Jazz Road Creative Residencies


Jazz artists, apply for a grant to explore your work in new ways. Grants of $5,000-$40,000 available to support a residency you propose & develop for artistic creation or connecting with audiences

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Meet the Jazz Road Creative Residencies Recipients

In October 2021, South Arts announced the 52 artists receiving Jazz Road Creative Residencies awards. Meet each artist and read about their projects.

Meet the Artists

Applications Closed

Applications for this grans are currently closed while we plan for a new phase of Jazz Road. Timing for the next phase is tbd. The guidelines below are for reference only.

Detailed Program Description

Jazz Road logoJazz Road Creative Residencies is one component of the larger program, Jazz Road. Jazz Road is a 4-year national jazz initiative directed by South Arts, funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation with additional support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Jazz Road features a coordinated partnership with the other five Regional Arts Organizations. All work together to deliver technical assistance and grants that enhance jazz artists’ livelihoods through residencies in communities across the country.


To remove the financial barriers that keep mid-career professional jazz artists from investing deeply in their creative practice, attending to their artistic and professional growth, and experimenting across a wide range of artistic and community engagement possibilities throughout the US.


For years before the COVID-19 pandemic, artists have expressed their needs for time and resources to drive new creative vision; explore possible collaborations; and connect their music to communities in socially relevant and lasting ways. Support in these areas is viewed as crucial for musicians to reach new artistic and professional heights while building jazz partnerships and audiences throughout the US.

During the pandemic, artists adjusted to “shelter-in-place” creativity out of necessity. Ever resilient, jazz musicians have faced the temporary decimation of touring and the gig economy. How either will fully rebound is still an unknown. Yet, adjusting to these conditions has given artists a potential period of creative incubation, renewal, and desire to connect to communities in vital ways. Creative residencies, in fact, may be the perfect vehicle to jumpstart larger artistic inquiry, while launching a career milestone for artists in this shifting environment.

Jazz Road Creative Residencies is an artist-centric program that responds to what artists have called for prior to the pandemic, while promoting flexibility for how “residency” can be defined – especially as the jazz and performing arts landscape rebounds through 2022.

Program Goal

To provide financial support for mid-career professional jazz artists from across the US in self-defined residency activities that advance their artistry, creative exploration, community engagement, and lifework in jazz.

Award Amounts

Grant amounts range from $5,000 to $40,000. Grants are awarded directly to artists.

Important Dates & Deadlines

  • Applications open: April 26, 2021
  • Deadline: Now extended through July 12, 2021 by 11:59 p.m. ET (this is an extension of the original deadline of July 1, 2021)
  • Notification: September 2021
  • Grant period: October 15, 2021 – June 30, 2022 

Webinar Overview

The following recording was made to supplement and clarify the guidelines below.


While preparing your Jazz Road Creative Residency application, please refer to the following guidelines.

Applicant Eligibility

Only individual artists (as an individual, an artist-led nonprofit organization, or an artist-led corporation) may apply to this program. An eligible artist is:

  • A mid-career professional jazz artist, working solo or working with a professional composer-led or collective jazz ensemble; 
  • A mid-career professional jazz artist able to show a noteworthy record of work experience and accomplishments in the jazz field; and,
  • A U.S. citizen or permanent resident who is based in the U.S. or its territories. (Non-residents may participate in the project, but are ineligible to receive Jazz Road funds.

Jazz Road recognizes the complete history and aesthetic range of excellence within jazz music and will not attempt to define “jazz” in the Guidelines or communications. The program acknowledges that jazz is rooted in the Black experience and is by nature a communal music informed by artists, elders, and their communities.

The program is intended to support professional artists within a career level spectrum from mid-career to “more accomplished”. Jazz Road recognizes that measures of “higher-level” career success based on perceived visibility, accolades, active touring/recording profiles and income, are subjective. The applicant will define how this eligibility criterion is met.

Current Jazz Road Tours grantees are eligible to apply for Jazz Road Creative Residencies. However, a key Jazz Road objective is to award a large and diverse pool of artists across the U.S.

Creative Residency Eligibility
Residency components:

Residencies are required to be one-to-three-weeks in duration (these dates may be either contiguous or non-contiguous) and may be located anywhere in the US. Residencies are to be catalysts to shape next directions in the applicant’s body of artistic work through focused creative development and/or engagement experience within community. They are meant to provide an opportunity that the applicant believes is a departure from prior artistic practice norms, as well as produce an outcome believed to significantly enhance their career. They are meant to provide for time, inspiration and efforts that are often under-compensated and/or unsustainable.

