Artistic Assistance – Professional Development

ROOTS Week 2019. Photo by Eli Lakes (edits by Melisa Cardona).

July 28, 2021


The Professional Development grant process is currently CLOSED. The Spring 2021 PD process  was  open from March 30, 2021 – April 30, 2021. The  Artistic Assistance Project Development program will open in Fall 2021. Please click here to learn more.

The upcoming Professional Development grant process will re-launch in Spring 2022. Conversations of Intent and Proposal Coaching services will resume when the program re-launches on _____________________.

Feel free to read through the details below (from 2020) to get a sense of the program guidelines.



Alternate ROOTS’ mission is to support southern artists and organizers working at the intersection of art, community, and activism. Artistic Assistance provides direct support to individual artists and cultural workers in the South to enhance their skills, create unique Professionals, and build community.

Two (2) funding cycles are offered – Professional Development and Project Development.


March 31, 2021:                Application Launch + Conversation of Intent & Proposal Coaching

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April 13, 2021:                   Proposal Support Call #1 (3:30 pm EST): The Application Form

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April 15, 2021:                    Proposal Support Call #2 (12:00 pm EST): The Budget Spreadsheet

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April 16, 2021:   hhkh        Deadline to Request Proposal Coaching or Conversation of Intent

April 30, 2021:   hhk     h   Application Deadline (5 pm EST)

July 2021:   hhk                   Award    Notifications

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.


ROOTS strives to be a resource for artists and communities throughout the southern region.

The Artistic Assistance program goals include:

    • Strengthening the capacity and impact of artists and organizers throughout the South by providing resources, including direct funding, to individual members.
    • Building strong partnerships and collaborations within and for the members that 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.


Artistic Assistance Professional Development grants support ROOTS members with funding to pursue opportunities which will advance their artistic/creative practice and further their career. We recognize that funding can be a limiting factor in the progression of an artist’s practice and career, and we are invested in the artists in the communities we serve.

Professional development grants fund opportunities that will advance your artistic practice, profession, and/or career in some demonstrable way. 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.

Professional Development grants 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.

Artistic Assistance Professional Development Grant Amounts: $250-$2,500
New Members (less than 12 months of membership) are welcomed to apply for up to $1000

Examples of eligible opportunities supported by Professional Development grants include, but are not limited to:

  • Workshops, seminars, independent study with a mentor or renowned artist, and other learning opportunities
  • Conferences and other professional networking events
  • Invitations to show work or present work at a major festival, and other exhibition opportunities
  • Artist-in-Residence programs and research for creative and/or business skill development
  • General promotional material or website development
  • Artistic Mentorship or Professional Consultation
  • Travel, transportation, and lodging costs
  • Printing costs and materials
  • Web hosting and fees associated with website development
  • Equipment and/or supplies
  • Registration Fees
  • Artistic/Professional consultant fees
  • Studio and/or space rentals
  • Technology
  • Technical Support



As part of the partnership with the Alternate ROOTS and wider ROOTS community, grantee agrees to ensure the following goals, activities, and outcomes:

  • Credit Alternate ROOTS and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in all written materials.
  • Allow Alternate ROOTS to share the opportunity/event/item with the field and the ROOTS community to  invite attendance/participation (if applicable).
  • If available, share a video or digital documentation of project/event examples including process documents, copy of the work, weblink, blog post, photos, etc. Please email available documentation to
  • If available, share a video or digital documentation of project/event examples including process documents, copy of the work, weblink, blog post, photos, etc. (NOT REQUIRED) email
  • Submit a Final Report which includes a brief write-up about your project and experience with receiving a grant with documentation as available, including but not limited to photographs, letters of support, evaluations, press clippings, etc.

The Professional Development Final Report can be  found here.

Documentation and information shared may be utilized by Alternate ROOTS to help demonstrate the community impact of the grants program.


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

  • As of March 31, 2021, you are:
  • You have 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.
  • You have not received a ROOTS grant or partnership in the three (3) cycle prior to this current grant cycle. If you received an Artistic Assistance grant in Fall 2019, Spring 2020, or Fall 2020 you are not eligible to apply for this round.
  • Your Professional development takes place between July 2021 – July 2022.
  • You do not have any outstanding ROOTS grant or partnership final reports due.

As part of our current 2020-2023 strategic plan, created with member input, ROOTS seeks to support increased participation of youth, trans/two-spirit/non-binary, Indigenous and Native American, Latinx, and disability communities in the South. Preference will be given to proposals centered around and created by members of these communities.

ROOTS is interested in receiving applications from artists living and working in all southern states within our service region and especially Alabama, Arkansas, and West Virginia. These states are an organizational priority.

With the rise in the number of Artistic Assistance applicants, priority may be given to applicants who have not received Artistic Assistance grants within the past 24 months.

New member and first-time applicants are required to have a Conversation of Intent prior to submitting an application. To schedule a Conversation of Intent, email no later than April 16, 2021, at 5 pm EST.

If you have more questions, please email or (404) 577-1079 ext 308.


Final applications are due by Friday, April 30, 2021, by 5 pm EST.

To submit your application:

  1. Click the 2021 Artistic Assistance Professional Development application form link here.
  2. Fill out the form.
  3. Attach application narrative and budget documents (download these below).

You will receive an email confirmation of your submission approximately 5-10 minutes after submitting.


2021 Artistic Assistance Professional Development Application: Download the Word Doc

You MUST fill out the entire document. Failure to complete all sections could affect your ability to qualify. Attach work samples to the application, and submit them as one complete file. Note: The file size must not exceed 25 MB.

Artistic Assistance Budget Template: Download the Excel Form
This Budget Template may be used for Artistic Assistance applications. You may also submit your own budget document. Please clearly mark where ROOTS funds will be used for budgets that greatly exceed the request. A Sample Completed Budget is included in the spreadsheet, to serve as an example.


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 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?


Alternate ROOTS is committed to the protection of the natural world and the elimination of all forms of oppression. In addition to seeking Professionals that reflect the aims, goals, and objectives of the program, ROOTS’ selection process considers geographic distribution, racial and ethnic diversity, TLGBQ representation, accessibility, and socio-economic diversity. This sets us apart from typical funding models.

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 ROOTS staff. Final decisions are made by staff to ensure that all program goals are met to the best of our ability.

Within ROOTS’ 2020-2023 strategic plan, we acknowledge our present community is not representative of all the people who call the South home. Keeping in our tradition of evolution and growth, we seek to build and deepen relationships with Native/Indigenous, Latinx, LGBTQ, disability, and youth communities. Applicants from these communities will be given special consideration.

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.