A new, multi-year program supporting BIPOC-led and -serving arts and cultural organizations.
The Southern Cultural Treasures initiative is modeled on the Ford Foundation’s “America’s Cultural Treasures” initiative. This national initiative aims to support arts and culture groups “that have been historically marginalized, underfunded and underrepresented in the narrative of American culture.”
South Arts’ purpose in developing the Southern Cultural Treasures Program (SCT) is to acknowledge and honor the diversity of artistic expression and excellence of arts and cultural organizations led by and serving people of color in the South Arts region.
Through this initiative, South Arts will provide critical funding and resources that lead BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) organizations to stability and success, and enhance their ability to expand their impact on the regional cultural landscape. South Arts has, through a generous matching gift from the Ford Foundation, a unique opportunity to leverage funding to catalyze increased funding support for arts and cultural organizations led by and serving people of color in the South Arts region.
In “Not Just Money: Equity Issues in Philanthropy,” published by the Helicon Collaborative in 2017, Helicon identified that the existing systems and structures have constant traits. On the one hand, they promulgate financial sustainability of White and European arts and cultural organizations while, on the other hand, they prevent the same benefits to arts and cultural groups serving communities of color. In 2021, the same systemic inequities hold true as the effects of the pandemic bring this disparity in sharp relief. It will require meaningful investments over sustained periods to help BIPOC led and serving arts and cultural organizations grow their capacity and financial reserves to overcome these historic challenges.
The goal is to provide financial capital and other resources to BIPOC led and serving arts and cultural organizations, such that these organizations are positioned to achieve self-determined success.
South Arts envisions a future in which everyone has equitable access to the arts regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, ability, geography, religion, and thinking/communication styles. Only by creating a more equitable arts landscape can we meet South Arts’ mission of advancing Southern vitality through the arts. This initiative addresses the South Arts strategic goal of advancing impactful arts-based programs that recognize and address trends and evolving needs of a wide range of communities in the South.
The Southern Cultural Treasures Initiative is a four-year initiative to support our nine-state region’s BIPOC-led and -serving arts and culture organizations.
The Southern Cultural Treasures Program will support the long-term stability and resiliency of organizations that contribute to the history, culture, and vitality of the nine-state South Arts region. We anticipate that the grant period will run between April 2022 until March 2025 and support 12 -15 organizations by providing each:
A Southern Cultural Treasure grantee is expected to represent artistry, cultural heritage, and creative expression of their respective communities, be located within the 9-state South Arts region, and have one or more of the following characteristics:
For the purposes of this program, the term “community of color” can refer to a group of people, geography, or community/communities of creative practice. The term “BIPOC led and serving arts and cultural organizations” are defined as at least 51% of the staff and/or board is composed of communities of color and more than 51% of the organizations’ activities are related to and/or engage communities of color.
South Arts reserves the right to adjust dates and deadlines.
Please review the full eligibility information and guidelines below to learn more about the Southern Cultural Treasures program before beginning your Letter of Interest to Participate.
The Southern Cultural Treasures initiative will utilize a three-step selection process. South Arts will first accept an online Letter of Interest to Participate (LOIP) from any eligible and interested BIPOC led and serving arts and cultural organization. Following a review from staff and other stakeholders, up to 40 LOIPs most closely aligning with the program goals and organizational characteristics will be invited to participate in step-two, the full application.
The full application will consist of narrative questions about the organization. Following a review from staff and other stakeholders, approximately 20 organizations from (among the 40) will be invited for the third step, an interview. After the interviews, a cohort of 12-15 organizations will be selected as Southern Cultural Treasures.
The following is a list of expectations of applicants who want to participate in this initiative:
South Arts welcomes letters of interest from BIPOC led and serving arts and cultural organizations to include but not limited to:
Ineligible organizations include:
The following webinar was recorded on November 12, 2021.
After you have reviewed the program details, guidelines, and priorities above, visit GoSmart to begin, edit, or submit your Letter of Interest.Log in to GoSmart
For questions about Southern Cultural Treasures or developing your Letter of Interest to Participate, please contact us at 404.874.7244 x111 or by email.Email Us