The program encourages artists’ original ideas for shaping a residency experience. Applicants are able to propose their unique residency goals, structure, budget, location(s), and timeline. Projects can include collaborating artists, multiple disciplines, and partner organizations. Residencies do not require partner organizations to be eligible for support. 

In all cases, applicants must provide narrative that addresses review criteria and priorities, while defining concrete outcomes.

The following sections underscore how essential flexibility is to the program. This is so residency components can include broad possibilities while artists and potential collaborators define “residency” in many ways.

Eligible residencies can address any of three areas:

  1. Creative emphasis: develop, produce, record and/or perform existing and/or new work;
  2. Community engagement emphasis: connect artistic vision, practice and/or new work to opportunities for community immersion; 
  3. Both creative and community engagement emphasis and combinations of the above.

How artists can work with or without artistic collaborators and partner organizations:

  • Individual artist works independently and alone to develop work.
  • Lead artist works independently with an ensemble. Collaborating artist(s) may be included in the residency to develop work which may be single, inter, or multi-disciplinary.
  • Artists work in collaboration with partnering organizations. Partnering organizations may be financial or non-financial partners and may fund, share, or require payment for various expenses and/or in-kind services as applicable. These partners may be organizations (ranging from conventional performing arts centers to alternative spaces) that wish to:
    • commission new work by the artist, and/or present and promote the artist in their venue and/or communities;
    • provide the artist with fees, lodging, travel, hospitality, and/or production space and equipment, or other project expenses while work is in production in the presenter’s venues and/or within communities;
    • be arts and/or non-arts outlets that assist or provide the artist with community access to enable engagement and outreach while promoting events to the public and specific community sectors.

A partnering organization can be included on no more than two applications on a limited basis; to discuss potential partners and determine if they are eligible, please contact your RAO representative.

Residency parameters:
  • Residencies must occur between October 15, 2021 and June 30, 2022.
  • Residencies are required to be one-to-three-weeks in duration (these dates may be either contiguous or non-contiguous) and may be located anywhere in the US.
  • Residencies may take place far away from the applicant’s home and require travel and lodging, or they may take place near, even within, an artist’s home and not require either. 
  • Residencies may take place in wide-ranging sites and spaces.
  • Residencies may be opportunities for artists to work undisturbed in isolation; or gather, make work and quarantine safely as necessary. 
  • Residencies do not require partner organizations to be eligible for support.
  • When working with partner organizations, they may be wide-ranging.
  • Residencies may be centered on creative work development or how artists connect with communities through wide-ranging engagement activities or a combination of the two. The final grant pool will include an equitable number of residencies centered in either area.
  • Residencies will always include some scale of creative development be it writing new work or revisiting existing music – and can feature a range of informal-to-formal performances. Live public performances, however, are not mandatory. 
  • Residencies can include sound/video recording, documentation, and virtual programming.
  • Residencies may include academic settings such as music schools, universities, colleges and institutions of higher learning, so long as the applicant’s creative endeavor is the primary element of the project, and independent of teaching formal curriculum as appointed faculty. The residency must emphasize a competitive artist’s creative practice and engagement, and is not a jazz education program. Highschools may be included as residency activity sites, especially through local arts agency coordination in remote areas.
  • Residencies may include conventional and/or alternative non-profit and/or commercial entities. 
  • Though the application must be submitted by the lead artist, the residency concept may be originally conceived and equally driven by a partner organization(s). The project budget may include costs which will be shared with or paid to a partner organization, if applicable.
Residency project examples include, but are not limited to:
  • create/compose, revisit/rehearse existing and/or new music independently or with partner organizations; in isolation or with additional artistic personnel and/or new collaborating artists
  • utilize site resources, equipment and materials for creative development and production either for purchase or as provided by host organizations
  • promote, produce, and perform live and/or virtual public and/or community engagements. 
  • record new work (via sound, video or other) 
  • document (via video or other) residency creative and/or community engagement outcomes and/or residency-in-process
  • produce an extended engagement residency at commercial and/or nonprofit clubs and lofts to showcase new work and artistic collaborations
  • create opportunities to connect with communities which impact the artist’s creativity, foster new points of entry for artist-community cultural exchange, and potentially build jazz audiences
  • plan community engagement work that will encompass apprenticeships or creative collaborations with elder musicians and prioritize a pursuit for communal/cultural knowledge 
  • self-produce in conventional venues (i.e., artist studio/black box theatre) and/or alternative spaces (i.e., sidewalks to warehouses; parks to corner stores) to enhance diverse performance and audience experiences
  • partner with host organizations that provide a comprehensive pool of resources for a larger scale of co-production required to: commission and/or develop new multi-disciplinary work, foster artistic collaboration and community engagement, and/or present public performances
  • reside and perform in chosen locations that personally resonate for the artist (such as a return to home or creative partnership) and/or remote areas of the country rarely exposed to live jazz performance
  • explore imaginative performance strategies in re-purposed spaces, the outdoors, and safer environments in response to ongoing COVID-19 preparedness

