Traditional Arts Touring

Residency with Senora Lynch

Residency with Senora Lynch at The Children’s Museum of the Upstate in Greenville, South Carolina in June 2016
Photo credit: Jordan Allums

All Traditional Arts Touring funds for 2017 have been awarded and no further applications for this cycle will be accepted. Please check back for future deadlines.

The minimum grant request is $1,000. The maximum request is $5,000

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 master artist instructing an apprentice. They 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) being practiced in the South include Afro-Cuban batá drum, Catawba pottery, Zydeco music, Choctaw dance, Anglo American quilting, Peruvian retablos, African American gospel music, Chinese zheng, Cherokee storytelling and Minorcan netmaking, among others.

Program Goals

The Traditional Arts Grant Program works to increase the public awareness, understanding and appreciation of the traditional arts and crafts in the South, through funding projects which bring a traditional artist/ensemble and a scholar/folklorist for a multi-day residency in a Southern community.

This funding program is open to a wide variety of organizations, including community cultural organizations, schools/colleges/universities, libraries, museums, presenters, etc. Unincorporated organizations may apply through a fiscal agent. South Arts staff can also direct you to potential resources and networks to identify traditional artists and scholars/folklorists. Applicants are strongly advised to contact Teresa Hollingsworth (Senior Director, Film and Traditional Arts), or 404-874-7244 x 14 to discuss your project before you submit your application.


  • Nonprofit organizations, official units of government, and educational 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.
  • Organizations must have not-for-profit, tax-exempt status, be an official unit of local, county or state government, or apply through a fiscal agent which meets one of the above-listed descriptions. For fiscal agents, tax-exempt status will be verified by a third party entity. Governmental organizations must provide proof of government status. Educational institutions (schools, school systems, colleges and universities) are eligible. 
  • If applying through a fiscal agent, a letter of agreement, signed by both the applicant and fiscal agent that outline the working relationship and responsibilities of both parties must be included.
  • All applicants must have a DUNS number. Applications will not be accepted from organizations that do not have a DUNS number. More about DUNS numbers and how to get one.
  • Eligible projects must include the following:
    • (1) Engagement of a traditional artist or ensemble (meeting the description above of a traditional art form) that resides in South Arts’ region, but not within the applicant’s state for, at minimum, one public presentation and one educational activity
    • (2) A residency of two days or more
    • (3) The public presentation must include contextual/scholarly content by a folklorist or scholar
    • (4) Projects must take place in the applicant’s state
  • Projects may include performing (music, dance and storytelling) and/or visual arts/crafts.
  • Organizations which have failed to submit final reports for any previous South Arts grant by the time of this application will not be considered for funding in this grant cycle.
  • Organizations which fail to properly acknowledge South Arts’ AND the National Endowment for the Arts’ support in programs and press materials may not be considered for additional funding.
  • Organizations are eligible for only one Traditional Arts grant through the fiscal year July 1, 2016-June 30, 2017. Organizations currently receiving funding (for the 2016-2017 fiscal year) through South Arts’ Regional Touring or Literary Arts Touring program are not eligible for this grant program.


  • Applicants are encouraged to contact Teresa Hollingsworth, Senior Director, Film and Traditional Arts prior to submitting their application to discuss their project. She may also be a resource for information on traditional artists, scholars and folklorists in the region. 
  • Traditional Arts applications can be submitted beginning August 10, 2016 for projects taking place between October 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017. The project must take place by June 30, 2017.
  • Applications will be accepted and reviewed until available funds are depleted. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.
  • The project must include both a public performance/demonstration/exhibition involving both the artist(s) and the folklorist/scholar, and an educational/outreach component. For the public presentation(s), a minimum of 60 minutes of presentation by the traditional artist/ensemble and the scholar/folklorist is required, and the event(s) must be open and marketed to the public and dedicated to serving a wide audience. Please note, 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 general 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 is required to fully participate in the public presentation. The traditional artist or members of the ensemble must also conduct the educational/outreach component.
  • 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. For the purpose of these guidelines, accessibility relates to your overall facility and project being accessible to all. In addition to physical access (ramps, accessible parking/box office/restrooms/seating, etc.), communications and programmatic accessibility is not only required but can help your organization build audiences and strengthen engagement. Grant applications should show evidence of thoughtful planning and implementation efforts. The National Endowment for the Arts has resources to assist arts organizations in making accommodations. Please visit the NEA’s website for more information. Applicants must commit to the Endowment’s Assurance of Compliance.
  • NOTE: Please print a copy of your completed application forms for your records.


