South Arts Fund: Grants for Music

OVERVIEW:  The South Arts Fund supports organizations that present touring artists from out of state, with an eye toward enriching the economic, social, cultural, and educational vitality of the South. The fund connects the arts to key state and national policies and advances excellence in the arts.

IP TAKE: The South Arts Fund's grants are only made in the southeast and are only awarded for events showcasing the South. The best way for individual artists or companies to gain access is to approach presenting organizations.

PROFILE: Created in 1975 and supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the South Arts Fund seeks to advance “Southern vitality through the arts.” Its grantmaking spans the region, and includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

The Performing Arts Discovery: American Sounds program introduces programmers from presenting organizations across the world to “artists representing quintessentially American music – traditional/folk, Native American, jazz, blues, Gospel, zydeco, country, bluegrass and more.” Invited programmers receive funds to help cover the cost of international airfare and all lodging and travel expenses within the US. Programmers should have a demonstrable history with presenting American music. Participation in this program is invitation only. For more information, contact Project Director, Mollie Quinlan-Hayes, at or Project Coordinator, Andrea Snyder, at

Jazz Road is a touring and residency program that seeks to bring jazz music and musicians to communities throughout the US. It has tow grants programs. Jazz Road Tours supports small tours for emerging and mid-career musicians. Grants range from $5,000 to $15,000. View the guidelines here and apply here. Jazz Road Creative Residencies “allow artists to spend multiple weeks in collaboration with a presenter and a community to develop/perform new work, foster new connections, and share resources.” Guidelines and application details are posted in the Fall, so check the webpage or subscribe to the newsletter for updates.

Folk & Traditional Arts Master Artist Fellowships support folk and traditional artists of all disciplines. This program provides $9,000 grants to nine master artists from Kentucky, North Carolina, and Tennessee to facilitate their “continued training, research and/or learning opportunities.” Applicants must be residents of one of these states for at least two years before the application deadline. These fellowships support master artists; students and organizations are ineligible. Read the application guidelines before applying.

Momentum: Dance Touring Initiative for Southern Companies supports the professional development of five Southern modern dance or contemporary ballet companies for three-years. The program includes mentorship, networking, conference showcasing and exhibiting, meetings with presenters, tour-prep residencies, and funds to help cover touring costs.

Southern Circuit supports independent film by helping to “provide audiences with the opportunity to meet filmmakers and learn about the art of filmmaking, and encourage community engagement using film as a conduit for discussions about social and community issues.” Participating filmmakers receive a travel stipend and funds to screen their work and engage with audiences.

Deadlines are generally in late spring. New applicants should contact the Fund prior to applying. 


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