South Arts Express Grants

South Arts, Inc.

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Deadline: Rolling

Grant amount: US $500 - US $2,000

Fields of work: Performing Arts Writing & Literature Visual Arts Media Arts

Applicant type: Government Entity, Nonprofit

Funding uses: Education / Outreach, Project / Program

Location of project: Alabama, Florida, Georgia (US state), Kentucky, Louisiana Show all

Location of residency: Alabama, Florida, Georgia (US state), Kentucky, Louisiana Show all

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NOTE: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Applications must be submitted at least 60 days prior to the project start date. Applicants will be notified by email within four weeks of submission. Projects must take place between between July 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023.

New applicants are encouraged to contact the director of presenting & touring to discuss eligibility prior to submitting an application.

Detailed Program Description

South Arts believes that rural communities deserve great art, and can require specialized support to make that vision viable. Distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis, Express Grants support rural organizations and communities with expedited grants of up to $2,000.

To be eligible for funding, applicants must program arts experiences featuring an out-of-state Southern artist. Express Grants can be used to support fees for presenting Southern guest film directors, visual and performing artists, or writers from outside of the presenter’s state. Touring support is awarded for film (documentary, fiction and animation), performing arts (theater, music, opera, musical theater and dance), literary arts (fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry), and visual arts (crafts, drawing, experimental, painting, photography, sculpture and mixed media). Projects must include both a public presentation (film screening, performance, reading or exhibition) and an educational component.

South Arts is committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. We have prioritized this commitment to ensure that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) led organizations, LGBTQIA+ led organizations, and organizations led by people with disabilities are represented as both applicants and grantees. In addition, we encourage applications for projects that engage BIPOC artists, LGBTQIA+ artists, and artists with disabilities. 


The project must include both a public presentation (film screening, performance, reading or exhibition) and an educational/community engagement component. Presentations at conferences and school-focused presentations (primarily engaging students, whether taking place at the school or another venue) will not be considered public presentations that are open and accessible to the general public; however, school-focused presentations will satisfy the educational component requirement.

The public presentation must meet the following requirements:

  • For a public reading, a minimum of 30 minutes of presentation by the writer is required. 
  • For a public performance, a minimum of 60 minutes of performance by the artist/company is required.
  • For a public film screening, a minimum of 40 minutes of running time (this can include a full-length film or a collection of shorts) with the film director is required.
  • For a public exhibition, a presentation with the artist is required.

The educational/community engagement component is an integral part of the engagement and should be carefully planned. A meaningful educational component should involve concentrated preparation by the artist/company and presenter, and include a learning event that has a lasting impact upon the audience (e.g., workshops, lectures and master classes). The artist(s)/company must conduct the educational activity. Please be aware that failure to include an educational/community engagement component will result in ineligibility.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Only nonprofit and governmental presenting organizations in South Arts’ nine-state region are eligible to apply.
  • South Arts’ nine-state region includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
  • Only organizations in rural communities are eligible for this grant program.
    • For the purposes of these guidelines, a standard definition of rural is a population of 50,000 or below.
  • Applicants must have not-for-profit, tax-exempt status, be an official unit of local, county, or state government, or be a federally recognized tribal community. 
  • Eligible projects must take place in South Arts’ nine-state region. Unless there are special circumstances, projects should take place in the applicant's state (please contact South Arts to discuss special conditions).
  • Eligible projects must include the engagement of a performing or visual artist, film director, writer, or an artist ensemble/company that resides in South Arts’ region.
    • The engagement can include a guest artist that resides within or outside of the applicant’s state.
    • Supported disciplines include film (documentary, fiction, experimental, and animation), performing arts (theater, music, opera, musical theater, and dance), literary arts (fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry), traditional arts, and visual arts (crafts, drawing, experimental, painting, photography, sculpture, and mixed media).
  • Applicants are limited to one Express Grant application per South Arts fiscal year.


  • Applications will not be accepted from organizations that do not have a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI). 
  • Screening partners currently receiving funding through South Arts' Southern Circuit program are not eligible to receive additional funding for the Southern Circuit film screenings.
  • Applicants currently receiving funding through South Arts’ Presentation Grants or Traditional Arts Touring program are not eligible for this grant program.
  • Applicants who have failed to submit final reports for any previous South Arts grant by the application deadline for this program will not be considered for funding in this grant cycle.
  • Applicants who fail to properly acknowledge South Arts’ AND the National Endowment for the Arts’ support in programs and press materials may not be considered for future funding.
  • South Arts does not fund benefits or fundraisers.
  • Grants are NOT transferable to other events.


This page was last reviewed December 14, 2022 and last updated December 14, 2022