Professional Development & Artistic Planning Grants


These grants offer up to $1,000 to support artistic planning and the professional development needs of Southern presenters, programmers, or curators.

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New Requirement

This grant requires a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI). Obtaining your UEI could take a minimum of 30 days. Read more about obtaining a UEI to begin the process today.

How to obtain a UEI

Detailed Program Description

Professional Development and Artistic Planning Grants are available to support the professional development needs of Southern presenters, programmers, or curators, for strengthening program design or increasing organizational capacity. South Arts strongly believes professional development for presenters/programmers/curators is integral to success, including traveling to see new works and attending convenings. This grant program is open to film, visual arts, performing arts, traditional arts, literary arts, and multidisciplinary organizations.

This funding can support staff’s travel expenses to conferences, festivals, exhibitions, workshops, and other professional development opportunities. Funding also supports guest artists’ or guest curators’ travel expenses for onsite planning meetings with presenting organizations. These grants support travel expenses (for example, lodging and air/ground transportation), admission/registration fees, and other related expenses. In addition, these grants support expenses for virtual professional development opportunities and staff training (for example, diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility training or technology training for virtual engagements).

South Arts is committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. We have prioritized this commitment to ensure that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) led organizations, LGBTQIA+ led organizations, and organizations led by people with disabilities are represented as both applicants and grantees. In addition, we encourage applications for projects that engage BIPOC artists, LGBTQIA+ artists, and artists with disabilities.

New applicants are encouraged to contact Nikki Estes at 404-874-7244 ext. 816 to discuss eligibility prior to submitting an application.

Important Dates & Deadlines

  • Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
  • Applications must be submitted at least 60 days prior to the project start date.
  • Applicants will be notified by email within four weeks of submission.
  • Eligible projects must occur between July 1, 2023 and June 30, 2024.

Eligibility Requirements

The following is a top-level list of the main eligibility requirements necessary to be considered for a Professional Development and Artistic Planning Grant. Please refer to the full list of eligibility requirements in the program's Guidelines.

  • Be a tax-exempt nonprofit, an official unit of local, county, state government, or a federally recognized tribal community based within South Arts' nine-state service area (AL, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, SC, or TN)
    • Ineligible applicants include:
      • Organizations based outside of AL, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, SC, or TN
      • Fiscally sponsored organizations 
      • For-profit businesses or organizations
      • Artists or ensembles
  • Be for new opportunities and relate to the applicant’s work as a presenter (for the purposes of this program, we define presenters as organizations that present or host guest artists for engagements in their communities)
  • Have a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI)
  • Provide a dollar-for-dollar cash match

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

The experience was invaluable. Meeting face-to-face with [our] contemporaries in North Carolina and witnessing the performances in action will help us ensure that the Miami performances successfully resonate with our own

Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts


While preparing your Professional Development and Artistic Planning Grant application, please refer to the following guidelines. 

  • Only nonprofit and governmental presenters/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. 
  • Presenters/presenting organizations are defined as organizations that present or host artists for engagements in their communities. This program accepts applications from film, visual arts, performing arts, traditional arts, literary arts, and multidisciplinary presenting organizations. Typically, producing organizations or performing arts groups are not considered presenters, and are strongly encouraged to contact South Arts to discuss eligibility.
  • Applicants must have not-for-profit, tax-exempt status; be an official unit of local, county, or state government; or be a federally recognized tribal community. Applications are accepted from any tribal community with not-for-profit, tax-exempt status. For nonprofit applicants, tax-exempt status will be verified by a third-party entity. Governmental applicants must provide proof of government status. South Arts does not accept applications from fiscal agents for this grant program.
  • Applications will not be accepted from organizations that do not have a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI). Learn more about obtaining a UEI here.
  • Applications are only accepted for new opportunities that organizations, under normal circumstances, are unable to attend. For the purposes of these guidelines, new opportunities are defined as events/activities that your organization has not participated in previously. Proposed projects must support or relate to the applicant's work as a presenting organization.
  • Applicants are limited to one Professional Development and Artistic Planning application per South Arts fiscal year.
  • Applicants 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 from this grant program until they have completed a conversation with program director Nikki Estes.
  • Applicants who did not properly acknowledge South Arts' AND the National Endowment for the Arts' support in programs and press materials for any previous South Arts grant may not be considered for funding from this grant program.
  • Professional Development and Artistic Planning applications must be submitted at least 60 days prior to the activities.
  • All activities must take place between July 1, 2023 and June 30, 2024.
  • For artistic planning projects, only guest artists or guest curators located outside of the applicant’s state are eligible.
  • All grant recipients are required to provide accessibility for constituents with disabilities at grant-funded events. The National Endowment for the Arts has resources to assist arts organizations in making accommodations. Please visit the Endowment’s website for more information.
  • Applicants must commit to the Endowment’s Assurance of Compliance.
  • Professional Development and Artistic Planning grants are NOT transferable to other services. Any changes in the activities must be submitted in writing to South Arts before the activities begin. Awards may be revised or revoked in light of such changes.
  • Professional Development and Artistic Planning grant awards require a dollar-for-dollar cash match. Grant recipients are required to submit receipts to document expenses (excluding mileage and meals). Mileage will be reimbursed at the current federal rate. A per diem of $50 per day is provided for meals and non-alcoholic beverages for the travel dates.  
  • Applicants can request a grant up to 50% of the travel and project expenses, up to $1,000 (subject to funding availability). For example, a project with travel expenses of $2,000 or more means the applicant can request $1,000 and must provide a cash match of $1,000.
  • The minimum grant request is $250.
  • The maximum grant request is $1,000.
  • Due to federal sanctions, an application involving international travel or supporting international artists must be discussed with South Arts prior to submission.
  • An application may be submitted to support multiple staff members or artists (as long as the maximum request is not exceeded).
  • Applications to attend a convening sponsored by a local/state arts agency will NOT be accepted in this grant program; we encourage applicants to contact their State Arts Agency for assistance.
  • Applications for professional development activities already supported by South Arts (such as scholarships or travel subsidies) will NOT be accepted in this grant program; we encourage applicants to apply for the available program assistance.
  • Special consideration will be given to presenting organizations who have experienced an ongoing hardship and have been unable to continue their professional development, and to organizations in under-resourced communities. Under-resourced communities include those communities in which people lack arts programs, services, or resources due to geography, economic conditions, cultural background, socio-political circumstances, disability, age or other demonstrable factors. The term “community” can refer to a group of people with a common heritage or characteristics, whether or not living in the same location.
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 a 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 panelist/staff/committee 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 request a review of the considerations affecting South Arts' decision. Subsequently, if you believe there are grounds for an appeal, you must submit your appeal, in writing, to South Arts' President & CEO 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 President & CEO will make and render a final decision within 30 days of the appeal.

