Partners in Action



Applications Open: July 11, 2016
Preliminary Proposals Due: August 1, 2016 5:00 pm EST*
Final Applications Due: September 2, 2016 by 5:00 pm EST
Notifications of Community Visits: September 30, 2016**
Community Visits: October 7- November 11, 2016
Final Notifications: December 2016

*Preliminary proposals – which are reviewed by proposal coaches – are optional, but highly encouraged. **Only those applicants who advance to the next round will receive Community Visits.


Partners in Action is a program that gives ROOTS the opportunity to manifest more deeply its mission to support progressive activist artists working in grassroots communities throughout the ROOTS fourteen state region in the South.  It offers artists and community partners the vital support and resources needed to do their work with more strategy and consistency. ROOTS’ interest is to partner with cultural organizing projects in order to support efforts of cultural equity and social justice. ROOTS seeks applications from artists and their community partners in urban, suburban, and rural areas who together have identified specific actions, issues, challenges, activities, or opportunities that, with more support both human and material, are ready to be activated.

ROOTS’ Partners in Action program builds equitable and reciprocal partnerships between artists, cultural organizers, and grassroots communities. It fosters relationships that, through local actions, projects and activities, connect social justice issues and policies to social and economic justice and practice. The essence of the program is that it illuminates the centrality of cultural organizing as a major tool for grassroots organizing in communities throughout the region. Through Partners in Action, we seek to build effective partnerships in pursuit of individual and community transformation. This is the heart of Alternate ROOTS’ work.


Our current strategic plan directs Alternate ROOTS to partner in the creation of community-engaged arts projects.

Partners in Action Goals and Objectives

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 program’s objective is to build strong partnerships and collaborations that extend or deepen the presence of artists within a community, at home or on the road. Additionally, the organization wishes to support projects that may highlight existing community assets or address critical local issues in communities that are deeply impacted by social and economic injustices. Partnering with local communities’ projects may include convening events that foster dialogue between and amongst artists and community members. These events may serve as a vehicle for creation of new works, performances, exhibitions, workshops, case studies and other activities that explore the power of art as a force for social and economic justice.

Alternate ROOTS seeks applications for the next round of project support. Local partners may be in urban, rural, or suburban communities. Partners may be established social services organizations, arts and cultural presenting organizations, a group of teachers, neighborhood and community associations, an extended family or a group organized around an issue, cause, or concern. ROOTS seeks groups interested in illustrating, targeting, and leveraging local assets, both material and immaterial, in the struggle to transform individuals and local communities.


Alternate ROOTS is committed to partnering in a variety of ways:

ROOTS shares its resources of staff and where appropriate, its network of artists, educators, cultural workers, administrators, activists, facilitators, and trainers to support building equitable, reciprocal partnerships with key individuals and organizations in local communities. (We emphasize reciprocity as an essential ingredient to effective partnerships.)

  • A Community Visit to begin the process of partnership development.
  • Financial support is a component of the partnership, ranging from $5,000-$20,000.
  • Technical assistance includes but is not limited to press, promotion, marketing, fundraising, logistics, administration, and fiscal sponsorship. Technical assistance is tailored to the needs of each individual project and partner.
  • Travel, lodging and accommodations for the applicant and one other member or community partner to attend one Regional ROOTS Gathering during the partnership period and the 2016 ROOTS Week: Annual Meeting and Artists’ Retreat. Resource mapping of project at ROOTS Week with 100 cultural workers and artists in the field. (Participation at ROOTS Week is mandatory.  Regional ROOTS Gathering to be agreed upon during partnership.)
  • Travel, lodging and accommodations to attend the 2017 Partners Meeting.


Successful projects will address one or more of the following objectives:

  • Uprooting oppression
  • Examining the intersections of race, ethnicity, culture, class, gender, immigration, access, disability and location
  • Upholding the values of individual and community transformation
  • Engaging diverse segments of the communities as defined by the applicant
  • Researching or creating new artworks or collaborations with a community, an organization, an individual and/or other ROOTS members in the region
  • Developing new relationships or strengthening existing ones between artists/arts organizations and non-arts groups
  • Creating cultural exchanges between/within immigrant communities

Project Eligibility/TimelineProjects must take place between December, 2016 and June 1, 2018.

Program Region

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 to receive applications from artists working in: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi and Texas. These states are an organizational priority.


This application is open to artists and projects from all artistic disciplines (dance, theater, visual art, multi-media, mixed media, dance, crafts, fabric and sculpture by example).  Projects may range along a spectrum of readiness but those that are in the very early stages of development are encouraged to apply for Artistic Assistance: Project Development. Successful applications will demonstrate a strong, committed partnership between the applicants and their partner, clarity of intent and thoughtful goals and objectives. Artists working with social justice organizations are encouraged to apply. The partnership period is 18 months. You may apply for a range of support including technical assistance only (non-monetary, staff, and in-kind support) and up to $20,000 in funding in addition to technical support.


Alternate ROOTS values and is committed to protection of the natural world and the elimination of all forms of oppression. Therefore, unlike typical funding models, ROOTS’ selection processes consider, in addition to seeking projects that reflect the aims, goals, and objectives of the program: geographic distribution, racial and ethnic diversity, LGBTQ, accessibility and socio-economic diversity. To achieve these goals the organization provides multiple formats to submit an application: written, video, audio, and large print. We strive to convene diverse peer panels reflecting the diversity we seek to achieve. The panelists review applications and recommend partners to staff. Final decisions are made by staff to ensure that all program goals are met to the best of our ability.

Please note: the following links are NOT currently live; we are updating them for the 2016 round of applications. Check back on July 11 for more information on the application!

Next: Application Process



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  1. […] a cultural arts initiative of the ALIENS Taco Truck Theater Project supported by Alternate ROOTS’ Partners in Action program. Developed in partnership with Puentes New Orleans, a Latina/o not-for-profit organization, and my […]

  2. […] and English Is Weird were written for and with the students at Global Village Project,  a ROOTS Partners in Action recipient, where Elise serves as Director of Music […]

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.