Artistic Assistance

Saran Thompson performs at Late Night at the 2016 ROOTS Week & Reunion.
Photo: Ariston Jacks.


In 2017, we’ll be offering 2 rounds of Artistic Assistance: Professional Development in the spring and Project Development in the fall. 

Application Available: March 2, 2017
Technical Assistance Calls: Tuesday March 7, at 7pm EST, and Thursday March 30, at 12pm EST
Application Deadline: April 13, 2017 at 5pm EST
Notifications: June 2017

To support your application process, Alternate ROOTS offers proposal support, including conversations of intent, technical assistance calls, and proposal coaching. For more information on these and other grant writing resources, click here.  


Artistic Assistance is a program of Alternate ROOTS that provides direct support to individual artists and cultural workers in the South to enhance their skills, create unique projects, and build community. The program has two funding areas: Professional Development and Project Development.


ROOTS’ mission is to support southern artists and organizers working at the intersection of art, community, and activism. Our members create original work that is rooted in communities of place, tradition, or spirit and is dedicated to the elimination of all forms of oppression. By supporting community based social justice artists in the U.S. South, ROOTS leads the field by infusing resources where they are most needed. It is imperative that individual artists, culture workers, and culture bearers have access and opportunity to fund not only their art, but also the social justice movements they are connected to; in this way, ROOTS and our membership are working to transform the South and the nation.


ROOTS aims to transform from an organization that is a formidable network of artists and cultural workers, leveraging their creativity, talent, and training, to become a significant resource for artists and local communities throughout the region.

The primary objective of the Artistic Assistance program is to provide financial resources to artists throughout the South and, thus, strengthen the capacity and impact of their work. Artistic Assistance offers direct funding to our individual members. It also aims to support grant recipients beyond the financial resources this program offers. As with our Partners in Action program, we see this as an opportunity to build strong partnerships and collaborations with our members that extend or deepen their presence within a community, at home, or on the road. ROOTS wishes to support projects that highlight existing community assets or address critical local issues in communities that are deeply impacted by social, economic, and environmental injustices.


In 2017, we’ll be offering 2 rounds of Artistic Assistance: Professional Development in the spring and Project Development in the fall.

Artistic Assistance Professional Development: $250-$2,500

Artistic Assistance Professional Development grants support ROOTS members in their professional artistic and administrative growth. Professional development can include, but is not limited to, mentorship, attending a training, workshop or conference, purchasing technology or equipment that can advance your craft.

Funds may not be used for travel or registration fees to an Alternate ROOTS event (e.g. ROOTS Week or a ROOTS Weekend), or to pay the applicant. Click below to download a Professional Development application:

Word: Spring 2017 Artistic Assistance_Professional Development Application

PDF: Spring 2017 Artistic Assistance_Professional Development Application

Budget Template

You may also submit your own budget document.

Excel: Budget Template_Artistic Assistance

PDF: Budget Template_Artistic Assistance

The following is a Sample Completed Budget, to serve as an example:

Excel: Completed Sample Budget_Artistic-Assistance Professional Development

PDF: Completed Sample Budget_Artistic Assistance Professional Development


To be eligible to apply for an Artistic Assistance grant, all of the following must be true for you:

  • You are a current dues paying General or Voting Member living within the ROOTS region as of February 2, 2017.
  • You have not received a ROOTS grant or partnership within the last 12 months, March 2, 2016-March 2, 2017.
  • Your professional development takes place between April 15 -December 1, 2017.
  • You do not have any outstanding ROOTS grant or partnership final reports due.

If you have more questions, please contact Wendy Shenefelt, Programs Manager, at or (404) 577-1079 ext 304.


All projects must take place within the Alternate ROOTS service area: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington D.C.

ROOTS is especially interested in receiving applications from artists working in: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Texas, and West Virginia. These states are an organizational priority.


Alternate ROOTS values and is committed to the protection of the natural world and the elimination of all forms of oppression. Therefore, unlike typical funding models, ROOTS’ selection processes consider geographic distribution and diversity in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, ability, and class, in addition to seeking projects that reflect the goals and objectives of the program.

To achieve these goals, the organization accepts applications in any one of the following  formats: written, video, audio, and large print. We strive to convene peer panels that reflect the diversity we seek to achieve in our programs. The panelists review applications and recommend proposals for funding to staff. Final decisions are made by staff to ensure that all program goals are met to the best of our ability.

First time applicants and previously unfunded applicants are required to have a Conversation of Intent prior to submitting an application. To schedule a Conversation of Intent, email Wendy Shenefelt at by April 3, 2017.


The Artistic Assistance granting panels are made up of cross-disciplinary artists, organizers, ROOTS members, and individuals from peer organizations. The panelists will use the following criteria to evaluate all applications:

30%: Articulation of Artistic Vision

Did the applicant clearly articulate the artistic vision and aesthetic direction of the project?

30%: Alignment with ROOTS Mission

Is the proposal rooted in a particular community of place, tradition, or spirit? How does it connect to social, economic, and/or environmental justice?

20%: Goals and Outcomes

Did the proposal clearly define the goals and outcomes that the applicant will use to evaluate the project? Are the applicant’s goals and outcomes realistic and feasible within the proposed timeline?

20%: Budget

Is the budget clear and accurate? Are the artist fees appropriate for the level of engagement required of participants?

Alternate ROOTS supports the creation and presentation of original art that is rooted in communities of place, tradition or spirit. We are a group of artists and cultural organizers based in the South creating a better world together. As Alternate ROOTS, we call for social and economic justice and are working to dismantle all forms of oppression—everywhere.