Literary Arts Touring Grants


Literary Arts Touring Grants offer organizations up to $2,500 to engage Southern writers of fiction, creative nonfiction, and/or poetry that reside outside of the presenting organization's state.

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Applications Closed

The deadline for this grant program has passed. The guidelines below are for reference only.

Detailed Program Description

The Literary Arts Touring grant program offers presenting organizations the opportunity to receive grants up to $2,500 to engage Southern writers (fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry) who reside outside of the presenter’s state. Support is awarded to literary projects that contain both a public reading and an educational component such as a writing workshop. The project can include a single engagement by a writer or multiple writers involved in an event (for example, writers series or festivals). Each writer is required to fully-participate in the reading and educational/outreach component.

New applicants are encouraged to contact Nikki Estes at 404-874-7244 ext. 16 to discuss eligibility prior to submitting an application.

Important Dates & Deadlines

  • Applications must be submitted on or before May 1, 2020.
  • Applicants will be notified by email within six weeks of the deadline.
  • Projects must take place between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021.

Eligibility Requirements

The following is a top-level list of the main eligibility requirements necessary to be considered for a Literary Arts Touring Grant. Please refer to the full list of eligibility requirements in the program's Guidelines.

  • Be a tax-exempt nonprofit or an official unit of local, county, or state government based within South Arts' nine-state service area
  • Engage a writer who resides within South Arts' nine-state service area, excluding the applicant's state
  • Provide a dollar-for-dollar cash match

A full list of eligibility criteria and other project requirements is provided in the guidelines below.


While preparing your Literary Arts Touring Grant application, please refer to the following guidelines. 

  • Only nonprofit and governmental presenting 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.
  • Presenting organizations must have not-for-profit, tax-exempt status or be an official unit of local, county or state government. For nonprofit presenters, tax-exempt status will be verified by a third party entity. Governmental presenters must provide proof of government status. South Arts does not accept applications from fiscal agents for this grant program.
  • All applicants must have a DUNS number. Applications will not be accepted from organizations that do not have a DUNS number. Visit the Dun & Bradstreet website for additional information about DUNS numbers as well as instruction on how to receive one.
  • All applicants must have a readiness plan. Applications will not be accepted from organizations that do not provide the required description of the readiness plan.
  • Eligible projects must take place in South Arts’ nine-state region. Unless there are special circumstances, projects should take place in the presenter’s state (please contact South Arts to discuss these conditions).
  • Eligible projects must include the engagement of an artist or company that resides in South Arts’ region, excluding the applicant’s state. Please note the following exemption for touring within state boundaries: In-state touring is allowed for Southern artists residing at least 400 miles away from the applicant’s location.
  • Presenters cannot receive funding for writers who reside in the presenter’s state (i.e., a Georgia nonprofit organization cannot apply for funding to present a Georgia writer). Eligible projects must include guest writers of fiction, creative nonfiction, or poetry; playwrights are not eligible for this grant program.
  • Presenters are limited to one Literary Arts Touring grant application per South Arts fiscal year.
  • Presenters who have failed to submit final reports for any previous South Arts grant by the application deadline for this program will not be considered for funding in this grant cycle.
  • Presenters who 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.
  • Literary Arts Touring applications must be submitted by Friday, May 1, 2020 by 11:59 PM ET.
  • The project must take place between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021.
  • The project must include both a public reading and an educational/outreach component. NOTE: Readings at conferences and school-focused readings (primarily engaging students, whether taking place at the school or a venue) will not be considered open and accessible to the general public; however, school-focused readings will satisfy the educational component requirement. For the public reading, a minimum of 30 minutes of presentation (reading and lecture) is required.
  • Events must be open and marketed to the public and dedicated to serving a wide audience. 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 and view presentation slides from the fall of 2015. Applicants must commit to the Endowment’s Assurance of Compliance.
  • 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 writer(s) and presenter, and include a learning event that has a lasting impact upon the audience (e.g., workshops, lectures and master classes). The writer(s) 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 an event must be submitted in writing to South Arts before the event. Awards may be revised or revoked in light of such changes.
  • Literary Arts Touring grant awards require a dollar-for-dollar cash match.
  • Applicants are eligible to receive up to 50% of the writer’s fee as listed in the contract, up to $2,500 (subject to funding availability). Indirect and additional project costs are not supported by this grant.
  • The minimum grant request is $500.
  • Applicants can request fee support for multiple writers (subject to the noted limits). Each writer is required to fully-participate in the reading and educational/outreach component.
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 panel members.

