Artistic Assistance – Professional Development

Artistic Assistance Grants for Professional Development

What is Artistic Assistance?
How We Partner
Artistic Assistance Professional Development Timeline: Spring 2023
Grant Details: Professional Development
Who is Eligible to Apply?
How to Apply
Application Documents
Get Help / Take Your Application to the Next Level
How We Make Funding Decisions


Alternate ROOTS supports Southern artists and organizers working at the intersection of art, community, and activism.

Artistic Assistance is a program that supports partnership between the Alternate ROOTS Community and ROOTS members who are individual artists/cultural workers living and working in the US South. On behalf of the community, ROOTS invests grant resources into our members’ creative and professional capacity and their community-building work. In addition to providing money, ROOTS also offers our members coaching, connections, publicity, and other forms of support. 

Two Artistic Assistance funding cycles are offered each year. This year, the Professional Development round is offered in the spring, while the Project Development round will take place in the fall.

All recipients of resources are considered partners of the entire Alternate ROOTS community. To that end, ROOTS is committed to supporting our partners in stewarding resources to support the execution of our collective mission and strategic plan.

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Alternate ROOTS Offers:


  • Grants of $250-$2,500
  • Conversations of Intent: talk through ideas with a ROOTS staff member (required for first-time applicants; optional for all others)
  • Proposal coaching with peer artists (free and optional)
  • Proposal support calls: step by step workshops on completing your application
  • Feedback on your application: we share comments from the panel reviewing applications
  • Opportunities to highlight your work on ROOTS’ social channels, email communications, website, and blog
  • Connections to other artists and organizations for mutual support and collaboration
  • Investments in the communities where our members live

Artistic Assistance Partners Provide:


  • Achievement of, or effort toward, a professional or artistic development goal
  • Final Report which includes a brief write-up about your process and experience with receiving a grant
  • Presence: when possible, we invite partners to attend ROOTS events and gatherings
  • Documentation: help us brag about your great work! As available, documentation includes but is not limited to photographs, letters of support, evaluations, press clippings, etc.
  • Keeping us posted: with enough lead time, we can help publicize your events
  • Communication of needs: let us know if you hit a roadblock, need to shift the timeline or details of your work, or need other support
  • Spread the love: let people know you got this grant! Post on social media! Helping other social justice artists in the US South find out about this resource (optional)
  • Credits: making sure to credit Alternate ROOTS, Mellon Foundation, and Ford Foundation in all written materials

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March 28, 2023:    Applications Open

March 28, 2023:    Conversation of Intent & Proposal Coaching Requests Begin

————————–Request a Conversation of Intent

————————–Request Proposal Coaching

April 11, 2023:       Support Call #1 (3:30PM ET): Strengthen Your Proposal Narrative ————————–Register in advance for this call

————————– —
April 13, 2023:       Support Call #2 (3:00 PM ET): Clarify Your Budget

————————–Register in advance for this call

April 14, 2023:     Deadline to request Conversations of Intent and Proposal Coaching  (5:00 pm ET)

April 28, 2023:     Application Deadline  (5:00 pm ET)

July 2023:              Award Notifications

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Artistic Assistance Professional Development grants support ROOTS members with funding to pursue opportunities that will advance their artistic/creative practice and further their careers. For the upcoming April 28, 2023 deadline, the proposed activity must start on or after July 2023. All projects MUST be completed by and 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. Artistic Assistance partners that received funding recently can be found HERE.

Artistic Assistance Professional Development Grant Amounts range from $250-$2,500. New Members (those with less than 12 months of membership) are welcome to apply for up to $1,000.

These grants fund opportunities that will advance your artistic practice, profession, and/or career in some demonstrable way. Professional development activities build professional and administrative capacity, hone artistic skills, and strengthen the sustainability of the grantee’s practice.

Professional Development examples include (but are not limited to):

  • Conferences, convenings, festivals
  • Professional/artistic training or workshops
  • Membership platforms (i.e. Patreon, Teachable)
  • Purchasing technology or equipment that advances your craft
  • One-on-one work with consultants, coaches, and mentors
  • Costs incurred by moving your practice or programming online

This grant does NOT support: 

  • Development, completion, or presentation of artistic work
  • Fundraisers
  • Rent, utilities, other personal expenses, or to pay the applicant
  • Requests to support overhead, general operating expenses, or lost income
  • Activities that have already taken place or that will occur before award notifications are sent
  • Travel or registration fees to an Alternate ROOTS event (e.g. ROOTS Week or a ROOTS Weekend)

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To be eligible to apply for the Artistic Assistance program all of the following must be true:

