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Southern Artists for Social Change Program

Grants to Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi Artists and
Culture Bearers of Color to Promote Social Change

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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National Performance Network (NPN)

Deadline Date:

07/30/21 11:59 PM CST


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Grants of $25,000 to Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi artists and culture bearers of color to promote social change. Funding is intended to advance racial and cultural justice in the arts, develop the power of artists, and work towards systemic change in philanthropy and arts.

NPN’s Southern Artists for Social Change envisions a world in which people of color living, working, and organizing for community change in the South have the power, resources, and opportunities to thrive. Southern Artists for Social Change is part of the Surdna Foundation’s “Radical Imagination for Racial Justice” initiative, supporting civic practice projects that bring artists of color into collaboration and co-design with community partners and local residents of color around a community-defined vision.

Southern Artists for Social Change is a project specific grant. Funds can be used to support a project's programming, to pay community partners and other collaborators, as well as for program supplies, events and documentation. The project’s values must be reflected in how resources are shared. NPN requires that at least 15% of the grant go toward the lead artist(s)’ general wellbeing, in addition to artist fees for work. “Wellbeing” is essentially “general operating” support for the lead artist(s) (for example, health insurance, healing, retirement, childcare, etc.).

A select set of grantees may have the opportunity for a Participatory Action Research (PAR) component (see Definitions section at the URL for Full Text link below) that focuses on a grantee project, in collaboration with the Highlander Research and Education Center.

A culture bearer is a member of a community who practices that community’s artistic or creative expressions. Knowledge of these arts or skills is most often passed from person to person within the cultural group, and the art itself expresses the community’s values or aesthetics.

For eligible disciplines, see

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 197042

Estimated Size of Grant:


Term of Contract:

One Year

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

The 2021 Southern Artists for Social Grant is open to BIPOC artists/collectives and culture bearers, at any career stage, who are engaging in Civic Practice. Applicants must be primary residents of Louisiana, Mississippi or Alabama.

- Artists and culture bearers who identify as Black, Indigenous, and/or people of color (BIPOC) living, working, and engaging in social change in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Individual artists as well as artist collectives may apply. Artist collectives must have a demonstrated history of creating new work collectively for at least two years.
- Applicants must be 18 years of age or older by application deadline.
- Applicants must be AL, LA, or MS residents for at least five years at the time of both application and payment and must provide a valid state ID.
- Projects should (1) identify community challenges or needs, (2) imagine a different future, and (3) practice, test, or design for approaches toward that future that center racial justice.
- While projects may be artist-driven, projects should include at least two community members (individuals, agencies, organizations) as collaborators who share in decision-making, shaping the project and project outcomes.
- Grants may support any phase of a project (research, development, production, etc.), including new initiatives or ongoing work, and a portion of funding should directly support the artist(s).

Not eligible at this time:

- Nonprofit Organizations
- 2020 NPN Creation Fund Recipients
- Artists who are high school students, or who are college or graduate students enrolled in a degree-granting program, at the time of application or during the period of the grant
- Current NPN staff, board of directors, or panelists
- Curators and researchers

Pre-Application Information:

The deadline to apply for the 2021 cycle is July 30, 2021 at 11:59 pm (CST).

- May 15 - July 30, 2021: Open Call for Letter of Intent (LOI)
- June 17, 2021 4:30 pm CST: Informational webinar
- July 30, 2021 11:59 pm CST: Deadline for LOI
- August 23, 2021: Invitations for full proposals
- Sept 21, 2021: Final review
- Sept 30, 2021: Award notifications to new grantees
- Oct 30, 2021: Disbursement of grant funds
- Nov 1, 2021: Announcement of Cycle 2021 grantees

Grantees must be available for an orientation session and participate throughout the 2021–2022 grant period in cohort meetings and other gatherings.

Webinar Recording:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply online:

Contact National Programs Associate Nick Hüster at for technical assistance.

If you have any questions about the guidelines, your eligibility, or anything else, please contact program coordinator, Steffani Clemons at or 504.595.8008 ext 708.

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Louisiana;   Mississippi

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