South Arts Resilience Fund


Grants of up to $100,000 to ensure arts organizations have the resources to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic more resilient than before

Meet the Recipients

Congratulations to the 34 organizations supported by the South Arts Resilience Fund

Read the Press Release

Nominations Closed

The deadline for nominations has passed. The guidelines below are for reference only.

Detailed Program Description

Resilience FundThe COVID-19 pandemic has magnified the long-term challenges in the arts and culture ecosystem: under-capitalization and lack of working capital, reliance on restricted grants and/or endowment assets, income streams that are not diverse, and reliance on a freelance workforce that cannot sustain themselves. And, because of the "shared experience" nature of most arts experiences, many arts organizations will be among the last types of businesses to fully re-open as our country navigates the pandemic and audiences' uncertainties; these vulnerable — yet vital — cultural institutions will bear some of the hardest impacts on their bottom line. While many generous funders, both private and public, are focused on the immediate recovery needs of these institutions, South Arts and our fellow regional arts organizations are asking: how can we support the long-term resiliency of these vital resources?

With support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, South Arts and our fellow regional arts organizations are beginning to answer this question with the United States Regional Arts Resilience Fund. This fund is supporting new, region-specific programs to build the long-term resiliency of our country's arts organizations. Through the South Arts Resilience Fund, significant grants — ranging from $30,000 to $100,000 — will be available to small- and mid-sized arts organizations (for this fund, defined as having a budget between $250,000 and $10,000,000 in the most recently completed fiscal year) with a history of visionary leadership and deep impact across their state and the region. Emphasis will be given to historically under-resourced organizations, and/or those that represent under-resourced populations, communities, and/or art forms. These grants will allow arts organizations to reimagine their work, increasing their resilience and sustainability as cities and states re-open.

Read the South Arts Resilience Fund Press Release

In complement and contrast with the South Arts Sustainability grants and other CARES Act related funding, the South Arts Resilience Fund encourages long-term planning and work. The CARES Act priorities focused on the immediacy of keeping people employed and organizations open; the South Arts Resilience Fund supports organizations to look into the next year and beyond with programs, planning, and reimagining their work.

The activities that can be supported by these funds are wide in scope, but must address the concept of what an organization needs to do in order to be resilient during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. This might include (but is not limited to) forward-looking activities such as future-scenario planning, support for new media needs (including adaptations, new methods of program delivery, and/or acquisition of software and hardware for online programming), help with the costs of collaborations as well as operating support such as infrastructure and salary for critical staff.

For this program, South Arts is specifically addressing the following:

  • Specific arts organizations that are essential to the region; those with visionary leaders and innovators, and primarily those with statewide, regional and/or national impact.
  • The importance of these organizations to the resilience of their communities, whether geographic, social, or as communities defined by heritage, identity or discipline. We believe that arts and culture organizations will play a key role in community resilience and national recovery, by merit of the ways in which they bring people together, and channel creativity to address problems and deliver meaningful programs.
  • Combating the lines of inequality accentuated by the COVID-19 pandemic and response; this program’s emphasis on historically under-resourced organizations, populations, communities and art forms is a means to invest in a more equitable future.

Through this program, South Arts envisions a more resilient and robust arts and cultural sector that is better able to serve their constituents. The recipients of these grants will have the resources and capital to plan, adapt, and take risks. They will find new methods to collaborate with artists. They will be able to serve as models for other organizations. And, ultimately, audiences across the region will benefit from new entry-points and ways to connect with the artists, organizations, and institutions that foster creativity.

Applications will be available by invitation only. The primary method with which South Arts will invite organizations to apply is through a nomination process. In addition, organizations may self-nominate themselves using the form below.  To be considered for an invitation and nominate your organization, please review the following guidelines and details. Please note that not all nominees will be invited to submit full applications.

Important Dates & Deadlines

  • Nominations must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. ET on June 23, 2020.
  • Invitations to apply and full program guidelines will be sent to accepted nominees on or before July 10, 2020 (Note - this date has been updated from the original date of July 6).
  • Applications from invited nominees are due by 11:59 p.m. ET on July 31, 2020 (Note - this date has been updated from the original date of July 24).
  • Applicants will be notified of their status within 8 weeks of the deadline.
  • Projects and funded activities must occur between September 1, 2020 and August 31, 2021.

Eligibility Requirements

The following is a top-level list of the main eligibility requirements necessary to be considered for a South Arts Resilience Fund grant. A full list of eligibility requirements and guidelines will be made available to nominees invited to submit a full application.

  • Be a tax-exempt nonprofit or an official unit of local, county, or state government based within South Arts' nine-state service area (AL, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, SC, and TN)
    • K-12 educational institutions, and educational departments(art departments, music departments, etc) at colleges/universities/institutes of higher education are not eligible for this program
  • Applicants must have a three-year operating history.
  • Be an organization with a primary focus on arts and culture: this includes, but is not limited to, presenting and/or producing organizations of any genre; film/media organizations; literary organizations or festivals; art museums and galleries; cultural institutions; arts service organizations; etc.
  • Have an operating budget between $250,000 and $10,000,000 based on expenses from the most recently-completed fiscal year
  • Have exceptional artistic, cultural and community impact
  • Possess a demonstrated history of community engagement and support
  • Arts and cultural organizations must have significant statewide, regional (multi-state), or national impact. For the purposes of this program, multi-state regional organizations are defined as organizations that serve at least three states in South Arts’ nine-state region, and organizations with statewide impact must be able to show significant services throughout an entire state or serve significant audiences from throughout an entire state.
  • Eligible expenses supported by this grant include:
    • Consultants or other expenses related to future-scenario planning
    • Support for new media needs (including adaptations, new methods of program delivery, and/or acquisition of software and hardware for online programming)
    • Collaborations and/or mergers
    • Salary support for critical staff
    • Infrastructure (facilities, overhead, utilities, rent, and other similar expenses)
    • Other expenses, to be defined by the applicant, which are necessary to fulfill the goal of resiliency
  • Invited applicants will be eligible to request grants of the following amount based on their most recently completed fiscal year’s total budget:
    • Organizations with a total budget of $250,000 to $600,000 may request $30,000
    • Organizations with a total budget of $600,001 to $2,000,000 may request up to 5% of their budget
    • Organizations with a total budget of $2,000,001 to $10,000,000 may request up to $100,000

Please note that there is no matching requirement for this grant. Additionally, organizations who received funds through a South Arts Sustainability Grant and/or other CARES Act funding through the National Endowment for the Arts, a State Arts Agency, or other organization may also be eligible for this program.

All self-nominations must be submitted online using the nomination form below. For assistance, contact Ivan Schustak at 404-874-7244 ext. 29.

The South Arts Resilience Fund is supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and is a regional component of the United States Regional Arts Resilience Fund.

Self-Nomination Portal

Once your have reviewed the program details, priorities, and requirements above, you may use the form below to nominate your organization. Please note that not all nominees will be invited to apply.

Begin a Nomination


For questions about the South Arts Resilience Fund, please contact Ivan Schustak

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