South Arts Announces $1.3M in Contributions, Completing Fundraising for Southern Cultural Treasures Initiative

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Supported by challenge grants from the Ford Foundation and the Alice L. Walton Foundation, the $6 million program supports 17 BIPOC arts and cultural orgs throughout Southeast over the next three years.

Atlanta —June 22, 2023— South Arts is pleased to announce generous contributions totalling $1.3 million made by ArtsMemphis, Barbara and Amos Hostetter, Daniel Foundation of Alabama, Hyde Family Foundation, and the Windgate Foundation toward Southern Cultural Treasures: a $6,000,000, multi-year initiative supporting Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) led- and -serving arts and cultural organizations throughout the Southeast. These contributions have successfully matched challenge grants presented by the Ford Foundation and Alice L. Walton Foundation to fully fund this initiative. In total, $6.7 million was raised.

The Southern Cultural Treasures cohort gathered in Savannah, Georgia, February 2023. Photo by Sema Films.
Leaders from the Southern Cultural Treasures organizations gathered in Savannah, Georgia, in February 2023. Photo by Sema Films.

Established by South Arts in November 2021, Southern Cultural Treasures aims to acknowledge and honor the diversity of artistic expression and excellence in the Southeast. In July 2022, South Arts announced and awarded 17 organizations that represent BIPOC arts and community-driven stewardship throughout their nine-state region—Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

“The creation of a deeply connected cohort of cultural organizations who are offered transformational support is a rare opportunity,” said Maria Kennedy, Executive Director of The Daniel Foundation of Alabama. “The Daniel Foundation of Alabama is pleased to support such an opportunity for the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame.”

“ArtsMemphis is pleased to join national partners and South Arts in supporting Collage Dance Collective’s Southern Cultural Treasure award,” said Elizabeth Rouse, President & CEO, ARTSmemphis. “Over the past decade, Collage Dance Collective has grown into one of Memphis’ greatest cultural assets.  They have established the biggest dance training program in our city, and their beautifully ambitious and evocative performances have delighted audiences locally and globally.  They truly are a Memphis treasure.”

The 17 Southern Cultural Treasures recipients include:

Southern Cultural Treasures is providing BIPOC-led and -serving organizations with tools and frameworks to establish their own agency and institutional narratives. The initiative encourages growth throughout the South—not only in the context of the arts, but also in the impact on surrounding communities as well.

The program is expected to run through March 2025 and provide each organization with up to $300,000 of general operating grants distributed over three years, an additional project grant of up to $7,500, customized consultant services, networking, cohort building, and knowledge sharing.

“We are so proud that the South Arts region is home to these 17 arts organizations that represent a diversity of cultures, as well as work in service to their communities,” said Joy Young, PhD, South Arts Vice President of Programs. “These Southern Cultural Treasures are critical to animating culture and stirring creativity, making the American South rich and vibrant.”

Following the announcement of the inaugural cohort, the Southern Cultural Treasures began working with a consulting team to identify capacity building needs and areas of learning. Each organization defines their own metrics of success based on a philosophical model of self-determination. The cohort members convened for an in-person retreat in February 2023, and gather online regularly for continued professional development workshops; another in-person retreat is anticipated in the coming year.

In addition to these final funding contributions, the initiative has had initial support by the Ford Foundation, with additional support from Alice L. Walton Foundation, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, Community Foundation of Louisville, Community Foundation Tampa Bay, the Gobioff Foundation, the Infusion Fund, a partnership between the City of Charlotte, Foundation For The Carolinas and generous donors to support the arts and cultural sector, and the Zeist Foundation. 

For more information on the program, its cohort, and funding partners, please visit South Arts’ website.


About South Arts
South Arts advances Southern vitality through the arts. The nonprofit regional arts organization was founded in 1975 to build on the South’s unique heritage and enhance the public value of the arts. South Arts’ work responds to the arts environment and cultural trends with a regional perspective. South Arts offers an annual portfolio of activities designed to support the success of artists and arts providers in the South, address the needs of Southern communities through impactful arts-based programs, and celebrate the excellence, innovation, value and power of the arts of the South. For more information, visit

About ArtsMemphis
ARTSmemphis is the Mid-South’s primary arts funder, working behind the scenes to expand the foundation of Memphis’ arts through diligent and diverse support. The granting organization has distributed over $94 million since 1963 to local artists and arts organizations and further provides financial guidance, organizational advice, marketing support, and networking opportunities and connections. For more information, visit

About Barbara and Amos Hostetter
Barbara and Amos Hostetter invest in leaders and organizations that aim to contribute to a kinder, more equitable, creative, and sustainable world.

About Daniel Foundation of Alabama
The Daniel Foundation of Alabama’s mission is to strengthen communities within Alabama and improve the quality of life for citizens from all regions of Alabama. We believe this can be achieved through support of effective organizations that are focused on building a healthy and well-educated population, living in a vibrant community.

About Hyde Family Foundation
The Hyde Family Foundation is a Memphis-based philanthropic organization that supports and fosters innovative and impactful solutions to some of the city's most pressing challenges. Founded by Pitt and Barbara Hyde, the Foundation has a long history of investing in initiatives that aim to make a positive difference in every Memphis neighborhood and zip code. The Foundation is committed to supporting the local community through its grantmaking. It provides funding across four program areas: thriving arts and culture, high-quality education, vibrant spaces, and communities, and engaged leadership and civic pride. 

About Windgate Foundation 
Windgate Foundation, based in Little Rock Arkansas, is a private foundation established in 1993 whose purpose is to advance contemporary craft and strengthen visual arts education in the United States. Education, health, and community initiatives are an additional area of focus in Arkansas.    

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