Other combinations of activities that are not listed above may be eligible. Though the program is highly competitive, Jazz Road panelists will evaluate and fund many kinds of residencies which successfully address all review criteria.

The portal application form will require a project narrative with outcomes, timeline and budget to fully delineate the residency scope and outcomes.

Examples of Residency Sites and/or Partner Organizations:

Residency projects can occur in many kinds of spaces/venues, be they traditional or alternative, arts-identified, or not. Though not required, applicants can choose to collaborate with organizations in informal ways or identify formal residency partner organizations. Eligible organizations are wide-ranging, and include the following. It is advised that all residency participants model COVID-19 safety and social distancing measures as necessary or mandated.

The following are eligible to be included in a project:

  • Nonprofit and commercial jazz/arts presenters, venues and clubs
  • Performing arts centers, theaters, and concert halls
  • Rehearsal and recording studios
  • Home studios
  • Universities, colleges and institutions of higher education
  • Jazz festivals
  • Local arts agencies/councils
  • Radio station live in-studio programs
  • Artist spaces
  • Community centers 
  • Churches, synagogues, mosques and other places of worship
  • Embassies
  • Galleries
  • Museums
  • Listening rooms and libraries
  • House concerts
  • Open-air markets, plazas, parks and patios
  • Community hangouts from bodegas to recreation centers
  • Local retail and civic/municipal events
  • Other entities as applicable
Letter of Intent/Agreement Requirements

Each primary artistic collaborator and partner organization listed in the application must demonstrate their commitment to the project by providing a co-signed Letter of Intent/Agreement between themselves and the artist.

The following parties must provide Letters of Intent/Agreement for the application, if applicable:

  • Primary collaborating artist(s) (Not to include applicant’s ensemble members)
  • Primary organization identified as a partner/host organization 
  • Any additional entity listed in the residency narrative that is integral to the project

The letter must include, if applicable:

  • Primary residency provisions/usage/terms including date, time, location, and partner’s contact information
  • Primary residency provisions/usage/terms related to payments, fees, and other key conditions listed in the project budget
  • Planning for COVID-19 precautions or cancellations, if applicable

Letters may or may not be considered legally binding and/or contingent upon receiving funding from Jazz Road Creative Residencies based on determination. 

Contracts that include the above information can be submitted in lieu of the Letter of Agreement, if applicable.

Eligible Expenses and Budget Information

The following expenses are eligible for grant support:

  • Salaries/artist fees: the equitable amount the artist/ensemble and collaborating artists are normally paid for creative development (planning, rehearsal, production), performance, and community engagement time and activities for this project
  • Travel (ground and air)
  • Hotel/Lodging
  • Meals
  • Backline and equipment rental
  • Space rental
  • Sound recording and video production engineering (personnel and materials)
  • Technology needs (hardware and software) for electronic and/or virtual work
  • Tour/project management personnel or services
  • Copyist, if applicable
  • Supplies and materials
  • Shipping
  • Communications and event publicity/promotion costs (personnel, print and social media)
  • Costs specific to community engagement (including community participant stipends, meeting costs, transportation, and space rental, if applicable)
  • Related permit and license fees, if applicable
  • Costs specific to project evaluation
  • Child/elder care costs, if applicable
  • COVID-19 safety precaution costs, if applicable
Project Budget

Applicants are required to complete a budget template in the application portal. 

Grant Support

Jazz Road Creative Residencies grants will range between $5,000 - $40,000. Grants will be awarded directly to artists to cover eligible residency expenses.

