Artistic Assistance – Project Development

ROOTS Week 2022 – Houston. Photo by Eric Michael Ward.



The mission of Alternate ROOTS is to support Southern artists and organizers working at the intersection of art, community, and activism.

Artistic Assistance is a partnership between Alternate ROOTS and individual artists/cultural workers in the US South. This grant program allows ROOTS to invest in our members’ creative and community-building work. We do that by providing money, publicity, connections, and other forms of support. 

Two Artistic Assistance funding cycles are offered each year: Project Development in the fall and Professional Development in the spring.


Alternate ROOTS Offers:

  • Grants of $250-$5,000
  • Conversations of Intent: talk through ideas with a ROOTS staff member (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, website, and blog
  • Connections to other artists and organizations for mutual support and collaboration
  • Investments in the communities where our members live

Artistic Assistance Grantees Provide:

  • Creative and administrative work toward your own artistic project
  • 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.
  • Presence: when possible, we hope grantees will attend ROOTS events
  • Documentation: help us brag about your great work!
  • Keeping us posted: with enough lead time, we can help publicize your events
  • Needs: letting us know if you hit a roadblock and need technical assistance, more help fundraising, or 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
  • Credits: making sure to credit Alternate ROOTS and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in all written materials

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August 30, 2022:          Applications Open

August 30, 2022:          Conversation of Intent & Proposal Coaching Requests Begin

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

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

September 13, 2022:  Support Call #1 (2:00-3:30 PM ET): Strengthen Your Proposal Narrative

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

September 15, 2022:  Support Call #2 (4:00-5:30 PM ET): Clarify Your Budget

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

September 16, 2022:    Deadline to request Conversations of Intent and/or Proposal Coaching

September 30, 2022:    Application Deadline (5:00 pm ET)

December 2022:           Award Notifications

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Artistic Assistance Project Development grants provide ROOTS members with funding to support the development, creation, and presentation of members’ artistic projects. For the upcoming September 30, 2022 deadline, the proposed activity must start on or after November 2022. 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 Projects that received funding recently can be found HERE.

Artistic Assistance Project Development Grant Amounts range from $250-$5,000. New members (less than 12 months of membership) are eligible to apply for up to $2500.

Project Development funds can be used for, but are not limited to:

  • Administrative services/fees
  • Collaborative partnerships
  • Consultant and artists fees
  • Space rentals
  • Studio time
  • Supplies
  • Travel

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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 July 31, 2022.
  • You are a current dues-paying general or voting member by July 31, 2022 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 or are a lead on a Partners in Action/Partners for Change grant in Spring 2021, Fall 2021, or Spring 2022, you are not eligible to apply for this 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 November 2022-December 2023.

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Please submit your application through this form by September 30, 2022 at 5 pm ET. 

To submit your application:

  1. Click the 2023 Artistic Assistance Project 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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Project Development Narrative 

  • Artistic Assistance Project 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

Project 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.

——-September 13, 2022:    Support Call #1 (2:00-3:30 PM ET): Strengthen Your Proposal Narrative

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

——-September 15, 2022:   Support Call #2 (4:00-5:30 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 September 16, 2022.

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 September 16, 2022.

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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. 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?

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


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.