Individual Artist Career Opportunity Grants

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Closed on February 09, 2024

Applications for this program are now closed. Join our mailing list to be notified about new opportunities.

Artists, apply for up to $2,000 to take advantage of a milestone opportunity in your career.

The deadline to apply has been extended through February 9, 2024.

Program Description

South Arts recognizes that an invitation to participate in a major milestone opportunity is not always enough. Even with stipends or payments, overall expenses can make such an opportunity inaccessible. To ensure that artists from our region can take full advantage of major opportunities, South Arts offers Individual Artist Career Opportunity Grants.

The Individual Artist Career Opportunity Grant supports a milestone opportunity in an individual artist’s career that is likely to lead to substantial and significant career advancement. Grants of up to $2,000 are available to support eligible proposed and completed (retroactive) opportunities taking place between July 1, 2023, and June 30, 2024.

Individuals receiving this award ARE eligible to apply for other South Arts funding (including the Southern Prize and State Fellowships, Jazz Road, and others) unrelated to this project. South Arts funds cannot be used as a match for this program.

South Arts is committed to diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA). Artists with disabilities, artists who are Black, Indigenous or Other People of Color (BIPOC) and those who self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual (LGBTQIA+), are particularly encouraged to apply.

Prior to applying, artists are strongly encouraged to discuss their application with Program Director Emmitt Stevenson at

Important Dates & Deadlines

  • Applications Open: December 4, 2023
  • Applications Due: February 9, 2024 (the deadline has been extended through February 9, 2024, from the originally-posted date)
    Please note that staff will not be available for assistance after regular business hours, so we encourage questions and submissions as early as possible.
  • Activities Start Date: On or After July 1, 2023
  • Activities End Date: On or before June 30, 2024
  • Award Notification: April 2024
  • Grant period: July 1, 2023 – June 30, 2024 

Additional Details

South Arts reserves the right not to:

  • Consider incomplete or improperly submitted applications.
  • Inform applicants of incomplete or improperly submitted applications.
  • Panelists will not provide comment on any applications.  

Given the volume of applications received, staff will not be able to provide feedback on applications.

Applicants who move from the South Arts region after they submit their application are encouraged to notify South Arts and will not be eligible to receive an award. 

Eligible Opportunities

Examples of opportunities that match the intent of this program include, but are not limited to curated invitations to participate in:

  • SOLO or GROUP EXHIBITIONS at recognized national or international galleries or museums.
  • SELL, PRESENT, PERFORM original work at a significant in-person forum such as a major festival of renown, a juried showcase or similar.
  • SCREENINGS, panels, associated with Media Arts projects.
  • ARTIST RESIDENCIES for research or to create a body of work and build national or international networks across all artistic disciplines.
  • TRAVEL associated with a significant career-building activity.

Examples of opportunities that do NOT match the intent of this program:

  • Opportunities that support and advance the career of groups of artists such as musical bands, dance groups or theatre companies. This program is limited to individual artists only.
  • Cataloging, publication, documentation, promotion or archiving of a body of work.
  • Undertaking advanced study or an apprenticeship with an influential artist.
  • Activities that support participation in a college or university degree program.
  • General showcasing at booking conferences.
  • General professional development activities.

Other types of eligible opportunities not listed here exist. It is incumbent upon the applicant to make a strong and compelling case for the importance of the opportunity and the likely impact it will have on their career. 


While preparing your Individual Artist Career Opportunity Grant application, please refer to the following guidelines. 


To be considered for this grant, the applicant must:

  • Be an individual artist working in one of the following artistic disciplines: visual arts, craft, traditional arts/folklife, photography, performing arts, literary arts, media arts, interdisciplinary arts or multimedia arts
  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Cannot be a matriculated student in a graduate, undergraduate, or high school program
  • Be a United States citizen, lawfully admitted to the U.S. for permanent residence, or have permission from the Department of Homeland Security to work permanently in the U.S.
  • Be a resident of the South Arts Region: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, or Tennessee
  • Expect to maintain residency in the region during the award period. Applicants may be asked to submit a copy of their official state I.D./driver’s license as proof of residency later in the process as verification of eligibility
  • Submit a complete and accurate application 

Individual Artist Career Opportunity Grants will pay up to 2/3 of the total cost of the opportunity, with a minimum award of $500 and a maximum award of $2,000. The individual artist must cover the remaining expenses. South Arts requires a 2:1 match meaning that (as an example) if the total opportunity cost is $3,000, the applicant may request $2,000 and provide the remaining $1,000 from other sources.  

