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TENNESSEE ARTS: Awarded Over 7.5 Million in Grants for FY2021


Tennesseans for the Arts work to support, defend and expand public funding for the arts. One of the many ways we accomplish this is by defending the specialty license plate program which provides 80% of the funds granted to nonprofit organizations by the Tennessee Arts Commission. The mission of the Tennessee Arts Commission is to stimulate and encourage the presentation of performing, visual and literary arts throughout the state and to encourage public interest in the cultural heritage of Tennessee. Each year, the Tennessee Arts Commission facilitates investments into the arts community through grants. These grant programs help fund the arts activities of more than 600 organizations and artists in Tennessee.

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FY2021 Grant Impact Data

  • $7.5 million in grants

  • 778 total grants

  • All 95 counties

  • 525 nonprofits, schools, and local governments benefitting communities

  • 156 Student Ticket Subsidy grants to pay for buses, tickets and artists

  • Efficient online grants management

  • 5.2m adults, Tennesseans and tourists in person

  • 1.5m children and youth engaged in person

  • 14.5m adults, Tennesseans and tourists engaged virtually

  • 2.3m children and youth engaged virtually


The Tennessee Arts Commission believes the art that Tennesseans make helps us to understand who we are, how we experience our lives and what we want to pass along to generations to come. They believe that the arts inspire, connect and enhance our lives. In the past 5 years, the Commission has made approximately 4,500 grants and invested more than $32 million in communities across Tennessee. In Fiscal Year 2021, the Commission funded the arts and cultural activities for more than 525 nonprofits, schools, and local governments in Tennessee.


The vision behind these grants is a Tennessee where the arts inspire, connect and enhance everyday lives which, in turn, enhances Tennessee's cultural life. Tennesseans For the Arts supports the Tennessee Arts Commission and their efforts.


We want to remind Arts & Culture Organizations that the grant funds you receive from The Tennessee Arts Commission are primarily sourced from the sale of Specialty License Plates. Those funds are protected and promoted by TFTA and its advocacy efforts. If you are a member, thank you. If you aren’t, please consider joining us! And purchase your Specialty License today!

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