What is ArtsFirst?

ArtsFirst is the First Tennessee Foundation’s arts funding program administered by ArtsMemphis. ArtsFirst strengthens the Memphis community by combining First Tennessee Foundation’s commitment to supporting excellence and enrichment in the nonprofit arts sector with ArtsMemphis’ grant-making experience and knowledge. Funding decisions are made by a grant panel composed of First Tennessee Foundation representatives. 

ArtsMemphis is now accepting applications for 2017 ArtsFirst support.

Deadline: December 1, 2016 5:00 p.m.  (application below)

Who is eligible for ArtsFirst Funding?

Nonprofit organizations with an arts-based mission in Shelby County with a minimum three-year history of presenting quality arts projects. Organizations must have an active and supportive Board of Directors and be organized as a 501(c)3. 

Funding does NOT support:

  • Individuals
  • Trips and Tours
  • Bank 'clearinghouse' organizations
  • Charities sponsored solely by a single civic organization
  • Charities that redistribute funds to other charitable organizations, except in the case of recognized united fund-type organizations
  • Religious, veteran, social or fraternal organizations
  • Political organizations or those having the primary purpose of influencing legislation or promoting a particular ideological point of view
  • Operating budget deficits

Application Instructions

Follow the link below to complete and submit the application questions by 5:00 p.m. on December 1, 2016. All questions asked in this form are outlined below. We recommend that you compile answers in a word document and cut/paste the information in the online form when you are ready to submit. This ensures you have a complete copy for your records.

Link to online application form: 2017 ArtsFirst application

E-mail your project budget (revenue and expenses) to artsmemphisartsfirst [at] gmail [dot] com by 5:00 p.m. Thursday, December 1, 2016.

Required Documents – You have two options; select option a or b.

A.   Complete or update your profile on WHEREtoGIVEmidsouth.org. If you need assistance with your profile, please contact Olivia Wilmot, Profile Coach at the Community Foundation for Greater Memphis (owilmot [at] cfgm [dot] org or 901-722-0028).

B.   E-mail the following documents to artsmemphisartsfirst [at] gmail [dot] com by 5:00 p.m. on December 1, 2016.

      If you have a profile on WHEREtoGIVEmidsouth.org, please do NOT e-mail these documents.

  • A current list of your organization’s Board of Directors
  • Your organization’s 501c3 letter from the IRS.
  • Your organization’s most recent Form 990.

If there are additional supplemental materials that may be relevant to this request, you may send them to artsmemphisartsfirst [at] gmail [dot] com by December 1, 2016.

Click here to view the application questions (to be completed using online form link above).

Questions? Contact Lucie Thompson (901-578-2787, lthompson [at] artsmemphis [dot] org)

Click here to sign up for email notifications about ArtsFirst grant information.

2016 ArtsFirst Grant Recipients

Africa In April Cultural Awareness Festival | 30th Anniversary Celebration

Ballet Memphis | Audience Building: Carnival of the Animals

Blues City Cultural Center | This Is Orange Mound

Carpenter Art Garden  | Arts engagement - Binghampton community

Circuit Playhouse, Inc. | Unrestricted support

Company d | Presenting Sponsorship, LOCAL

Creative Aging Memphis | Arts for Underserved Seniors

Crosstown Arts | Artist-led Digital Media Workshops

Dixon Gallery and Gardens | Wild Spaces, Open Seasons: Hunting and Fishing in American Art

Hattiloo Theatre | Holiday Jamboree

Indie Memphis | Community Engagement Series

Levitt Shell | Stars at the Shell Benefit Concert/Preservation Campaign

Memphis BoyChoir, Inc. | Winter Music Program

Memphis Brooks Museum of Art | Presenting Sponsor - Centennial Exhibition, Red Grooms: Traveling Correspondent; Memphis Wine + Food Series

Memphis College of Art | Scholars Program

Memphis Symphony Orchestra | Holiday Concert

National Ornamental Metal Museum | Visible Storage Project

New Ballet Ensemble and School | Binghampton Residency/Summer Program

Orpheum | Eric Carle's Brown Bear

Playback Memphis | Memphis Matters/Community Matters Performances

RiverArtsFest, Inc. | Art in the Making

Soulsville Foundation | Live in Studio A at Stax Museum with Stax Music Academy Alumni Band

Tennessee Shakespeare Company | Henry V

Theatre Memphis | Presenting Season Sponsorship

Visible Music College | Madison Avenue Overlook