  • The educational/outreach component is an integral part of the engagement and should be carefully planned. A meaningful educational component should involve concentrated preparation by the traditional artist/ensemble and organization, and include a learning event that has a lasting impact upon the audience (e.g., workshops, lectures and master classes). The traditional artist/ensemble must conduct the educational activity. Please be aware that failure to include an educational/outreach component will result in ineligibility.
  • South Arts does not fund benefits or fundraisers.
  • Grants are NOT transferable to other events. All changes in a project must be submitted in writing to South Arts before the event. Awards may be revised or revoked in light of such changes.
  • Traditional Arts grant awards require a 1:2 match. (Example: For an artist fee of $1,500, the applicant can request $1,000 and provide the remaining $500.) Traditional Arts Touring Grant awards may only be used for artist honorarium and artist travel.
  • The minimum grant request is $1,000. The maximum request is $5,000.

Review Process

  • Applications must be submitted prior to one of three deadlines – September 1, 2016; December 7, 2016; March 15, 2017 for projects taking place between October 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017.
  • A panel of folklorists, arts professionals and other individuals with relevant experience will review all applications according to the review criteria. Panelists may or may not be familiar with your organization, community or the selected artist(s)/scholar/folklorist, so please be clear and specific in your application.
  • Applicants are encouraged to submit grant applications early. Applications will be accepted and reviewed until available funds are depleted.

Appeals Process

You can request a review of the method for South Arts’ decisions concerning grant applications through the Appeals Process. If you did not receive funding or if your grant award was rescinded or reduced, you may submit an appeal based on the criteria listed below. Incomplete applications are not eligible for the appeals process. Dissatisfaction with the denial or amount of an award is not sufficient reason for an appeal.

An applicant not funded may appeal South Arts’ decision if the applicant can demonstrate that the application was rejected for any of the following reasons:

  • Application was reviewed using criteria other than those published;
  • Funding decision was influenced by panelist/staff/committee member who failed to disclose conflict of interest; and/or
  • Application materials (submitted by the deadline) were not provided to reviewers.

If an applicant’s funds were rescinded or reduced, the applicant may appeal South Arts’ decision if the applicant can demonstrate that (a) the project activities outlined in the application were performed, and (b) the contract terms and conditions were followed and fulfilled.

To appeal a funding decision, first contact the Senior Program Director, Teresa Hollingsworth, to review considerations affecting South Arts’ decision. If you believe that you have grounds for an appeal, you must submit your appeal, in writing, to South Arts’ Executive Director, no later than 15 calendar days following the receipt of the electronic notice from South Arts. The submission should contain evidence to support one or more of the allowable grounds for appeal. The decision on an appeal will be made by the Executive Director, who will render a decision within 30 days of the appeal. Mail your appeal to: South Arts, ATTN: Executive Director, 1800 Peachtree Street, NW, Suite 808, Atlanta, GA 30309.

Review Criteria

Applications are reviewed and funding adjudications are made using the following criteria to evaluate each application:

  • Artistic Excellence (30%) – Quality of artist/company
  • Project’s Artistic Merit (30%) – Quality of project
  • Audience Development/Community Involvement (20%) – Quality and degree of audience development efforts and community participation
  • Accessibility (10%) – Quality and degree of facility and program accessibility
  • Organizational Capacity/Evaluation (10%) – Presenter’s ability to carry out and evaluate the project

Support Materials and Work Samples: Please carefully follow these important instructions.

  • Video/audio samples may vary in length; however the reviewer(s) is only required to view/listen to five minutes of material. Poor video quality will prevent the reviewer(s) from being able to make an assessment for the artistic excellence and may result in a low score.
  • Digital photos of artists’ work (for visual artists) are required.
  • Recommended Formats: For audio files, we recommend uploading a MP3 (however, all standard file formats are acceptable). For written documents, we recommend uploading a PDF. For photos, we recommend high resolution JPEG format.
  • Please provide URLs, the link should go directly to the requested information; the reviewer(s) should not have to search for the material. Hard copies of materials, including CDs and DVDs, will NOT be accepted.

Attachments: Please plan ahead with plenty of time to receive and upload these required documents to Formstack.

Proof of Government Status (if applicable)

If you are a governmental entity, please provide your government affirmation letter affirming your organization is a unit of government. For nonprofit presenters, you do NOT need to upload your tax-determination letter; your tax-exempt status will be verified by a third party entity (Guidestar).

Letter of Intent/Contract

The letter of intent or contract between the artist(s), scholar/folklorist and the presenting organization must state the service (including the educational component), dates and fee (signed by all parties).

Applicants are required to submit the following materials

  1. Application
  2. Proof of government status (if applicable)
  3. If applicable, fiscal agent information [staff will elaborate here]
  4. Letter of intent or contract between the artist(s), scholar/folklorist and the presenting organization stating the services (including the educational component), date(s) and fee (signed by all parties)
  5. Artist/company support material – Artist biography, ensemble history, digital photos, etc.
  6. Scholar/folklorist support material – C.V.
  7. Audio or video sample – a representative work sample of the artist/ensemble
  8. Digital photos – a representative work sample of artist’s work (visual artists)
  9. Supplemental documents (optional)
    Other support material (e.g., still images, reviews, letters of support, or brochure) directly related to the application may be submitted. Supplemental documents should not exceed five (5) pages.