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South Arts Awards - Working Narratives in partnership with Community CPR received a grant of $15,000

Atlanta – South Arts, a regional nonprofit arts organization, has announced the 13 communities across the Southeastern United States receiving a total of $154,540 supporting local, cross-sector initiatives. Each project involves a partner from both the arts and non-arts sectors collaborating to utilize the arts as a tool in creative approaches addressing or advancing an issue of importance in their community.

“We view the arts as a unifying force,” said Susie Surkamer, executive director of South Arts. “The arts are for everyone, and leaning into the concept of ‘arts and…’ helps to reinforce that idea. Whether it is dealing with the onset of Parkinson’s Disease in a loved one or developing an innovative dance program for service members and veterans with disabilities, we are all better when there is a thriving creative culture.”

“We were absolutely delighted at the level of interest in this new program,” noted Michelle Grove Herzog, principal at ZogArts Consulting who worked with South Arts to develop and implement this program. “This response reinforces what we know—the arts are a powerful tool that allow us to address issues in our communities in a way that no other sector can, and partnerships across sectors only bring greater strength and depth to our work.”

Over the summer of 2019, over 165 communities completed the initial letter of interest process. Of these, 27 projects were invited to submit a full application. Through a competitive review and panel process, the application pool was narrowed to the selected 13 based on criteria including artistic quality, project design, community impact, and capacity.

Some of the funded projects include:

Freedom Park Conservancy of Atlanta, Georgia, working with artist Masud Olufani to bring residents together around the past and future of their neighborhood through a temporary art installation in the historic Old Fourth Ward neighborhood in Atlanta, Georgia.Global Education Center of Nashville, Tennessee working with the Davidson County Juvenile Court to provide a family-focused approach to connection and rehabilitation through multi-cultural arts activities in Nashville, Tennessee.University of Alabama Birmingham working with the Bib and Tucker Sew-op to improve health, including decreasing depression and loneliness, with seniors in Birmingham, Alabama, through guided quilting sessions.

“This new grantmaking initiative is part of our new strategic plan and mission statement: advancing Southern vitality through the arts,” continued Surkamer. “Through these projects, as well as our other initiatives, South Arts aims to unlock the South’s full potential through impactful, creative endeavors and partnerships.”

South Arts’ Cross-Sector Impact grants are made possible through a partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. Each selected program requires at least a one-to-one match for their funded amount. Information about applying for future rounds of Cross-Sector Impact grant opportunities will be posted on in late 2019.


About South Arts

South Arts advances Southern vitality through the arts. The nonprofit regional arts organization was founded in 1975 to build on the South’s unique heritage and enhance the public value of the arts. South Arts’ work responds to the arts environment and cultural trends with a regional perspective. South Arts offers an annual portfolio of activities designed to support the success of artists and arts providers in the South, address the needs of Southern communities through impactful arts-based programs, and celebrate the excellence, innovation, value and power of the arts of the South. For more information, visit

About the Funded Cross-Sector Impact Grant Recipients

American Dance Festival, Inc. in partnership with Duke University/Health and academic faculty received a grant of $12,215. Durham, North Carolina Project: They Are All/Dancing with Parkinson’s Project The They Are All/Dancing with Parkinson’s project is a transdisciplinary project bridging professional dancers, people with Parkinson’s Disease, and medical researchers.

Blues City Cultural Center in partnership with Restore Corps received a grant of $15,000. Memphis, Tennessee Project: Sew Much Love Sew Much Love is an arts-based social enterprise for homeless and vulnerable women in Memphis and Shelby County. The women collaborate with practicing artists and each other to transform raw materials into marketable handcrafted artworks that provide them with transitional income. True to its tagline—Sew Love, Make Art, Build Community—the women are a community of artists who are not defined or overshadowed by their circumstances but united in a creative sphere.

Brunswick Family Assistance Agency in partnership with Techmoja Dance and Theater Company received a grant of $15,000. Shallotte, North Carolina Project: Resilience Resilience is an interactive dance workshop and series of performances created in response to the increasing impact of extreme weather on food and shelter issues in largely rural Brunswick County, North Carolina. Workshop participants will come together to share stories and to give language, shape, and form to their experiences through song, voice and dance

Freedom Park Conservancy in partnership with Masud Olufani received a grant of $10,000. Atlanta, Georgia Project: ELDER ELDER is a cultural initiative and site-specific, temporary art installation presented by Freedom Park Conservancy in collaboration with artist Masud Olufani. ELDER reflects on the rich history of place focusing on the park, David T. Howard School, and the historic Old Fourth Ward neighborhood in Atlanta, Georgia.