  • Partnering organizations may be financial or non-financial partners and may provide coverage for various expenses and/or in-kind services as applicable, or not at all. Should the project budget include eligible expenses that the applicant and partner will jointly incur, they may be included in the grant amount request.
  • The grant amount is not required to be matched. If matching revenues transpire for the project, they are not required to be listed in the project budget template. 
  • Grants will be awarded for the total amount requested provided all expenses are eligible and the request is within $5,000 - $40,000.
Review Criteria

Panels composed of specialists in the jazz field will review applications and make recommendations for support. Panels will reflect diverse racial, ethnic, gender, and geographic representation as well as range in jazz aesthetic points of view and experience. Applications will be evaluated using the following criteria:

Artistic Excellence (25%)

  • Artists (individual and/or ensemble applicant(s) and primary artistic collaborator, if applicable) demonstrate artistic excellence as evidenced by submitted work samples and artist(s) record of achievement (defined in biographies).

Project Narrative (25%)

  • Project narrative includes a clear and viable description of the residency goals, participants, activities, location, planning, and timeline;
  • The applicant defines how they and/or the project represent the equity priorities (listed below);
  • If partnership(s) are included in the project, they are clearly described with roles, parameters, and shared expenses plainly defined, if applicable, as well as how the partnership is necessary for the success of the project. 

Residency Outcomes (25%)

  • Application describes what project outcomes the residency is intended to produce and how they will be achieved; 
  • Application describes the level of artistic and creative growth, and kinds of career-defining outcomes, that are expected as a result of the residency; 
  • Application describes what creative or professional outcomes are to be achieved through community engagement, if applicable, and how the outcomes impact the artist(s) .

Capacity (25%)

  • Application demonstrates project management capacity to complete the residency, including ample direction and logistical coordination which collaborating artist(s) and/or partners rely on, if applicable;
  • Applicant demonstrates financial planning, which includes developing and maintaining an appropriate and realistic project budget; 
  • Applicant has developed an appropriate evaluation plan to describe the successes/challenges of the residency and measure residency outcomes; 
  • Applicant has developed a residency plan which leverages best practices experienced during COVID-19 safety protocol response, if applicable.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are primary lenses for all Jazz Road Program deliberations and considerations. In addition to the evaluation criteria listed above, South Arts seeks Creative Residencies applications and a final pool of grantees that are representative of the jazz field in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, and geographic location. The program also strives to award artists and residency projects in each of the six US regions, including rural and remote areas.

Demographic Information

Demographic information is for South Arts’ use only. The application form requests your identification of the following information:

  • Birth year
  • Gender identity
  • Race/Ethnicity
  • U.S. citizen and/or residency status
Grant Award and Payment

South Arts contracts with the applicant artist (as an individual, an artist-led nonprofit organization, or an artist-led corporation). The applicant must provide government-required documentation showing his/her U.S. citizenship or Permanent Resident status, if applicable. The grantee is solely responsible for the management of the residency project and disbursement and reporting of the grant income. Grant award agreements will include all essential terms required for receipt of the award, including advance notice of content required for final report completion.

Grantees will receive 75% of the grant amount no sooner than 45 days before the project begins. The remaining 25% will be disbursed upon approval of a submitted final report. Grant funds are taxable income.

Application Submission and Deadline

South Arts recognizes that individuals are not always able to successfully access the technology platforms necessary to complete an electronic application. Staff members are available to assist individuals with the online portal application process including account creation, data entry or retrieval, link and document uploads, and application submission.

Completed applications, including Letter(s) of Intent/Agreement and work samples, may be submitted either electronically through the GO Smart portal (by 11:59 PM ET) or physically via mail (postmarked) by the extended deadline of July 12, 2021 (this is an extension of the original deadline of July 1, 2021).

Physical copies of the application may be requested, and should be returned to:

South Arts
1800 Peachtree Street, NW
Suite 808
Atlanta, GA 30309

Applications will be submitted through the GO Smart online portal.

Application Requirements

  • Applicant/Artist Information
  • Artistic Collaborator(s) Information, if applicable
  • Primary Partner Organization(s) Information, if applicable
  • Biography(ies) of Applicant and key artistic personnel or collaborators, if applicable
  • Link to Artist Website(s) and Other Social Media Links
  • Residency Summary
    • Artistic Excellence
    • Project Narrative
    • Residency Outcomes
    • Capacity
  • Signed Letter(s) of Intent/Agreement, if applicable
  • Residency Project Budget
  • Three video and/or audio links that best represent the applicant’s music


South Arts recognizes that developing an application may take significant research. To assist with this, we have assembled a list of resources that applicants may find helpful.

View the Jazz Road Resources

Application Portal

Applications for this grans are currently closed while we plan for a new phase of Jazz Road. Timing for the next phase is tbd. The guidelines above are for reference only.


For further information about any of the Jazz Road initiatives, contact your RAO representative.

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