Mail your appeal to:
South Arts
ATTN: President & CEO
1800 Peachtree Street, NW
Suite 808
Atlanta, GA 30309

Narrative Instructions

Review Criteria

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

  • Impact (60%) – Potential impact on organization, community, or intended audience
  • Need (20%) – Need for planning visit or professional development opportunity
  • Planning (20%) – Evidence of effective planning

Helpful Resources:

  • A sample application from a past grantee demonstrating a clear, succinct, and well-organized application that was evaluated very highly in the review process.

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


Provide a one-sentence description of the professional development activity which South Arts will use in publicity if a grant is awarded, e.g. “Jane Doe will attend a spring conference and participate in daily workshops and networking sessions in Knoxville, Tennessee.” or “Three visual artists will visit Atlanta for a two-day planning session with the gallery staff to discuss the upcoming group exhibition and community engagement ideas.” (Maximum 500 characters including spaces)

  1. Describe your organization’s mission and presenting/programming history. (Maximum 1,500 characters including spaces)*
  2. Provide a description of your professional development need (include details about the project, event, or planned activities) or the artist planning visit (include details about the itinerary/agenda). (Maximum 1,500 characters including spaces)*
  3. Describe the goals and the anticipated benefits of the planned activities or agenda. (Maximum 1,500 characters including spaces)*
  4. Explain how the activities fit your role and responsibilities within the organization. Explain why you need this particular activity at this time and why financial assistance is needed. (Maximum 1,500 characters including spaces)*

Upload an itemized budget of the projected expenses. Include cost estimates for air/ground transportation, lodging, or admission/registration fee, and other related expenses. Mileage will be reimbursed at the current federal rate. A per diem of $50 per day is provided for meals and non-alcoholic beverages for the travel dates.

Updates for 2023-24 Applicants

Please be aware of the following major updates to the 2023-24 cycle:

  • We have a new grants management system. Please visit our new portal to create an account and begin your application. All organizations need to create new account logins and passwords. Passwords from prior grant portals do not transfer.
  • Applicants must have a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI). Read more about HOW TO OBTAIN A UEI.

Application Requirements

Please plan plenty of time to organize your application in our Salesforce grant management system. South Arts encourages applicants to contact us with questions or concerns about accessing Salesforce before submitting an application.

  • Application
  • Proof of government status (if applicable)
  • Summary of the applicant’s most recent year of programming
  • Information about the conference, workshop, planning meeting, event, or participating artist’s biography
  • Support document such as the registration form, invitation to visit/participate, or artist agreement

All grant applications must be submitted online using our grants management system. We recommend that you visit the site early to create your account and become familiar with the system. Complete your application and upload the required materials as detailed above. Applicants will be notified of funding decisions by email within 4 weeks of the application submission. For assistance, contact Nikki Estes at 404-874-7244 ext. 816.

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 applicable Contract Terms of AgreementAssurance of Compliance, and Federal Suspension and Debarment Requirements prior to submission.

Application Portal

After reviewing program guidelines, log in to Salesforce to apply for a Professional Development and Artistic Planning Grant, edit an application in process, and submit any required reports.

Log in to Salesforce

Manage Your Award

Review recipient terms and conditions, download the appropriate logos, access final reporting requirements, and more.

Manage Your Grant


For questions about Professional Development and Artistic Planning Grants, contact program director Nikki Estes.

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