ArtsMemphis commits over $500K in enhancement grants for groundbreaking initiatives of 7 local arts organizations

MEMPHIS—This week, ArtsMemphis has announced a new round of 2022 Enhancement Grants totaling $510,500 in commitments to seven arts organizations.

Enhancement Grants were established in 2005 by the Plough Foundation, who recently gifted $3 million to ArtsMemphis toward this annual program to support arts organizations’ strategies to strengthen organizational infrastructure and position them for sustained growth and community impact.

“This program encourages our operating support grantees to pursue significant projects that propel their missions forward and enable them to, in essence, ‘enhance’ their presence and impact both locally and globally,” said ArtsMemphis President & CEO Elizabeth Rouse. 

“Our cornerstone Operating Support grant, with which we have funded 45 local arts organizations this year, guarantees unrestricted support for our grantees to strengthen people and programming and foster growth,” continued Rouse. “This additional Enhancement Grant, open only to our Operating Support grantees, is for game-changing initiatives that reflect innovation and calculated risk taking.”

Renowned ArtsMemphis Enhancement Grant programs in past years have included the launch of Opera Memphis’ award-winning 30 Days of Opera and Indie Memphis’ Black Creators Forum.

2022 ArtsMemphis Enhancement Grant recipients and accompanying projects include:

Metal Museum — ArtsMemphis is contributing to the Metal Museum’s “Reigniting the Fire” capital and endowment campaign to support its expansion to Overton Park.
For more information: Frances Tortorich, [email protected]

Soulsville Foundation — ArtsMemphis is supporting the renovation of Stax Museum’s “Front Door” introductory experience in honor of its 20th anniversary next year, to include a flexible performance space, new shop experience, and more.
For more information: Tim Sampson, [email protected] 

Cazateatro Bilingual Theatre Company — ArtsMemphis is funding the expansion of its Afro-Latino programming as well as the expansion of its youth bilingual theatre program that has been successfully piloted this past year.
For more information:  Dorimar Ferrer, [email protected] 

Memphis Youth Symphony Program — ArtsMemphis is supporting the launch of its new Wind Ensemble & Concert Band to expand after-school offerings and engage more band students. 
For more information:  Brittany Cooper-d'Orsay, [email protected] 

Young Actors Guild — ArtsMemphis has funded Young Actors Guild’s renovation of its new Harriet Performing Arts Center in Orange Mound.
Fore more information:  Sabrina Norwood, [email protected] 

Arrow Creative — ArtsMemphis is funding the renovations of Arrow’s Creative Lab + Coworking spaces.
For more information: Abby Phillips, [email protected] 

Tennessee Shakespeare Company — ArtsMemphis is contributing to its facility renovations to enhance the Tabor Stage as well as outdoor production capabilities.
For more information: Dan McCleary [email protected] 

Through its latest data collection among grantees, ArtsMemphis has seen trends in prioritization of people, intentionality in access and inclusion, creation of new efficiencies in programming, expanded reach due to virtual and social media offerings, and strengthened internal operations. Because earned revenue remains 78% down compared to pre-pandemic budgets, recovery funding remains a major priority of ArtsMemphis.

“​​The challenges and opportunities over this past year have forced our organization to fight harder and to become more innovative in ways that we provide service and fundraise. We have been more intentional in assuring we meet the needs of Memphis children within the communities we serve,” said Sabrina Norwood, Executive Director of Young Actors Guild. “Our programs constantly evolve and shift to continuously meet the needs of those we serve.  Every challenge has been met with a creative eye and innovative planning to make the necessary adjustments.”

“Rather than shrink or depress in this environment, we knew, from William Shakespeare’s own profound experiences with theatre-shuttering pandemics, that we needed to be investing in programmatic flexibility, mobility, multiplicity, and varied delivery,” added Dan McCleary, Founder and Nancy R. Copp Producing Artistic Director of Tennessee Shakespeare Company. “We have learned that even though the earned revenue is not near the level as it was pre-pandemic, there remains a multi-dimensional demand and need in the Memphis area for our work in performance, education, training, and outreach.”

Applications are now open for ArtsMemphis’ next Operating Support grant. Organizations are evaluated on their capacity to achieve their mission and goals, their impact in the community, as well as the level of their board’s engagement and support, and financial health and accountability. Of the 45 organizations awarded in 2021, 40% are led by a person of color and 58% serve participants who are majority people of color.

“Despite the pandemic pause on our industry in 2020, we as an organization have never pressed pause,” said Rouse. “Continuity in our support of local artists and arts organizations has been critical, and we all must contribute to keep these organizations not only afloat but thriving in our city.”

Learn more at

ABOUT ARTSMEMPHIS. ArtsMemphis, the Mid-South’s primary arts funder, invested $2.2 million in 64 arts groups and hundreds of artists in 2021. ArtsMemphis works to sustain Memphis’ world-renowned cultural vitality and strengthen local communities through the arts by driving arts support and investing in organizations and artists. Learn more at and view the 2021 Impact Report here.

Posted by Intern ArtsMemphis at 10:28
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