NASAA Notes: March 2022

March 1, 2022

Oklahoma and Tennessee: Advancing Rural Arts Development

State arts agencies play a vital role in promoting arts opportunities in rural communities that, while rich in cultural assets and traditions, may face geographic or economic barriers to arts development. The Oklahoma Arts Council and the Tennessee Arts Commission recently launched new grant programs designed to advance rural development through the arts, culture and creative placemaking.

Oklahoma: Rural Arts Opportunity Grant

Children and young adults performing on stage

A performance by Children’s Musical Theatre of Bartlesville; photo courtesy Oklahoma Arts Council

In Oklahoma, Rural Arts Opportunity Grants aim to boost arts capacity and cultural infrastructure in 36 rural Oklahoma counties. The grant program represents the Oklahoma Arts Councils (OAC) commitment to advancing state goals related to economic development, education and quality of life in rural, remote and tribal communities. An analysis of the council’s funding history and award distribution, with a special focus on supporting historically underfunded areas, led the agency to identify 36 counties eligible for this funding opportunity. The program was made possible through the funds OAC received from the Oklahoma state legislature last year to leverage resources to areas of the state that have limited access to arts and cultural opportunities.

The grant is available to nonprofit organizations, local government entities, federally recognized tribal nations and public libraries located in select counties. OAC will provide up to $5,000 to organizations for programs that aid an organization’s or community’s capacity to provide arts experiences and programming, in addition to organizational and board planning, evaluation, strategic planning, audience development or marketing. Grant funds also can be used for workshops focused on hands-on learning and audience based arts programs, such as performances, exhibitions, festivals or virtual programs. To make the opportunity more accessible to organizations with limited means, up to 50% of the required match may be comprised of in-kind support. For more information, contact Oklahoma Arts Council Grants Director Thomas Tran.

Tennessee: Creative Placemaking with Rural Arts Facilities Fund

Musicians performing to an audience in an outdoor setting

A crowd enjoys old-time music at MaupinFest in Unionville, Tennessee. Photo by Sarah Terpstra Hanson

In a continued effort to advance the arts as a driver of the creative economy and creative placemaking in rural areas, the Tennessee Arts Commission is offering Rural Arts Facilities Fund (RAFF) grants. Through this program, the Commission aims to strengthen rural communities by expanding arts and cultural opportunities for underserved audiences, creating jobs, developing tourism, enhancing creative learning opportunities, and fostering a community’s distinctive identity and quality of life. The RAFF program is based on the work the Commission accomplished through its recent Creative Placemaking and Tennessee Stages programs and complements the agency’s Targeted Arts Development InitiativeSmall Rural Partnership Support and Rural Arts Project Support funding categories.

Grants ranging from $20,000 to $100,000 will be awarded to projects that help renovate, preserve or enhance rural arts facilities, including performing arts centers, art museums and galleries, multipurpose arts centers, amphitheaters, and mobile stages. Nonprofit organizations and local government entities qualify for this grant. The program uses a combined rural designation defined by the Governor’s Rural Task Force and the designation used by the Commission’s Rural Arts Project Support and Small Rural Partnership Support grant programs. The evaluation panel seeks a diversity of project designs, locations and community settings across Tennessee from applicants and will be prioritizing organizations in distressed and at-risk counties. For fiscal year 2023, the Commission received 25 RAFF applications by the February 15, 2022, deadline. For more information, contact Tennessee Arts Commission Director of Community Arts Development Shannon Ford or Director of Performing Arts Jared Morrison.

In this Issue

From the President and CEO

State to State

Legislative Update

The Research Digest

Announcements and Resources

More Notes from NASAA




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