the beauty and potential of this community.

Lincoln Park Neighborhood Association to fund the Lincoln Park Family Festival, a neighborhood community event featuring performances by local dancers and musicians as well as a showcase of local youth artists.

The Pop-up Project to direct and produce a site-specific performance film featuring Ballet Tennessee dancers, local musicians, a cinematographer, spoken word artist, and editors focusing on stories from “The Big Nine” that have been archived by the Bessie Smith Cultural Center.

Resilient Documentary Project to produce one short documentary about the impact that music education is having in the East Lake community, which will feature an adolescent Latino from the East Lake Expression Engine program. The film will highlight the grit and resilience that music education is sparking in East Lake youth and how this learning experience is empowering them to manage their own life’s adversities.

Scenic City Clay Arts to support the Empty Bowls initiative, a community engagement project that includes a series of events in the Chattanooga area to create handmade ceramics bowls. Final bowls will be sold with a majority of revenue donated to Family Promise, an organization that helps families transition out of homelessness.

Young Ladies of Power to support the 9th Street Black Heritage Festival with local talent, poetry, music and testimonies from residents who have live the area history and can tell it.

FY 2019 Community Cultural Connections Grant Recipients
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.

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

Equity in the Arts Grants

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

Grants up to $10,000 were awarded to fifteen individual artists and organizations in 2017 and 2018. The goals for the grant program were 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.

2017 Grant Recipients
2018 Grant Recipients