View the AE-MG FY 2020 Guidelines

Arts Education Mini-Grant (AE-MG)

The Arts Education Mini-Grant Application will open on June 1, 2019 for projects occurring between July 1, 2019-June 15, 2020. 

Fiscal Year 2020
Application Deadline: 30 days prior to the beginning date of the project activity 

This grant category provides funds ranging from $500 to $3,000 for projects that support one of the following Arts Education objectives and strategies below.

Objective 1: Leverage arts and cultural assets to increase access and improve quality of arts learning for all Tennessee children and youth.

  • Strategy a: Empower wide network of stakeholders with tools, convening and data to address planning, policy and practice for arts learning.

Projects meeting this objective and strategy should consist of efforts to develop a strategic arts education plan for their community informed by data and must include information from the Tennessee Arts Education Data Project. The project should include a gathering of a diverse team of stakeholders that must include school representatives and may also include public school teachers, administrators, district personnel, artists, parents, students, community members, and other education leaders. Teams should review data; complete a SWOT analysis by identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for arts education in specific communities; and construct a strategic arts education plan.

Applicants will be encouraged to submit the plan and report on project outcomes during the grant closeout process.

Funds under Objective 1 may be used to support contracted fees (such as a strategic planning consultant/facilitator and/or contracted fees for substitute time for teacher participation), travel, and consumable supplies to develop the strategic arts education plan. Funds may not be used for marketing costs.

For a helpful guide to effective planning, view the Insider’s Guide to Arts Education Planning, originally co-authored by Laurie Schell, Elizabeth Lindsley, Ed.D., and Peggy Burt and published by the California Alliance for Arts Education in 2007. Now in its 3rd Edition, this comprehensive guide is not tailored to the arts education landscape in Tennessee; however, the seven stages of planning are applicable to a wide range of districts and communities.

Objective 2: Prepare students for success in school, career and life through the arts.

  • Strategy a: Advance arts education and arts integration initiatives that develop 21st century learning and literacy skills.
  • Strategy b: Nurture initiatives that build skills to prepare students for jobs in the creative sector.

Projects meeting this objective and strategy/strategies may consist of, but are not limited to:

  • Afterschool programs with outcomes focused on developing 21st century learning and literacy skills through the arts (example: drama project increasing communication and public speaking skills)
  • Apprenticeships furthering skills and knowledge in the arts for students in grades 7-12 (example: students working with professional artists to prepare for the college arts audition process)
  • Internships in the creative sector including arts administration in the nonprofit and public sectors and arts & business in the for-profit sector (example: students working with executive director, operations director, or development director to plan an arts event or program)

All projects under objective 2 must measure impact on student achievement.

Funds under Objective 2 may be used to support contracted fees, travel funds for school-sponsored vehicles or professional artists, and consumable supplies. Funds may not be used to pay students.

The earliest start date for a project is July 1, 2019. The latest end date for a project is June 15, 2020. This program is open to the end of Fiscal Year 2020 or until all funds are expended.

All Arts Education Mini-Grant grantees must be prepared to handle all necessary expenditures up front. Commission funds will be paid as reimbursement to the grantees upon submission and approval of reports and invoices. No Commission funds are available prior to the beginning of the project activity.


Funds are open to eligible applicants in all 95 Tennessee counties. The Tennessee Arts Commission encourages applications from any eligible organization across the state. Eligible organizations in distressed counties (Lake, Lauderdale, Hardeman, McNairy, Perry, Jackson, Clay, Grundy, Van Buren, Bledsoe, Fentress, Morgan, Scott, Hancock and Cocke), at-risk counties, rural counties, and/or TADI counties are encouraged to apply. All applicants should contact the Director of Arts Education at or 615-532-5939 prior to submitting an application to verify eligibility and availability of funds.

Applicants must be one of the following:

  • Nonprofit arts organizations
  • Nonprofit organizations or government agencies
  • Public PK-12 schools
  • Private PK-12 schools with nonprofit 501(c)3 status
  • Colleges and universities located in distressed, at-risk, rural, and/or TADI counties are eligible to apply. Colleges and universities located outside of distressed, at-risk, rural, and/or TADI counties are ineligible to apply for AL-MG funds but are encouraged to serve as partnering organizations.

Applicants may not apply for funds for the same project in another Commission grant category in the same fiscal year. Organizations receiving Operating Support funds from the Tennessee Arts Commission are ineligible to apply under this category.

The Tennessee Arts Commission reserves the right to deny any application, if the proposed activity is outside of the scope or spirit of the agency’s mission, purpose, or this grant program.

Debarment and Suspension. Grantees are required to sign contracts certifying to the best of its knowledge and belief, that it, its current and future principals, its current and future subcontractors and their principals are not presently debarred, suspended, proposed for debarment, declared ineligible, or voluntarily excluded from covered transactions by any federal or state department or agency.

DUNS Number: All applicants are required to have a DUNS number. Information and application instructions are available here.

Affirmative Duty to Report Major Organizational Change 

Any grantee shall promptly notify the State in writing of any significant changes in the organization’s structure, leadership or financial circumstances that could affect services provided under the grant contract resulting from this application.


