Sanctuaries, part of the 2018-2019 Partners in Action cohort, leads a workshop at ROOTS Weekend: Jacksonville. Photo: Toni Smailagic


What is Partners in Action?
Past PIA Cohorts
The Benefit Of Being In A ROOTS Partnership
ROOTS Partners In Action Policy Statement




Partners in Action is a program that allows ROOTS the opportunity to be a supportive partner working with artists and cultural organizers from all artistic disciplines. PIA funds partnerships focused on social justice, climate justice, and cultural equity in grassroots communities throughout ROOTS’ 14 state region in the U.S. South. Artist(s)-led partnerships may include social services organizations, arts and cultural organizations, a group of teachers, community associations, an extended family, or a group organized around an issue, cause, or concern. Our goal is to support proposals that are culturally rooted, clear in their objectives, and creative in their approaches. Partners in Action offers support and resources needed to work with more strategy and consistency.

Our interest is in partnerships that are equitable and reciprocal. It is important that all partners have identified specific actions, issues, challenges, or opportunities that with more support – both human and material – are ready to be activated. The program seeks to illuminate the centrality of the arts and culture as major tools for grassroots organizing. Through Partners in Action, we seek to build effective multi-tiered partnerships in pursuit of individual and community transformation. This is the heart of Alternate ROOTS’ work.

Successful applications will demonstrate a strong, committed partnership between the applicants and their partner(s), clarity of intent, and thoughtful goals and objectives. The proposal’s goals should reflect what works best for all partners, and how every partner equally shares in shaping outcomes. Proposals may range along a spectrum of readiness but those that are in the development stage are encouraged to apply for Artistic Assistance: Project Development.

The partnership period is for 18-months: July 2022-December 2023. You may apply for a range of support including technical assistance only (non-monetary, staff, and in-kind support), and between $10,000 to $20,000 in funding in addition to technical support.



2020-2021 COHORT | 2018-2019 COHORT | 2017-2018 COHORT | 2015-2016 COHORT


The Super Friends ColLABoratory: Shawn Connors, LaQuita Staten, and Corey Staten, in the home video studio of Blind Guy, His Wife, Their Life Live. A 2020-21 PIA Cohort member. Photo by Shawn Connors.



Partners in Action focuses on fostering strategic partnerships between ROOTS and artists/cultural organizers and their community partners.

For a seat at the partnership table, we bring our collective understanding of cultural organizing, and years of knowledge and experience to support the building of equitable and reciprocal partnerships between individuals and local communities. Reciprocity means all partners share in the work, mutually benefit, and contribute to outcomes.

What Alternate ROOTS Brings To The Partnership:

  • Six (6) PIA partners will receive awards ranging from $10,000 to $20,000.
  • In addition to funding, we provide technical assistance which can include but is not limited to, support in the areas of: promotion, fundraising, logistics, administration, and fiscal sponsorship. Technical assistance is tailored to the needs of each individual project and partner.
  • We begin with a Community Visit engaging local constituents and partners to explore the development, process, and progress of their partnership.
  • We share our network of artists, cultural workers, educators, administrators, activists, facilitators, and trainers. We even share staff, where appropriate.
  • PIA projects will receive amplification via PIA’s Quarterly Cohort Convenings, ROOTS Week, as well as other ROOTS convenings and communications.
  • The 2022-23 PIA cohort will run parallel with Year 3 of our Partners for Change program, which will provide additional peer-to-peer support and learning.

What Applicant Brings To The Partnership:

  • Collective learning is a strength that can come back and feed the ROOTS network of southern artist-activists.
  • Commitment to practicing equity and reciprocity within the partnerships between artists and community members.
  • ROOTS is invited into the process to work meaningfully with the partners.
  • Investment in the PIA cohort by offering programming and resource sharing with other partners.
  • Artistic work and learning are shared with the ROOTS community through our communications and convenings.


Alternate ROOTS values and is committed to the protection of the natural world and the elimination of all forms of oppression. Therefore, unlike typical funding models, ROOTS’ selection processes consider, in addition to seeking projects that reflect the aims, goals, and objectives of the program: geographic distribution, racial and ethnic diversity, LGBTQ representation, accessibility, and socio-economic diversity. 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.

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.