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 Program Director, Nikki Estes, 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 written 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.

Narrative Instructions

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

  • Artistic Excellence (20%) – Quality of writer(s)
  • Project’s Artistic Merit (35%) – 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
  • Readiness Plan (5%) – Quality (content, comprehensiveness, and currency) of planning

Helpful Resources:

In addition to organizational and project information, you will need to provide a narrative addressing the following:


(Maximum 500 characters including spaces)

Provide a one-sentence description of the project which South Arts will use in publicity if a grant is awarded, e.g. “Poet Jane Smith will conduct a three-day residency, with two master classes for university creative writing students, a memoir workshop for older adults, a lunch/coffee discussion and sharing with local writers, and a public evening reading at the ABC Lecture Hall.”


(Maximum 1,250 characters including spaces, approximately ¼ page)

List the chronological schedule of activities during the project including what, when, where, who, with/for whom; include ticket prices where applicable. NOTE: If your schedule is not complete at this time, provide as much detail as is known about how many activities will take place, and which community members or groups will be involved.

Artistic Excellence (20%)

The work sample should represent the type of work the writer(s) will read/perform during your project. If sample is part of a larger publication/book, please identify the passage/section for the panel to review. For audio/video samples, identify the particular selection to be reviewed. Optional reviews of each writer’s work will also be reviewed. NOTE: No narrative response is necessary. Evaluation on this criterion is based on the submitted work samples.

Project’s Artistic Merit (35%)

(Maximum 5,000 characters including spaces, approximately 1 page)

Describe the project; include a detailed description of the reading and explain why this writer was chosen. Explain why this project is important to your community. The educational and outreach component* is the requirement that participants be engaged in learning activities that have lasting impact. Describe the educational and outreach component and any additional community activities; describe the anticipated impact for participants.

*An educational and outreach component is a learning event that has a lasting impact upon the audience (e.g., workshops, lectures and master classes). 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 artist(s) and presenter. The artist(s)/company must conduct the educational activity.

Audience Development and Community Involvement (20%)

(Maximum 2,500 characters including spaces, approximately ½ page)

Audience development includes assessing audience and community needs, cultivating audiences, creating a plan for engagement, and developing effective partnerships. Describe the audiences and community segments that you are targeting and engaging with this project. Explain why they were selected for involvement in this project, how they are involved in planning, and what community partners are involved. Describe any plans to broaden or diversify your audiences and any additional efforts to reach those that lack access to arts programs, services, or resources. Describe your marketing plan for target audiences.

Accessibility (10%)

(Maximum 2,500 characters including spaces, approximately ½ page)

Grantees are required to ensure accessibility to funded programs to people with disabilities. Beyond these minimum ADA requirements, describe actions you will take for programmatic and communications accessibility (e.g., planning/advisory committees include people with disabilities, large print programs/labels, American Sign Language interpretation, audio description, specific marketing strategies, etc.). Provide specific strategies on how you will reach those that lack access to the arts due to disability for this project specifically (not your organization’s work in general).

Organizational Capacity and Evaluation (10%)

(Maximum 2,500 characters including spaces, approximately ½ page)

Describe your organization’s ability to carry out the proposed project. Provide a summary of your organization’s presenting history. Describe the project goals and the anticipated outcomes. Describe the evaluation methods you have in place to learn how you are, or are not, achieving your goals.

Readiness Plan (5%)

South Arts is committed to making business continuity planning a priority in the arts, and encourages all arts organizations to develop and maintain readiness plans to ensure their sustainability. If you have a readiness plan, please attach a narrative (up to two pages) describing your plan and how/when you update it.