All Tennessee Arts Commission sponsored programs, services, and facilities are fully accessible to all Tennessee artists and citizens. Artists representing Tennessee’s diverse artistic and cultural heritage are urged to apply and participate in programs and activities. No person on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, age, religion or sex shall be excluded from participation in, or be denied benefits of, or otherwise be subject to discrimination of services, programs and employment provided by the Commission and its contracting agencies. If an individual believes he or she has been subjected to discrimination, he/she should contact the Commission’s Director of Arts Access, Kim Johnson, (615) 532-9797.


  • Organizations applying for or awarded any other Tennessee Arts Commission Arts Education grant are allowed to apply for an Arts Education Mini-Grant in the same fiscal year.
  • Organizations may not apply for more than one Arts Education Mini-Grant in the same fiscal year.
  • AE Mini-Grants may not be used to support guest artists to direct, design, choreograph, or conduct productions or performances or mount exhibitions.
  • AE Mini-Grants may not be used for projects in which the artist is primarily performing, demonstrating or exhibiting work with minimal hands-on instruction and/or impact.


Arts Education Mini-Grant applications will be reviewed by the following criteria.

  • The application should be well planned and presented.
  • The Funding Description should be clear and concise.
  • The Narrative should have a clear educational focus that describes the goals of the project; which Arts Education objectives and strategies align with the project; what you plan to do (how, when, where, for whom, and who benefits); and how you will measure and monitor progress toward achieving the goals.
  • The Required Documents are attached to the Application and Organization profile (if applicable).


This grant does not require a cash match. In the Financial Information section, you should only show expenses related to the Amount Requested.


Arts Education Mini-Grant applications are reviewed in-house by Commission staff and are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are expended to applicants submitting complete and eligible application materials. Funding notification will take place via email within 30 days of the application submission.

The TN Arts Commission reserves the right to deny or withhold, in whole or in part, public funds for projects, programs, or other activities deemed inappropriate by the Commission.


Grantees must submit receipts and all required close-out paperwork no later than 30 days after the project or by June 15, 2020, whichever comes first.


  1. All applicants contact the Director of Arts Education to verify eligibility at or 615-532-5939.
  2. Register to use the new Tennessee Arts Commission Online Grants System.
  3. Log in to the new TN Arts Online Grants System.
  4. Use the “Organizations” link to the left in your Online Grants System portal to ensure that the record is complete and accurate. This information is as important as the application itself, and incomplete or erroneous data will impact your chances for funding. To open the record for completing/editing, click the “Edit” button at the top of the Organizations screen.
  5. Use the “People” link to ensure that the record is complete and accurate. This information will also be used in the review of the application. To open the record for editing, click the edit button at the top of the screen.
  6. When both your “Organization” and “People” profiles are complete and accurate, select the “Apply for Grants” tab again and click the “Apply for a Rolling Grant” link listed on the page.
  7. Complete all of the application fields.
  8. Create and upload required attachments.
  9. Submit no later than 30 days prior to the beginning date of your project.

NOTE: The forms in this portal do not auto-save. Always click the “Save” button before navigating away from the form you are editing to save your work.

Beware that clicking the back navigation button on your web browser will exit you from the system and you will lose your work.

Association or Connection to Multiple Organizations: If you are associated with more than one organization, the organization that you were originally associated with will pre-populate in the organization name field on any newly opened application. To change to another associated organization, simply delete the pre-populated name and type in the correct organization.


You will be prompted to create and upload the following documents in the Required Documents section of your Rolling Grant Application in the Online Grants System.

  1. Key Staff Bios: Short bios (2-3 sentences) of the primary administrative and artistic personnel, including contracted artists, who will be involved in the grant activity.
  2. Contracted Personnel Resume(s): Upload resumes for all contracted personnel to be paid with grant funds including contracted consultants/facilitators (Objective 1 projects) and/or professional artists (Objective 2 projects).
  3. Schedule: Include a detailed schedule of all project dates and activities related to the project.
  4. Sample Lesson Plan (Objective 2 Projects Only): Upload a sample lesson plan outlining steps of one lesson providing hands-on arts instruction and learning, including state curriculum standards, methods of assessment, and materials.
  5. Corporate Annual Report: Only nonprofit organizations with 501(c)3 status upload this document. In lieu of the report required to be filed annually with the Secretary of State’s Office, you may also submit a copy of the email verification issued by the Secretary of State’s Office or a copy of the online verification sheet maintained by the Secretary of State’s Office found here.

If applicable, create and upload the following document in the Documents section (below the Required Documents section) of your Rolling Grant Application in the Online Grants System. Please note that you will NOT be prompted to upload Optional Support Material but are welcome to do so.

  1. Optional Support Material: Other support materials (lesson plans, artist resumes, photos, and brochures) directly related to the application proposal.

If applicable, create and upload the following document(s) in the Organization profile of your portal in the Online Grants System.

  1. FY20 Title VI Training and Certification Form: Due at time of application. Note: If you are applying between June 1-30, 2019, FY20 Title VI training and certification form will be due after July 1 and before your project activity.
  2. Bylaws: Only nonprofit organizations with 501(c)3 status upload this document. Upload the most recent copy of the Bylaws of the organization in the Organization profile.