ROOTS Week 2018. Photo by Melisa Cardona.


The summer is a great time to experiment with new ideas and play creatively; a great time to gain additional skills or experiences that could deepen your overall creative work and practice. Alternate ROOTS is excited to launch a new opportunity for our YOOTS and potential YOOTS members to explore new ideas over the summer!

YOOTS Summer Sparks are short creative projects or learning opportunities for our members or potential members under 30 to experiment and play. This summer Alternate ROOTS will be selecting 5 projects or “Sparks” to feature in this pilot series. We will be supporting each Summer Spark with a $1,000 honorarium plus additional documentation support to share back with the larger ROOTS community.

Do you have a creative spark you’d like to ignite this summer? Submit your proposal for a YOOTS Summer Spark today! Deadline to apply is Monday, May 16, 2022 at 11:59 pm ET. 


  • The Spark must start or take place in the summer months of 2022: June, July, or August.
  • The Spark must be centered around creative play or experimentation.
  • The Spark must be created by/for YOOTS or potential YOOTS members (artists or cultural organizers in the ROOTS 14 state region* under 30)
  • The Spark must be documented and shared back with the ROOTS community in some way. Alternate ROOTS will provide additional support for documentation, which includes thought partnership around what a community share back could look like.

How to Apply: 

To submit a proposal for a YOOTS Summer Spark Series, please complete this short proposal form online by Monday, May 16, 2022 at 11:59 pm. To maximize ease and accessibility, you can submit a written, audio, or video proposal through the form.

If you have any questions or need support submitting your proposal, feel free to contact

Join us virtually for a YOOTS Summer Sparks Info Session on Thursday, April 21, 2022 at 7pm ET / 6 pm CT. You can register here.


What is YOOTS?

YOOTS are members of Alternate ROOTS who are under the age of 30. YOOTS was formed by YOOTS, for YOOTS in 2018, presenting these demands at that year’s ROOTS Week. In that document, YOOTS describes themselves in this way:

“In school, in the courts, under the gaze of the state and its society, young Black, Latinx, and Indigenous people are not allowed to be young, to be youth, to be children, to play. We are YOOTS. We are organizing so that ROOTS may better serve emerging artists between 13 and 30, pushing the bounds of Youth to include 25 and under. We are Black, Indigenous, and Latinx artists working across mediums. We are Queer and Trans, unapologetically so.”

We are committed to deepening intergenerational space and connection at Alternate ROOTS.

What do I need to apply? 

First, you need an idea: something you’re interested in exploring. Once you decide on what your Summer Spark could be, submit a simple proposal online here. There’s an option to upload a work sample or link us to your current work if you’d like. In addition to the primary basic contact info, we ask that you answer the following 4 questions in your proposal:

  1. Who are you and what is your current work and/or creative practice?
  2. What is the Spark/what are you interested in exploring? Why are you interested in this work/what draws you to this Spark?
  3. How are you hoping the Spark will deepen or impact your current work and/or creative practice?
  4. What could documentation and a share back look like for your Spark? Please see the FAQs below for some possibilities if needed. We highly encourage dreaming beyond our offerings.

Do I have to be a member of Alternate ROOTS to apply? 

No! This opportunity is also open to potential YOOTS members, meaning artists and cultural workers under 30 living and working in the YOOTS 14 state region. If selected, you will receive a free one year ROOTS membership as well.

What constitutes a creative Spark? 

Anything new (to you) that you want to do or explore. Something creative you’ve been wanting to try out, but maybe never had the opportunity or resources to do it. Some examples could be: individual or collective art projects, attending conferences/workshops/events, hosting workshops/events, etc. The possibilities are endless! Remember the goal is to play or to try something new that could deepen your overall creative work in the future!

Does the Spark have to happen during the summer? 

Yes! The Spark must start at some point in the summer months. The project does not necessarily have to end in the summer, however there must be an end date in mind.

What does documentation support look like? 

Documentation support will vary for each Summer Spark based on design and need. Once we determine what the community share back will be for your Spark, we can more succinctly identify what support you may need to successfully share back and document your work. Documentation support for selected Summer Sparks shall not exceed $250 per project. Some examples of documentation support may include: thought partnership and ideation, capturing photographs/videos, video editing, printing, smaller technology purchases, editing or software subscriptions, etc.

What could a share back to the ROOTS Community look like? 

We are excited to explore the many possibilities of how to share back the Summer Sparks brilliance with our larger ROOTS community. Once selected we will gather all of our Summer Sparks Series participants together to begin dreaming around community share backs as a cohort. Share back possibilities are endless and could potentially include:

  • Presenting a performance or workshop at one of our annual events
  • Hosting and/or participating in a panel conversation at one of our annual events
  • Creating a zine or other 2-D materials with our members to be printed and mailed out
  • Creating a virtual gallery or gathering space for members to engage with

About Alternate ROOTS 

Alternate ROOTS is a regional* arts service organization with 45 years of history. As a member-driven national resource for artists and cultural organizers, we seek to champion social and economic justice and the work of people in our field.

Alternate ROOTS provides the connective tissue for a distinct segment of the arts and culture field – artists who have a commitment to making work in, with, by, for and about their communities, and those whose cultural work strives for social justice. The nature of this work spreads us far and wide from each other, so collaboration, peer sharing, and combined impact can be a challenge. Alternate ROOTS helps us sustain our artistic development, increased visibility, and stability as activist artists and cultural organizers.

*The ROOTS Region covers the U.S. South: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C.

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.