  • You are 18 years or older living and working within the ROOTS service region by February 28, 2023.
  • You are a current dues-paying general or voting member as of February 28, 2023, who has completed your Alternate ROOTS membership profile.
    • To complete your membership profile, click here. If you previously completed your profile, find your profile link by searching our membership directory here. For assistance with your membership profile, please email
  • You have not received a ROOTS grant or partnership in the three (3) cycles prior to this current grant cycle. If you received an Artistic Assistance grant in Fall 2022, Spring 2022, or Fall 2021, you are not eligible to apply for this round. Current Partners for Change and Partners in Action are not eligible to apply to this program round.
  • You do not have any outstanding ROOTS grant or partnership final reports due.
  • You are proposing activities that take place during the program period, from July 2023-July 2024.

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Please submit your application through this form by 5pm Eastern on April 28, 2023.

To submit your application:

  1. Click the 2023 Artistic Assistance Professional Development application form link here.
  2. Complete an application narrative (see below).
  3. Prepare work sample links.
  4. Complete a budget (see below).
  5. Attach/include: proposal narrative, budget, and work samples to the online form.
  6. Submit form electronically.
  7. Look for an email confirmation of your submission approximately 5-10 minutes after submitting.

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Professional Development Narrative 

  • Artistic Assistance Professional Development Application: Download the Word Doc
  • Proposal narratives can be submitted in written, video, or audio format.
  • Those submitting in alternative formats still need to complete the first eight fields on the Word application and must submit a budget document.
  • Download the Word Doc for more information about Alternative Format (video or audio) application submissions

Professional Development Budget

  • Artistic Assistance Budget Template: Download the Excel Form
  • Use this Budget Template for Artistic Assistance applications, or submit your own budget document.
  • Please clearly mark where ROOTS funds will be used for budgets that greatly exceed the request.
  • The Budget Template includes a Sample Completed Budget on the second tab, to serve as an example.

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Alternate ROOTS is committed to helping our members get better at applying for things, including our grants! We encourage you to take advantage of these support opportunities:

Proposal Support Calls

Proposal Support Calls offer the opportunity to meet with staff and ask questions about the application and selection process.

April 11, 2023:         Support Call #1 (3:30 PM ET): Strengthen Your Proposal Narrative

—————-  ———Register in advance for this call

April 13, 2023:        Support Call #2 (3:00 PM ET): Clarify Your Budget

————–  ————Register in advance for this call

Conversations of Intent

First-time applicants MUST schedule a Conversation of Intent. This is an opportunity to speak with a ROOTS staff member, one on one, about your application. Request your Conversation of Intent by April 14, 2023 (5pm ET).

Proposal Coaching

ROOTS provides free proposal coaching for all applicants who request it. Proposal Coaches are hired consultants who are experts in the field and can help you strengthen your proposal. Many coaches are former Artistic Assistance grantees. Request Proposal Coaching by April 14, 2023 (5pm ET).

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ROOTS strives to be a resource for artists and communities throughout the US South, and we award grants that align with the following program goals:

  • Strengthening the capacity and impact of artists and cultural organizers throughout the South by providing resources, including direct funding, to individual members
  • Building strong partnerships and collaborations with ROOTS members
  • Helping ROOTS members extend or deepen their presence within a community – at home or on the road
  • Highlighting the assets or challenges of communities that are impacted by social, economic, and environmental injustices

In addition to seeking applicants that reflect the goals of the program, ROOTS’ selection process considers geographic distribution, racial and ethnic diversity, TLGBQ representation, accessibility, and socio-economic diversity. We provide multiple formats to submit an application: written, video, audio, and large print. These practices set us apart from typical funding models.

In alignment with our strategic plan, preference is given to proposals centered around and created by members of these communities in the US South:

  • Youth
  • Trans / Two-spirit / Non-binary
  • SWANASAAPI (Southwest Asian/North African/South Asian/Asian/Pacific Islander)
  • Indigenous / Native American
  • Latinx
  • Artists with disabilities / Disability advocates
  • Artists focused on climate justice and environmental advocacy
  • Applicants from Alabama, Arkansas, and West Virginia

The Artistic Assistance grant review panels are made up of cross-disciplinary artists, organizers, ROOTS members, and individuals from peer organizations. We convene panels that reflect the diversity we seek to achieve. The panelists review applications and recommend partners to ROOTS staff. Final decisions are made by staff to ensure that all program goals are met to the best of our ability. The panelists 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 their artistic practice or business?

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 advance their artistic practice? 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?

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If you have any questions, please email or call 404-577-1079 x308.

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.