Southern Creative Places Grants


A grant opportunity supporting creative placemaking projects for small and rural communities in the South Arts nine-state region.

The maximum request is $5,000; the minimum request is $1,500. A local match of at least 1:1 is required. At least half of the match must be cash. The remainder may be comprised of in-kind contributions such as donated materials, donated services, or other contributed non-cash assets.

Application deadline is 11:59 p.m. EST, April 30, 2018. Projects must take place between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019.

What is creative placemaking?

“In creative placemaking, partners from public, private, non-profit, and community sectors strategically shape the physical and social character of a neighborhood, town, city, or region around arts and cultural activities. Creative placemaking animates public and private spaces, rejuvenates structures and streetscapes, improves local business viability and public safety, and brings diverse people together to celebrate, inspire, and be inspired.”  – Ann Murkusen and Anne Gadwa, Creative Placemaking

The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking says creative placemaking involves six key elements:

  • Building diverse community partnerships to implement ideas
  • Enhancing quality of life in communities
  • Increasing economic opportunity in communities
  • Building healthier climates for creativity and cultural expression
  • Engaging existing assets (both physical and human)
  • Building on the best and distinct attributes of a place

Additionally, creative placemaking leverages the power of arts and culture to build stronger social connections between people in communities. It places the arts and culture into the decision-making and planning processes that impact community life, including land-use, transportation, economic development, education, wellness, housing, infrastructure, and public safety.

Why does South Arts support creative placemaking?

South Arts’ mission is “advancing Southern vitality through the arts.” In its new strategic plan (2019-2023), one of South Arts’ strategic goals is to recognize trends and evolving needs in a wide range of communities and address them through impactful arts-based programs.

Creative placemaking deploys the creativity, inclusiveness and power of the arts to provide real and practical solutions to community challenges.   By supporting creative placemaking throughout the South, South Arts supports strong communities, artists, creative practice, economic development and the distinctive characteristics that make the American South unique. These grants are made available in part through support from the National Endowment for the Arts and Georgia Council for the Arts.

Program Goals

South Arts welcomes proposals that support well-designed creative placemaking planning initiatives and projects in small and rural communities* within its nine-state Southern region. Those states include Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

* Note: Population of 50,000 or below is one standard definition of rural. For this program, South Arts will use this as a guidepost only. Other characteristics may contribute to a community’s sense of being under-resourced, isolated, or otherwise lacking advantages typical of an urban infrastructure. South Arts will consider these characteristics, including population, when reviewing proposals.

Proposals may support a well-developed planning process for a community-based project, or support the implementation of a well-planned project that is ready to launch or in some phase of implementation. All proposals should demonstrate how they will support the following outcomes:

  • Place arts, culture and creativity at the heart of the project, and include representatives from those sectors in the planning and implementation process
  • Improve quality of life in small and/or rural communities
  • Ensure that the project, from planning to implementation, reflects and includes the diversity of the community it is intended to benefit.
  • Build collaborative and lasting relationships with multiple partners across different sectors and disciplines
  • Maintain and build on a community’s unique assets, history and narratives

Types of eligible expenses (not limited to)

  • Facilitated community meetings/charrettes
  • Asset mapping
  • Qualified consultant fees
  • Feasibility studies
  • Travel
  • Development of site plans, drawings, specifications
  • Marketing and promotional materials
  • Artist fees
  • Public events and performances
  • Temporary or permanent public art acquisition, installation, conservation


  • 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.
  • Applicants must send or have sent a senior representative to attend the Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit: Beyond Big Cities: Creative Placemaking in Southern Small Towns and Rural Communities, March 15-16, 2018 in Chattanooga, TN.
  • Organizations must have not-for-profit, tax-exempt status, or be an official unit of local, county or state government. Governmental organizations must provide proof of government status. Educational institutions (schools, school systems, colleges and universities) are eligible.
  • 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 >>
  • 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.
  • Applicants agree to submit a final report, evaluation and to participate in a 12-month follow-up conversation about their project.


  • Applicants are encouraged to contact Rusty Sox,, or at (404) 874-7244 ext. 25, prior to submitting their application to discuss their project. He may also be a resource for information on creative placemaking.
  • Application deadline is 11:59PM EST, April 30, 2018. Projects must take place between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019.
  • 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 accessibility 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.


  • South Arts does not fund historical reenactments, benefits or fundraisers.
  • Grants are not transferable to other activities or events. All changes in a project must be submitted in writing to South Arts before the change in activity occurs. Awards may be revised or revoked in light of such changes.
  • This grant requires a 1:1 match. At least half of the match must be cash. The remainder may be comprised of in-kind contributions such as donated materials, donated services, or other contributed non-cash assets. (Example: For a grant of $5,000, the applicant must match it with at least $2,500 in cash. The remainder may be matched with donated materials, donated services, or other donated non-cash assets from third-party partners or contributors.)
  • The minimum request is $1,500. The maximum request is $5,000.

Review Criteria

The following criteria will be used to review each proposal:

  • Provides a clear description of the community, including geography, demographics and unique characteristics and challenges (10%)
  • Clearly identifies a place-based community challenge or opportunity the project will address (20%)
  • Describes a clear and compelling way that arts and culture will be deployed to address this community challenge or opportunity (25%)
  • Identifying, understanding and addressing the challenge/opportunity (20%)
    • For planning proposals: Clearly describes an appropriate and inclusive planning process to be undertaken, to understand the challenge/opportunity and its causes, and propose arts-based responses.
    • For project proposals: Clearly describes the change that will occur as a result of this project (at the same level/scale of geography as the community description)
  • Provides evidence of strategic partnerships. Describes how partnerships, collaborations and relationships reflect the community and contribute to the success of the project (15%)
  • Demonstrate appropriate administrative and financial capacity to successfully implement and evaluate the project: adequate staffing (professional or volunteer) and leadership, appropriate budget and feasible sources of income (10%)

Review timeline:

  • Proposal deadline: 11:59 p.m. EST, April 30, 2018
  • Notification of applicants: week of May 28, 2018

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 above. 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 Deputy Director, Mollie Quinlan-Hayes, 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.

Support Materials

  • Letters of support: Your application must be accompanied by letters of support from all key partners in the project. Letters should be from each organization’s senior executive and describe the partner’s vision for, commitment to and role in the project, and any financial or in-kind contributions it will make
  • Resumes or biographies of individuals in key leadership, consultant or artistic roles
  • If the project is part of, or builds upon, an existing creative placemaking effort, please provide information and links to relevant websites, media coverage, or other information

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 organizations, you do NOT need to upload your tax determination letter; your tax-exempt status will be verified by a third-party entity (Guidestar).


Prepare and submit your application online. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

Final Report

A final report, including descriptive information about the funded activities, results, participants and actual expenses, will be required at the end of the grant period. South Arts will provide grantees with a format and instructions for completing the report. Grantees are required to document all activities and maintain appropriate records for expenses.


Payment of the grant amount will be made upon receipt of a complete and approved final report.

Resources on Creative Placemaking

Visit these links for further information on creative placemaking: