Artistic Assistance – Project Development

ROOTS Week 2019. Photo by Melisa Cardona.



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

Artistic Assistance is a partnership program between Alternate ROOTS and general and voting members of the community who are individual artists/cultural workers living and working in our service region within the US South. This grant program allows ROOTS to invest in our members’ artistic and community-centered collaborations by providing grant funds, promotion, connection, and other forms of support. 

Two cycles of Artistic Assistance partnership grants are offered each year for general and voting members:

  • Professional Development (SPRING 2023): focused on building individual artistic and professional capacity for artists and cultural workers  [This cycle is CLOSED]
  • Project Development (FALL 2023): to support community-focused projects and collaborations

All recipients of resources are considered partners of the entire 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.

Artistic Assistance Project Development grants provide ROOTS members with grants of $250-$5,000 to support the development, creation, and presentation of members’ artistic projects. New members (less than 12 months of membership before July 21, 2023) are eligible to apply for up to $2500.

For the upcoming Friday September 29, 2023 deadline, the proposed activity must start on or after November 2023.


Tuesday August 29, 2023:      Applications Open

Tuesday August 29, 2023:     Conversation of Intent & Proposal Coaching Requests Begin

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

————————–—– —-       Request Proposal Coaching

Tuesday September 12, 2023:  Support Call #1 (2:30 PM ET): Simplify Your Proposal Narrative

     —————————————Register in advance for this call.

Wednesday September 13, 2023:  Support Call #2 (3:30 PM ET): Clarify Your Budget

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

Friday September 15, 2023:   Requests due for Conversation of Intent or Proposal Coaching

Friday September 29, 2023:   Application Deadline (5:00 pm ET)

December 2023:      —        Award Notifications


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 Friday July 21, 2023.
    • ROOTS service region: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington D.C.
  • You are a current dues-paying general or voting member by Friday July 21, 2023, who has completed your Alternate ROOTS membership profile.
    • To complete your 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 Spring 2023, Fall 2022, or Spring 2022 or are a lead collaborator in the 2022 Partners in Action or 2020-23 Partners for Change programs, you are not eligible to apply to this round of the program.
  • 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 November 2023 – December 2024.


Please submit your application through this form by Friday September 29, 2023, at 5 pm ET. Emailed applications are considered incomplete and will not be accepted or considered for funding

If you need any support with submitting your application, please contact the Strategic Partnerships Team via email at before the application deadline.

To submit your application:

  1. Prepare your proposal packet, this includes:
    • 2023 Artistic Assistance Project Development Application
      • You can use this word document, which contains all application questions as you prepare your application. All information on this document will be transferred by YOU to the online application form.
      • Proposal narratives can be submitted in written, video, or audio format. More information about alternative format applications can be found on the word document.
      • Those submitting in alternative formats still need to complete the first eight fields on the application form and must submit a budget document.
    • Work Samples:
      • Work samples can be submitted as a Google document or URL.You can link your website, YouTube, SoundCloud, or other web platforms that contain examples of your work.
      • Please keep these short! Think quality over quantity.
        • Written samples should be limited to 3 pages maximum and submitted as a Google document.
        • Limit audio and video samples to 5 minutes. A few clips no longer than one minute is even better.
        • If your sample is longer, include instructions that point reviewers to the minute and second where you’d like them to begin with notes about what they should pay attention to.
    • Budget:
      • 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.
  2. Complete the submission form and attach work samples and budget.
  3. Submit the form electronically.
  4. Look for an email confirmation of your submission (this may take a few minutes).


Alternate ROOTS is committed to helping our members communicate their vision to apply for opportunities, including our partnership grants! We encourage you to take advantage of these support opportunities:

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

Tuesday September 12, 2023:   Support Call #1 (2:30 PM ET): Simplify Your Proposal Narrative

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

Wednsday September 13, 2023: Support Call #2 (3:30 PM ET): Clarify Your Budget

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

Conversations of Intent

First-time applicants MUST schedule and complete a Conversation of Intent. This is an opportunity to speak with a ROOTS representative one on one about your application to ensure it aligns with the partnership program. Request your Conversation of Intent by Friday September 15, 2023.

Proposal Coaching

ROOTS provides free proposal coaching for eligible member applicants who request it. Proposal Coaches are hired consultants who are experts in the field and can help you clarify your proposal. Request Proposal Coaching by Friday, September 15, 2023.


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 intentional 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, LGBTQIA+ representation, accessibility, and socio-economic diversity. 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 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?


If you receive an Artistic Assistance partnership grant, here’s what you can expect.

Alternate ROOTS Provides: 

  • Grants of $250-$5,000. New members (less than 12 months of membership before July 21, 2023) are eligible to apply for up to $2500.
    • Grants are disbursed in two payments, 75% upfront and 25% after a final report is submitted.
  • Conversations of Intent: a short conversation with a ROOTS representative to ensure the proposal is aligned with the partnership (required for first-time applicants; optional for 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, and blog
  • Investments in the communities where our members live

ROOTS Members Provide:

  • Creative and administrative work toward the artistic endeavor outlined in your proposal
  • Documentation: help us brag about your great work!
  • Communication: let us know if you hit a roadblock or need to pivot
  • Keeping us posted: with enough lead time (preferably 30 days) we can help publicize your events
  • Final Report, which includes a brief write-up about your work and experience with receiving a grant with documentation as available, including but not limited to photographs, letters of support, evaluations, press clippings, etc.
  • Presence: when possible, we hope partners will attend ROOTS events
  • 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
  • Credits: making sure to credit Alternate ROOTS, Ford Foundation, and Mellon Foundation in all written materials


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


In addition to the application support listed above, we encourage you to utilize grant writing resources, including:

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.