ArtsAccelerator Grant FAQ

All eligible artists are invited to submit an application by January 16, 2017.  Grants will be awarded in early March.

Who is eligible for this grant?

The ArtsAccelerator Grant will support visual artists working in any media, including but not limited to 2D and 3D work, photography, installation art, performance art, video (except work that is intended for cinematic release) or media art and craft. Applicants must be at least 21 years of age and residents of Shelby County. Applicants may not be enrolled in a degree-granting program or its equivalent.

What is eligible for funding from ArtsAccelerator?

The Fund is intended to offset any expenses related to a project or opportunity that will enhance an artist’s overall body of work or career.

Examples include but are not limited to:

  • Expenses related to a scheduled exhibition (this may include photography fees, studio rental fees, material supplies, shipping costs, or other costs related to the production of a specific body of work)
  • Expenses for travel or research that is specifically related to the proposal. Any application applying for funds for travel related expenses should be prepared to articulate and document exactly how this travel will impact their work or their career. General travel is not funded.
  • Workshop fees. In this case, the artist must commit to enrolling in a workshop or class that is related to their work. Artists must be prepared to articulate how this specific learning opportunity will enhance their current work or career. Tuition expenses toward a degree are not funded.
  • Research and development: for example, if an artist has a project or a body of work that he/she needs help realizing, this would be eligible for funding even if there is no scheduled exhibition associated with the project. The applicant should be prepared to articulate and document how this new body of work will enhance their overall work or career.
  • Feature-length or short works of video or film that are intended for cinematic release are not eligible for this grant.

Can an artist apply as a group or a team?

Yes, however, artists may only submit one grant application. If you apply for a grant as a group or team you may not submit an additional application as an individual artist.

Are previous grantees eligible to reapply?

Yes, but previous recipients must wait five years before submitting another application.

Is preference given to emerging or established artists?

Artists have new and evolving challenges as they move through their career. The ArtsAccelerator Fund does not give preference to emerging, mid-career or established artists. Competitive applications will demonstrate the impact of the proposal on the artist’s career at the current point in time.

Will there be workshops?

  • October 18, 2016 | 6pm  @ Hustle: 438 N. Cleveland St., 38104
  • October 21, 2016 | 6pm @ Memphis Black Arts Alliance: 985 S. Bellevue Blvd., 38106
  • November 2, 2016 | 10am @ Cordova Library: 8457 Trinity Rd., 38018
  • November 16, 2016 | 6pm @ VECA: 1680 Jackson Ave., 38107
  • December 10 | 2pm @ Orange Mound Gallery: 2268 Lamar Ave., 38114
  • January 7, 2017 | 10:30am @ Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library: 3030 Poplar Ave., 38111


What if I don’t have access to a computer?

  • Crosstown Arts’ Digital Lab is a new 6-station computer lab located at 430 N. Cleveland supporting Memphis’ creative community by providing artists and musicians full access to industry standard art and music-making technology. The Mac-based lab offers the full Adobe Creative Suite of software, as well as Avid’s Pro Tools, to artists and musicians working at any level of expertise on their creative projects.

Each of the six Mac stations are available on a first-come, first-served basis. All users are required to present a valid form of ID and sign a waiver/use agreement to use the facility.

The digital lab will open to the public in its current location on September 20 and will be offering free monthly memberships from that date through February of 2017, in anticipation of Crosstown Arts’ upcoming expansion into the Crosstown Concourse building next year. The lab will relocate to the Crosstown Concourse building in the spring of 2017 as part of a forthcoming shared art-making facility that will include a shared woodshop and other art/music making equipment and resources available to the creative community through affordable monthly memberships.

  • As part of this plan to expand the ArtsAccelerator program’s accessibility and visibility, we will offer a technical assistance workshop at the Ben Hooks Central Public Library.
  • Memphis Public Library: Each Library offers computers for browsing the Internet (including email), accessing information online, or for use with word processing etc.  Computer reservation requires an updated library card. Branch computers can be reserved for 1 hour. Many of the computers at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library may be reserved for 2 hours.


What makes up a competitive application?

  • Strength of the artist’s work
  • Clear and decisively written proposal
  • Generally brief and to the point
  • Aligns with the parameters of the grant
  • Successfully explains why this grant is important for you now
  • Successfully shows how the grant can push the boundaries of your practice in a significant way

Writing is an essential part of a good portfolio. Art/Work is a book we recommend.  There is one on file at ArtsMemphis that you can come in and read.

Take great photos of your artwork

  • Cohesiveness - choose strong images that show consistency and represent your work the best
  • 10 Images, can include details of your work or you can also submit drawings/plans for the direction in which you want to go
  • Your 10 Images can be diverse (medium) but think about what ties it all together - convey your artistic vision
  • Submit the best examples of your work (Photography, Video) - don’t let sloppy documentation hurt your chances


What makes up a curriculum vitae (cv), documentation of artistic accomplishment, or artist resume.

  • One mistake emerging artists often make in writing their CVs is trying to oversell their work. Less is more. Your document should be neatly organized, and only include information pertinent to your artistic career.
  • All of these are an expanded biography and should include details of your past exhibitions, publications, collections, etc.
  • A CV is an overview of your artistic professional history and achievements. Although it looks similar to a resume, it contains different elements which are only related to your artistic professional practice.

How are applications evaluated?  

Applications will be considered on the merit of the submitted images and the strength of the proposal. Please review our grant guidelines closely to see if your proposal is eligible for funding. The most competitive applications are clearly written, concise and demonstrate a strong alignment with the parameters of the grant, including the stipulation that grantees are at a critical juncture in their work or career. Successful applicants will demonstrate that the grant will allow them to push the boundaries of their practice in a significant way. They will also demonstrate that this is necessary at this particular moment in their career.

Applications will be evaluated based on:

  • Images/work samples exhibit significant artistic merit
  • Evidence of a commitment to pursing or maintaining a career as a practicing artist.
  • Evidence that the request contributes to the individual artistic growth.
  • Evidence that the request is feasible and realistic.
  • Applicant evidences capacity to meet proposed objectives
  • Application is clear and concise
  • Imaginative scope and vision of proposed work and previous work
  • Documentation of artistic accomplishment and/or commitment to deepening and expanding artistic work

Who is the grant panel?

For the 2017 ArtsAccelerator grant, three out of town jurors have been invited to select five grant recipients.

Read about them HERE.

If I am awarded a grant, is it considered taxable income?

Grant monies are taxable as ordinary income. Please consult a qualified tax advisor for further information.

What is expected of me if I receive the grant?

75% of funding will be paid out in the beginning of the grant cycle  Remainder of the grant will be paid when the granted project is completed

Grantees will sign a contract and are expected to report on their progress during the grant period  

Artist Advisory Council will conduct a studio visit  

Artists may be invited to participate in development opportunities that will benefit both ArtsAccelerator and the artist

Awards will be announced March 2017