NASAA Notes: March 2023

March 7, 2023

Kansas, Idaho and South Carolina: Artist Support

State arts agencies employ a variety of strategies to support the work of individual artists. The most visible artist grant programs are often fellowships, which are generally awarded to accomplished artists and provide unrestricted funding. However, state arts agencies seek to support all practicing artists and do so through a combination of networking opportunities, project grants, business incubators, residencies and other innovative services. Through bolstering the work of independent artists, state arts agencies reach more communities, play an important role in driving creative economic work and assist in educating the next generation of artists.

Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission, Idaho Commission on the Arts and South Carolina Arts Commission all provide a diversified portfolio of artist services. Below is a sample of the strategies that they employ.


A group of people gather around a bonfire at night.

Tallgrass resident artists enjoy a bonfire at their annual gathering. Image courtesy Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission and Tallgrass Artist Residency

Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission (KCAIC) draws on the strengths of partnerships to nurture artists and new works. To learn more, contact KCAIC Interim Director Kate Van Steenhuyse.

  • Artist INC is a training program that addresses long-term planning, marketing, and the fiscal and legal aspects of being an artist. Run in partnership with Mid-America Arts Alliance, the program also explores local and national resources and facilitates a network of peer learning.
  • Indigenous Arts Initiative provides Indigenous artists with opportunities to practice their artforms, network and gain leadership experiences. The program is conducted in partnership with the University of Kansas and takes place in conjunction with the Kansas University Indigenous Cultures Festival. Visiting Indigenous artists assist in mentoring and provide multiday workshops leading up to the festival.
  • New Play Lab and New Dance Lab, which facilitate the origination of new works, are the result of partnerships with Independence County and Johnston County community colleges. The New Play Lab provides opportunities for emerging playwrights from across the country to receive a public reading of their play, receive feedback from national theater artists and join a series of masterclasses during the William Inge Theater Festival. Similarly, the New Dance Lab provides one-on-one and group learning experiences with national artists for Kansas dancers.
  • Tallgrass Artist Residency provides a two-week residency for nine artists each year centered in the small community of Matfield Green near the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. The residency promotes conversation about the unique social and ecological landscape of the Great Plains through bringing together artists of all backgrounds and career levels.


An intricately designed pair of leather and metal spurs hangs on a rustic wooden wall

Spurs, by Traditional Arts Apprentice Jasper Knight. Image courtesy Arts Idaho

The Idaho Commission on the Arts provides funding and opportunities for artists to engage with culture and community. Additional initiatives support business development and professional skills. For more information, contact Arts Idaho Arts Grants Manager Jadee Carson.

  • My Artrepreneur, based on the Montana Artrepreneur Program, provides an in-depth, eight-month course on business skills for artists. Each artist is paired with a mentor and has access to targeted networking. Workshop locations rotate around the state annually and the state arts agency provides a limited number of scholarships.
  • Project Grants for Individuals and Professional Development grants support, respectively, the creation of new artwork and access to training opportunities, like workshops and conferences.
  • Traditional Arts Apprenticeships award up to $3,000 to folk arts practitioners, partnering an apprentice artist and a mentor who share a cultural heritage.
  • The Writer in Residence grant provides $5,000 annually in funding for a two-year appointment. Idaho’s Writer in Residence must engage with eight communities, six of which lack access to arts programs due to socioeconomic or geographic factors.

South Carolina

A collage of photos of artists, clarinets and craft jewelry.

Artists’ Business Initiative’s banner photo featuring current grantees and works of art. Photo courtesy South Carolina Arts Commission

The South Carolina Arts Commission supports artists’ marketability, career sustainability and creative growth. Contact South Carolina Arts Commission Deputy Director Ce Scott-Fitts to learn more.

  • Artist Entrepreneur Incubator is designed for artists who desire to improve their business skills. Participants work with a Newberry College assistant professor to shape their ideas into marketable products, form viable business models and work toward sustainable success. Participants who complete all six sessions receive a $200 honorarium and one-hour consultation with the professor.
  • Artists’ Business Initiative grants encourage and enable the creation, expansion or modification of artist-driven, arts based business initiatives that will provide career satisfaction and sustainability for South Carolina artists (individuals and collectives). Funding is up to $5,000.
  • Emerging Artist grants provide up to $1,800 for emerging artists who have been active for one to five years. This grant is designed to assist emerging artists in South Carolina through project grant funding as well as mentorship and professional support during the grant period.
  • Novel Series is a biennial program partnership with Hub City Press, South Carolina Humanities and South Carolina State Library to highlight South Carolina writers. Writers selected for publication receive $1,500, publication of their book, and marketing and tour support as well as placement in all South Carolina state libraries.
  • Artists listed in the S.C. Arts Directory, provided by the South Carolina Arts Commission, benefit from greater statewide visibility, access to online professional development and digital networking. Additionally, artists can apply for a teaching artist certification, which is a juried process.
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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