This is a competitive grant program and South Arts expects to award between 10 and 15 grants during this cycle.

Grant recipients should note that award money is taxable income and must be reported as such. Grantees must comply with all applicable city, state, and federal laws, ordinances, codes, and regulations.

To receive final payment, grant recipients are required to submit receipts/documentation of expenses after the completion of the funded activity.

Grant funds will be disbursed as follows: 75% of grant award up to 45 days prior to the event/activity, and 25% of grant award upon receipt of final report and applicable receipts/documentation of expenses. 


Potential applicants are encouraged to contact Director for Arts Engagement, Emmitt Stevenson to discuss the opportunity before submitting an application at; or 404-874-7244 x 825.

  • Applicants may submit only one Individual Artist Career Opportunity Grant application per fiscal year (July 1 – June 30)
  • An individual receiving this award cannot re-apply for a period of four years
  • Individuals receiving this award ARE eligible to apply for other South Arts funding (including the Southern Prize and State Fellowships, Jazz Road and the Folk and Traditional Arts Master Artist Fellowships) unrelated to this project. South Arts funds cannot be used as a match for this program
  • Applicants will be notified of funding decisions via email in early April 2024
  • The grant period is July 1, 2023 – June 30, 2024
  • NEW: All activities and expenses must take place within the grant period.  
  • NEW: Retroactive Activities are Eligible: Applicants can apply for reimbursement of eligible and verifiable expenses associated with an eligible activity that was completed during the funding cycle.  
  • Recipients will be required to document grant-funded activities, keep records of expenses, and submit documentation and receipts to receive final payment
  • Recipients will be required to submit a final report within 30 days of the completion of funded activities. 
Use of Funds

Individual Artist Career Opportunity Grant recipients must use the grant funds as stated in their application and budget. Grants are not transferable to other events or activities except in extenuating circumstances and with written approval from Program Director Emmitt Stevenson. Any proposed changes from the original application must be submitted in writing to, and approved by, South Arts before the activity. South Arts retains the right to approve, revise or revoke the award due to such changes.

Review Process

Arts professionals will review applications according to these criteria, using the narrative, evidence of invitation or opportunity, budget, work samples, and resumé. The criteria are weighted on a 100-point scale:

Career Impact – Up to 50 points (50%) – Likelihood that the proposed activity will lead to substantial and significant career advancement. The opportunity, at this time, is a milestone career-impacting activity. The opportunity may be significant because your artistic practice is informed by being an artist who self-identifies as LGBTQIA+, BIPOC, or as an artist with a disability.

Artistic Quality – Up to 30 points (30%) – Artistic excellence of the applicant as demonstrated through work samples and resumé; and the artistic excellence of the opportunity (the host organization; any other artist(s) invited or selected for the opportunity; etc.).

Capacity/Budget - Up to 20 points (20%) – The applicant demonstrates the ability to complete the proposed activity and leverage the experience into career advancement. This is demonstrated through answers to narrative questions as well as the proposed use of grant funds. 

Narrative Questions

The applicant must answer each question. Applicants should include 3-5 links for websites relevant to the application (e.g. the applicant’s website; that of the host/inviting organization or program in which the applicant wants to participate; etc.). 
Applicants must also include letters of invitation or opportunity for exhibitions, residencies, performances, or programs (if applicable); relevant information about venues/locations, festivals, screenings; and any information about other guest artists or participants and their credentials that are likely to aid in career advancement.

Brief Description

  • In a few sentences, provide a summary of the completed or proposed activity for which you seek grant support including the location, date(s), name of the opportunity/event, and the host organization. (350 characters)

Career Impact - Up to 50 points (limit 1,500 characters)

  • Describe how the completed or the proposed activity will lead to significant and substantial advancement in your artistic career. What about this opportunity elevated or elevates it to a milestone career-impacting activity?
  • Describe your plan for moving your career forward as a result of completing the activity. How will you use your experience (artistically; through new connections and networks; competitively) to ensure the highest impact on your work?
  • Please indicate if your artistic practice is informed by being an artist who self-identifies as LGBTQIA+, BIPOC, or as an artist with a disability. Describe how the project might further your career as an artist who identifies in this way.