Global Education Center in partnership with Davidson County Juvenile Court received a grant of $15,000. Nashville, Tennessee Project: Passport to Prevention Global Education Center and Davidson County Juvenile Court’s partnership, Passport to Prevention, is a family-centered program that provides creative, interactive, multicultural arts experiences for court-involved youth and their families, including activities with incarcerated youth, as a way to keep families connected, help families learn to enjoy positive and engaging experiences as a family unit, and provide resources that help entire families remain involved in the broader community.

Jazzanooga d/b/a RISE in partnership with Urban League of Greater Chattanooga received a grant of $12,325. Chattanooga, Tennessee Project: MLK Duet: Growing Urban Economy Through Art MLK Duet: Growing Urban Economy Through Art is a six-month celebration of local, minority-owned small businesses and local minority artists. MLK Duet will be a blend of pop-up art events and small business promotion and workshops that grow the economic impact of MLK Boulevard, the city’s last cohesive, historically African American community.

JB Speed Art Museum in partnership with Play Cousins Collective received a grant of $5,000. Louisville, Kentucky Project: Community Connections: Bringing Families Together Stitch by Stitch The Speed Art Museum and Play Cousins Collective will collaborate to heal generational wounds through an eight-week art-making and therapeutic workshop series. This project will result in deeper relationships between caregivers and children, as well as a new confidence in artistic expression.

New Orleans Ballet Association in partnership with Southeast Louisiana Veterans’ Healthcare System received a grant of $15,000. New Orleans, Louisiana Project: “Freedom of Movement” Adaptive Dance Program New Orleans Ballet Association and the Southeast LA Veterans Health Care System (SLVHCS) are partnering to launch a new weekly “Freedom of Movement” adaptive dance program for veterans and servicemembers with disabilities. The program aligns with the efforts of the SLVHCS to support crucial new adaptive creative arts and recreational opportunities for disabled veterans and servicemembers. Participants will engage in 34 movement classes supplemented by a series of opportunities to perform.

Robert W Woodruff Arts Center dba Alliance Theatre in partnership with Georgia Dept of Juvenile Justice received a grant of $5,000. Atlanta, Georgia Project: Metro Collision Project // Changing the Narrative for Teens in the Georgia Dept of Juvenile Justice Through theatre, the Metro Collision Project will give incarcerated youth tools and a platform to discover and share their voices. Teens at the Metro Regional Youth Detention Center (MRYDC) will gain literacy skills and confidence in their creative abilities. They will learn the value of their voice, how to speak up for themselves and their communities, and ultimately change their narratives. This is a cross-sector partnership between the Alliance Theatre, MRYDC, and Kennesaw State University.

The Jessye Norman School of The Arts, Inc. in partnership with Georgia Public Broadcasting received a grant of $13,500. Augusta, Georgia Project: 1970 Augusta Race Riot Podcasts A series of podcasts will be created through a partnership of The Jessye Norman School of the Arts, (JNSA) and Georgia Public Broadcasting Media, (GPB). The podcasts will educate the public on the subject, and mark the 50th anniversary of the Augusta, Georgia race riots and their impact.

University of Alabama-Birmingham in partnership with Bib and Tucker Sew-op received a grant of $11,500. Birmingham, Alabama Project: Sewing Stories with Seniors Sewing Stories with Seniors will combine the initiatives of the Aging Creatively program of UAB Institute for Arts in Medicine and Bib & Tucker Sew-Op to lead quilting sessions in an independent living facility and throughout UAB hospital. These sessions will work to build community and purpose among individuals susceptible to isolation and loneliness. The end result, two original quilts, will be inspired by personal stories and memories shared in the quilting sessions.

University of North Carolina Asheville in partnership with BeLoved Asheville received a grant of $10,000. Asheville, North Carolina Project: Imagining Health Justice Imagining Health Justice is a multidisciplinary community healing project that uses the arts to bring the most marginalized people in our community together to imagine and practice new ways of being in relationship with one another. Using story, ritual, and creative expression, we aim to make connections between health outcomes and historic and present-day injustices. We hope our project can serve as a process model to inspire others to utilize the arts in this way.

Working Narratives in partnership with Community CPR received a grant of $15,000. Wilmington, North Carolina Project: Where I Come From Where I Come From is a youth media project that will work with a cohort of 24 rural girls (ages 14-21) in Columbus County, North Carolina to examine the impact of Hurricane Florence on their lives and community. The project will culminate in the creation of a 12-part audio documentary podcast series and a multimedia exhibit.

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