A readiness plan is a combination of documents, processes and training that formulate what your organization will do should the unexpected occur. It focuses on protecting your organization’s critical functions through an “all-hazards” approach, so you can resume business quickly after any type or size of disruption. Readiness plans should be comprehensive, updated at least annually, and be comprised of more than just a facility evacuation plan, or regular data backups. Plans should cover all aspects of your operations and assets by identifying how your organization will re-start post interruption. Critical functions can be programs, events, communications, people resources, finances, insurance, technology, exhibits, productions, and any other primary activities.

Readiness planning is a required component for organizations applying for our grants, and your organization will be evaluated on the quality of your readiness planning. Quality includes content, comprehensiveness and currency. Content should include documentation, policies, procedures, and trainings/drills of what you will do if your business is impacted or stopped by a crisis of any type. Comprehensiveness means that the plan addresses all of your critical business functions and all key personnel. Currency means the plan (documentation, procedures and trainings) is updated at least annually.

If you have a readiness plan, you will be asked to describe your plan and how/when you update it. You may contact South Arts staff for more information on readiness planning and/or to review draft descriptions submitted at least four weeks prior to the application deadline.

We do not require you to use any particular resource for developing your plan. For more information on readiness planning, read What is a Readiness Plan? and visit ArtsReady. Many state arts agencies are subsidizing arts organizations in their state to use the ArtsReady online tool, and many national service organizations offer discounts. The ArtsReady online tool guides users through developing a customized readiness plan and provides templates and examples of readiness plan elements.

Updates for 2019-20 Applicants

There may be additional funds for engaging Indigenous artists residing in the South. This year, we are happy to partner with Western Arts Alliance (WAA) on their pilot Advancing Indigenous Performance Program that promotes the touring and engagement of Indigenous artists from the United States or its Territories. 

To qualify, the artist must identify as an Indigenous performing artist according to Western Arts Alliance’s definition of Indigenous: A member or descendant of a Native American, Alaskan Native and Native Hawaiian nation or community, including Native/First Peoples of Canada, and U.S. Territories of American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This includes individuals without official tribal status who are members of Native communities, and tribal members or descendants not living in their homelands or home community.

A South Arts application that meets our program guidelines, is awarded a grant through our competitive process, and engages an Indigenous spoken word artist residing in the South may be eligible for a matching grant from Western Arts Alliance dependent upon available funds.  Selected applicants may need to complete additional reporting requirements for WAA and participating artists may be asked to complete a survey. All eligible applications will be forwarded to WAA for final determination of qualification for match.

Application Requirements

  • Application
  • Proof of government status (if applicable)
  • Letter of intent or contract between the writer(s) and the presenting organization stating the services (including the educational component), date(s) and fee (signed by both parties)
  • Writer(s’) resume/biography and a list of published works
  • Representative sample of the writer(s’) work, up to 10 pages for each writer or audio/video sample
  • Supplemental document (optional)
    • Other support material (e.g., reviews, letters of support, or brochure) directly related to the application may be submitted. Do not include audio, video, or other electronic samples. Supplemental document should not exceed five (5) pages, unless the document is a publication.
  • Guest Writer List for multiple writers (if applicable)
  • Readiness plan description (required for eligibility)

All grant applications must be submitted online using the eGrant system. We recommend that you visit the site early to create your account, and become familiar with the system. Complete your application in eGrant and upload the required materials as detailed below. Applicants will be notified of funding decisions by email within six weeks of the deadline. For assistance, contact Nikki Estes at 404-874-7244 ext. 16.

South Arts strictly adheres to deadlines and will NOT accept applications that are late or incomplete. Deadlines are not extended due to inclement weather. Applicants must agree to the Contract Terms of AgreementAssurance of Compliance, and Federal Suspension and Debarment Requirements prior to submission.

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After reviewing program guidelines, log in to eGrant to apply for an Express Grant, edit an application in process, and submit any required reports.

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For questions about Express Grants, contact program director Nikki Estes.

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