Artistic Quality - Up to 30 points (limit 1,500 characters)

  • Describe your artistic practice. How long have you been engaged in this artistic pursuit? What significant milestones have you reached thus far?
  • Describe the artistic quality of the opportunity and how it relates to your own artistic practice and goals. Is or was this a juried or invitational activity? What is the history of the host organization?
  • If you worked with or will be working with or learning from other artists who will/have inform(ed) your artistic practice, please identify them and describe their work.

Capacity/Budget - Up to 20 points (limit 1,500 characters)

  • Describe any collaborations, partnerships or other relationships that were or will be important for undertaking this opportunity and leveraging it for further success, if applicable.
  • List the timeline of activities related to the completed or proposed opportunity, including preparatory and post-activity milestones. (Note that budget information required later in the application will be considered as part of Capacity.) 
Budget & Eligible Expenses

Grants will pay up to 2/3 of the total cost of the opportunity, with a maximum award of $2,000. The applicant must cover remaining expenses, and South Arts requires a 2:1 match (2 South Arts: 1 grantee). Artists may include self-funding in the match. Example: If the total opportunity cost is $3,000, the applicant can request $2,000 and provide the remaining $1,000 from their own resources.

Budget details should identify the source of funds (including self-funding, institutional stipends, or additional grant funding) not covered by this grant request. Total projected expenses must meet or exceed the request by 50%.

Funds can be used for these eligible expenses directly related to participation in proposed activities

  • Travel (air, ground, lodging, per diem)
  • Equipment rental
  • Materials
  • Services/professional fees (preparators, photo/videographers, visa services, master artist stipends, etc.)
  • Facility/space rental or fees
  • Freight/shipping
  • Documenting funded activities or work resulting from the activities
  • Insurance
  • Childcare or eldercare costs that arise as a result of the proposed activity
  • Other (applicant must provide specifics) 
Work Samples

Artists may submit a total of three samples of their own work. All work must have been completed within the last five years and should be dated. A mix of media is acceptable. Work samples will be used to evaluate artistic quality. Work samples should be uploaded, or links to online samples be provided, through the online application form. If files are larger than 25MB, artists are encouraged to link to a web-hosted sample of work.

Samples should not be mailed to South Arts. No hardcopy or physical samples will be accepted.

  • Photographs: Clearly labeled high resolution images of the applicant’s work. Acceptable file formats include jpg, jpeg, gif, png, bmp, tif, psd, pdf, doc, and docx.
  • Audio Recordings: While .wav files are recommended; all standard file formats are acceptable.
  • Video Recordings: URL links to YouTube, Vimeo, or other publicly accessible internet sources.
  • Other: If the applicant’s artform requires work samples to be submitted in another format, please contact us to discuss options. 

Applicants must submit a current curriculum vitae or resumé as an attachment; we recommend these documents be no more than two pages. 

Demographic Information

Demographic information is for South Arts’ use only; this information will not be shared

  • Birth Year
  • How do you describe your gender identity? (Female, Male, Non-binary/Genderqueer/Gender non-conforming, My gender identity is not listed, Prefer Not to Answer)
  • Do you identify as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community? (Yes, No, Prefer Not to Answer)
  • Race/Ethnicity
  • Artists with Disabilities
  • Category/Discipline 
Readiness & Emergency Preparedness

Are you prepared for a crisis? Don’t let an unexpected event, whether natural disaster or human-caused, devastate your career. CERF+/The Artists Safety Net provides multiple resources for artists of any discipline to protect their work, studio, records and physical health and safety.


The applicant affirms that all information in the application is correct and agrees that they have read the guidelines and will abide by the grant terms.

Technical Assistance

To schedule a one-to-one IACOG technical assistance consultation, click here

Schedule A Consultation

Application Requirements

  • Applicant Contact Information
  • Narrative Responses  
  • Evidence of invitation/opportunity (provide attachments) *
  • Budget (match = South Arts 2: Artist 1)
  • Work Samples (limit to 3 samples total)
  • Resumé or Curriculum Vitae
  • Demographic Information
  • Online certification that application is accurate, and applicant agrees to the terms

*Please note that applicants must submit an invitation that is on the inviting entities letterhead with the application by the application due date.  Missing invitations will disqualify the application. 

Frequently Asked Questions

View frequently asked questions and information on managing your grant.


Applications Portal

After reviewing the priorities and guidelines above, visit our Salesforce portal to begin your application or edit an application in progress.

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For questions about Individual Artist Career Opportunity Grants, contact Emmitt Stevenson.

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