Frequently Asked Questions About ArtsBuild

Is ArtsBuild a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization?

Yes, ArtsBuild was founded in 1969 as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. All gifts to ArtsBuild are tax-deductible as allowed by law. Our original name was Allied Arts, until we legally changed it in 2012 in response to Imagine Chattanooga 20/20, a community-wide cultural plan, in order to acknowledge a more vibrant role in the community.


Is ArtsBuild a local organization?

Yes, ArtsBuild was founded in Chattanooga in 1969 by a group of local business leaders and citizens. The 501(c)(3) organization was created with the original name of Allied Arts, as a “United Arts Fund” to raise money and strengthen Chattanooga’s arts and cultural organizations. At the core of the purpose of Allied Arts was to consolidate cultural fundraising efforts into one organization, and use the knowledge of the cultural community to disperse those funds. Since that time, the organization, now named ArtsBuild, has done just that, investing more than $77 million in our arts community. There are currently 44 other United Arts Funds operating in the U.S. today.


How does ArtsBuild generate revenues?

ArtsBuild receives annual support from the Tennessee Arts Commission and the City of Chattanooga. An annual distribution from our endowment fund, managed by our Investment Committee, also supports a portion of our operating budget. However, ArtsBuild relies mostly on donations from individuals, businesses, as well as private foundations. Generous donations totaling more than $500,000 each year are critical to our mission, and determine how much we are able to allocate each year through grant-making. The more support ArtsBuild receives from the community, the more we are able to give back and invest in the arts and arts education initiatives across Chattanooga and Hamilton County.


How do I make a donation to ArtsBuild?

It’s easy to make a gift to ArtsBuild! You can make a one-time gift or a recurring monthly sustaining gift at any time using our online donation form. Give us a call during business hours at (423) 756-2787 and we can take your gift or pledge over the phone. Or simply mail a check to ArtsBuild at 301 E. 11th Street #300, Chattanooga, TN 37403. For gifts of stock or if you have a specific question about making a donation, please contact us! Our Annual Campaign runs from January 1 through December 31, and we are happy to set up a pledge and a payment plan.


Who does ArtsBuild fund?

ArtsBuild provides Mission Support grants each year to eligible arts organizations in Chattanooga and Hamilton County. Grantees are selected through a competitive process, with a grant panel review and rating system. We currently fund grants to twenty Community Arts Partners. ArtsBuild also awards smaller grants through our Community Cultural Connections program on a rolling basis to a wide variety of organizations, nonprofits, and community groups for arts programs, classes, performances, events, and anyone wanting to use the arts to make a difference, build a stronger community, and unite people through the arts.


Who decides how the grants are funded?

ArtsBuild’s Board of Directors approves a budget each year which determines how much will be allocated through our annual grant-making programs. Grant review panels are made up of ArtsBuild Board members, Holmberg Arts Leadership Institute graduates, and volunteers from the community who represent a diverse range of expertise, community connections, and backgrounds. If you are interested in serving on a grant panel, please contact Melissa Astin at


How do I apply for a grant?

Please go to the online Grant Portal to review eligibility, guidelines and deadlines. If you have questions related to applying for a grant or our grant-making programs, contact Melissa Astin at


Does ArtsBuild support individual artists?

Yes, ArtsBuild supports individual artists through our grant programs, Tech Goes Home for the Arts, Holmberg Arts Leadership Institute, and other programs and resources that are in response to the artist community needs.


Is ArtsBuild involved in promoting arts education?

Yes! ArtsBuild is a strong advocate for arts education. We created the Imagine! program in 2010 in order to give all Hamilton County public elementary school students in grades K-5 the opportunity to attend a professional arts experience. ArtsBuild covers the cost of transportation and the tickets so that the field trips are free for the schools and the students. Other initiatives ArtsBuild continues to be involved in include visual artist residencies in schools; Ensuring the Arts for Any Given Child, a community-wide multi-year strategic planning effort for arts education in Chattanooga-Hamilton County; and locally hosted annual professional development workshops for teachers led by consultants from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. about how to integrate the arts into all subjects.


I’m new to Chattanooga. Where do I get information about local arts events?

You can find a listing of local arts events by signing up for ArtsWire, our weekly e-newsletter. There are also arts events listed at the Times Free Press's and the Chattanooga Tourism Co.'s Be sure to check the websites of all of our Community Arts Partners to learn more about how to participate in our vibrant and thriving arts community!


Does ArtsBuild have volunteers?

While we don’t have a regular and ongoing volunteer program, ArtsBuild may occasionally have opportunities for volunteer service on our Board of Directors, on our grant review panels, or for special events. Another great way to get involved and learn about potential volunteer opportunities within our diverse arts community is to consider participating in our annual Holmberg Arts Leadership Institute.


How can I get involved?

One great way to get involved is to apply for the annual Holmberg Arts Leadership Institute. Over the course of a few months, the Holmberg Arts Leadership Institute offers behind-the-scenes visits to cultural and educational institutions, panel discussions with community leaders, case studies of arts agencies and a unique forum for pursuing shared goals among arts leaders, educators, business people and foundations. More than 400 people have been through the program since it began.


What can I do to advocate for the arts?

It might sound intimidating at first, but anyone can be an arts advocate! In fact, you’re probably advocating for the arts already without realizing it. Here are a few ways you can help:

  • Share your support of the arts with friends and family, and participate in arts and cultural events.
  • Respond to action alerts from an advocacy network like Tennesseans for the Arts.
  • Meet with Chattanooga City Councilors, Hamilton County Commissioners, Hamilton County Board of Education Members, and other policy makers. Send copies of articles about the arts and arts education to your elected officials.
  • Write letters and articles for the local newspaper about the arts and arts education.
  • Recruit others to advocate for the arts.
  • Attend Arts Advocacy Day in Nashville.

Check out some of the resources we have listed on our website to learn more!

What arts venues and resources are available to the community?

If you are looking for a place to host your next performance or exhibit, we hope this handy Arts Venue Guide will help! To be included in future Venue Guides and informed of updates to the guide, follow ArtsBuild on social media and subscribe to our newsletter.

Is ArtsBuild an art gallery?

ArtsBuild is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization and our mission is to build a stronger community through the arts. We do this through grant-making to local arts organizations and other nonprofits and community groups, arts education initiatives, arts advocacy, and arts leadership. ArtsBuild is not an art gallery. However, we do show artwork in our office space on the second floor of The Arts Building. These small exhibits change every three months or so and have featured an artist or organization with a current or past relationship as a partner or recipient of a grant from ArtsBuild.  If you are interested in hosting an art exhibit at ArtsBuild, please review our Exhibition Proposal Guidelines and Application.

What is in The Arts Building?

There are four organizations in The Arts Building: Scenic City Clay Arts, Townsend Atelier, ArtsBuild, and SoLit. We also have a lovely rooftop deck, the EPB City-View Deck.

Where is ArtsBuild located?

ArtsBuild is located on the second floor of The Arts Building at 301 East 11th Street in Chattanooga.  Click here for a Parking Map.

Want to Know More About the Arts?

Sign up for our e-newsletter and we will keep you informed.

Want to Know More About the Arts?

Sign up for our e-newsletter and we will keep you informed.