South Arts, the Atlanta-based, nonprofit regional arts organization, announced today that it is partnering with the Ford Foundation on a $6 million, four-year initiative designed to fund arts and cultural organizations in the Southeast that are led by, and designed to serve Black, Indigenous and people of color. South Arts is Ford’s regional partner in the South.
The initiative, Southern Cultural Treasures, will support 12 to 15 organizations between May 2022 and March 2025 by offering a variety of grants, including general operating grants of up to $300,000; project grants up to $7,500; and a variety of networking and development opportunities.
“Southern Cultural Treasures is a turning point for the arts in the South,” said Susie Surkamer, South Arts’ president and CEO, in a press release. “The initiative allows for a more equitable art community throughout the nine states in which South Arts operates and furthers our mission of advancing Southern vitality through the arts.”
Southern Cultural Treasures is designed to champion arts communities in multiple ways. In addition to financial support, it promises to create a framework to help relevant organizations establish long-term sustainability and institution-building. It’s about encouraging growth within arts circles and the surrounding communities and fostering far-reaching and lasting benefits.
South Arts will hold a webinar discussing the program on November 12. Eligible organizations need to submit a letter of intent to participate by December 10 through the South Arts website. The organizations most closely aligned with the program’s goals will then be invited to submit a full application. Details can be found on South Arts website.
South Arts is also seeking additional funding partners.
Joy Young, Ph.D., South Arts’ vice president of programming, is quoted in the press release: “Only by creating a more equitable landscape can we truly unlock the potential of the arts in the South. Not only are we working to correct historical disparities, we’re empowering the next generation of singers, dancers, media artists, painters, writers – and everyone else.”
South Arts has been supporting artists and arts providers since 1975. In 2020, six Atlanta organizations benefited from the organization’s Resilience Fund, established to support the arts during the Covid shutdown: Alternate ROOTS, Atlanta Art Papers, Burnaway, National Black Arts, True Colors Theatre and C4, which later shut down due to the pandemic. Out of Hand Theater was a recipient of a Cross-Sector Impact Grant in June 2021.