South Arts Awards Over $78,000 in Grants to Support “Southern Creative Places”

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Atlanta – South Arts, a nonprofit regional arts organization serving nine Southern states, has announced $78,189 in grants to 18 communities in the region. These grants, made possible through funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Georgia Council for the Arts, support the planning and execution of creative placemaking projects predominantly in small and rural communities in the South.

“Creative placemaking uses arts and culture to activate and animate communities,” said Susie Surkamer, executive director of South Arts. “Creative placemaking puts arts, culture and creativity at the center of planning and problem-solving. It brings people and partners together to design creative solutions to community challenges using arts and culture as catalysts. The results can be more connected communities, enhanced quality of life, more economic opportunities, and the showcasing of a community’s most unique characteristics.”

The grants, which must be matched by the recipient organization, support organizations in South Arts’ region. Organizations applied this spring and were recently notified of their status.

“In our new strategic plan, South Arts has made a commitment to address the evolving needs of Southern communities through impactful arts-based programs,” continued Surkamer. “Supporting these creative placemaking efforts – from a small-business incubator for creative entrepreneurs to public art projects embracing civic pride and even a project using the arts to promote healthy eating and locally-grown produce – is an important step in serving the cross-sector needs of our region through the arts.”

The Southern Creative Places grant program represents South Arts’ first programmatic offering in the arena of Creative Placemaking, following up on its successful co-sponsorship of the Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit in March 2018 in Chattanooga, TN. 

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.

Grant Recipient List:


  • Black Belt Treasures in Camden received a $3,330 grant to create the Black Belt Quilt Trail to showcase a local artistic tradition.
  • The Selma Redevelopment Authority in Selma received a $4,750 grant to create and present a series of photo-documentaries capturing life and stories.


  • Atlanta-based gloATL, Inc. received a $4,500 grant to implement The Traveling Show: Alabama, a community dance project to be produced in Marion, Alabama.
  • The Oglethorpe County Educational and Preservation Foundation in Crawford received a $2,700 grant to expand and promote its quilt trail. This grant is made in partnership with the Georgia Council for the Arts.
  • The Okefenokee Heritage Center in Waycross received a $4,975 grant to place pop-up art galleries in downtown businesses showcasing artwork from area children, youth, and incarcerated individuals. This grant is made in partnership with the Georgia Council for the Arts.


  • The Berea Arts Council in Berea received a $4,750 grant to develop a plan for the Broadway Creative Hub, a creative business incubator and co-work space.


  • The Delta Arts Alliance in Cleveland received a $4,406 grant to develop a Creative Placemaking Plan for their town.
  • The Pike School of Art – Mississippi in Summit received a $4,750 grant to develop a plan to convert a former jail into an arts center.
  • The Yoknapatawpha Arts Council in Oxford received a $4,750 grant to pilot the Connected Communities Creative Lab project, an incubator for local creative businesses.

North Carolina

  • The Pitt County Arts Council/Emerge Gallery Art Center in Greenville received a $4,500 grant to complete an outdoor performance venue and mural.
  • The Toe River Arts Council in Burnsville received a $4,500 grant to install public art intended to counter the loss of traffic created by a new bypass.

South Carolina

  • The Chapman Cultural Center in Spartanburg received a $5,000 grant to establish a cultural center in the majority Hispanic community of Arcadia.
  • The City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs received a $5,000 grant to implement the conNECKted Too project, pairing artists with tiny businesses in an isolated part of Charleston.
  • Fresh Future Farm, Inc. in Charleston received a $3,038 grant for a community mural project celebrating community history and promoting healthy, locally-grown foods.
  • The Holly Springs Center in Pickens received a $4,365 grant to present a festival of Appalachian arts on the grounds of a former school.
  • The Town of Estill received a $3,375 grant to create a mural celebrating diversity.


  • The Glass House Collective in Chattanooga received a $4,750 grant to use arts events to encourage community engagement and input into the redevelopment of a public housing site.
  • The City of Whitwell received a $4,750 grant to create artistic welcome signs at city gateways, connecting to a public park.