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  • Listen to some of our recent Jazz Road Tours grant recipients on the Summer 2023 Jazz Road Artists playlist.

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FY2023 Annual Report (July 1, 2022 - June 30, 2023)

Advancing Southern vitality through the arts.

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Lyndon Harewood (Gengis Don & The Empire), recent Jazz Road Tours grant recipients.


In 2023, South Arts deepened our relationships with constituents across the region as we worked toward our mission: advancing Southern vitality through the arts.

2023 in Review

Reflect with us on 2023 and the artists, organizations, and communities from the South Arts family that made this year spectacular.

Our Impact, by the Numbers

Our fiscal year 2023 was a year of growth. As our artists, organizations, and communities returned to in-person experiences, South Arts increased our investments and portfolio, increasing the opportunities for our constituents to meaningfully share their work. This resulted in more grants, partnerships, professional development, and connections across our nine-state region and the country.

Momentum dance company staibdance performing at the American Dance Festival with support from a Presentation Grant. Photo by Ben McKeown, courtesy American Dance Festival.

In 2023 we granted $4581702
to artists and organizations.

Supporting arts organizations
and community groups

The 2023 Southern Prize and State Fellowships for Visual Arts

At the 2023 Southern Prize and State Fellowships for Visual Arts exhibition opening at the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum in Biloxi, Mississippi, the South Arts team sat down with the nine recipients across our region to discuss their work, what it means to be named a State Fellow, and how they might use their awards.

Victoria Dugger | Multidisciplinary | Athens, GA | 2023 Georgia Fellow for Visual Arts and Southern Prize Winner
Michael Webster | Sculpture | Drayton, SC | 2023 South Carolina Fellow for Visual Arts and Southern Prize Finalist
Beizar Aradini | Craft | Nashville, TN | 2023 Tennessee Fellow for Visual Arts
Kelly Bryant | Drawing | Auburn, AL | 2023 Alabama Fellow for Visual Arts
Chris Friday | Multidisciplinary | Goulds, FL | 2023 Florida Fellow for Visual Arts
Alexis McGrigg | Multidisciplinary | Bryam, MS | 2023 Mississippi Fellow for Visual Arts
Nadia Meadows | Sculpture | Charlotte, NC | 2023 North Carolina Fellow for Visual Arts
Rachel Moser | Multidisciplinary | Lexington, KY | 2023 Kentucky Fellow for Visual Arts
Carlie Trosclair | Sculpture | New Orleans, LA | 2023 Louisiana Fellow for Visual Arts

Attendees of the exhibition opening surrounded by works from Nadia Meadows, Michael Webster, and Chris Friday.

Southern Cultural Treasures

Our special initiative, Southern Cultural Treasure, built with lead funding from the Ford Foundation and participation from 14 additional funders, is supporting 17 organizations led by and serving Black, Indigenous, and People of Color with an investment of more than $6M. At a gathering in Savannah, Georgia, South Arts and filmmakers from Sema Films spoke with leaders from each organization to learn more about the impact they are making in their local communities.

Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame | Birmingham, AL
Art2Action Inc. | Tampa, FL
Ashé Cultural Arts Center | New Orleans, LA
Asia Institute – Crane House | Louisville, KY
B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center | Indianola, MS
Ballethnic Dance Company Inc. | East Point, GA
Catawba Nation Cultural Division | Rock Hill, SC
Collage Dance Collective | Memphis, TN
Colour of Music Festival | Mount Pleasant, SC
Deep Center, Inc. | Savannah, GA
Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator | Miami, FL
JazzArts Charlotte | Charlotte, NC
Junebug Productions | New Orleans, LA
Mississippi Center for Cultural Production | Utica, MS
Otis Redding Foundation | Macon, GA
Teatro Avante | Miami, FL
True Colors Theatre Company | Atlanta, GA

Leaders of the 17 Southern Cultural Treasures gathered in Savannah, Georgia. Photo by Sema Films.

Jazz Road

With funding from the Doris Duke Foundation and additional support from the Mellon Foundation, South Arts relaunched Jazz Road in FY2023, investing in jazz artists across the country.  Through Jazz Road Tours, Jazz Road Creative Residencies, and a growing series of tools, South Arts is providing artists with resources to grow their careers, propel the field forward, and bring their work to communities around the nation. This year, South Arts supported 46 artists with more than $1M in awards.

Learn about how one Jazz Road Tours artist — Matt DiBiase, known professionally as Plexusplay — used these funds to build new connections and connect with new audiences. Read more about Matt DiBiase...

Jazz Road Tours grant recipient Matt DiBiase/Plexusplay.

Around the Region

South Arts' primary region includes the nine states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Our programs support the creative communities, artists, and organizations with grants, connections, and leadership. Explore the map below to learn about a few highlights of 2023.

With support from a Presentation Grant. the Alys Stephens Center presented jazz bassist and educator Victor Wooten for a public performance and educational workshop. Photo by Eric Gray.
  • Emerging Traditional Artists Gathering

    South Arts convened the participants in the Emerging Traditional Artists Programs at the Pine Mountain Settlement School in Bledsoe, Kentucky.

    Read the story
  • Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit

    In partnership with Creative Placemaking Communities and UNC Chapel Hill, South Arts held the Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit in Chapel Hill, NC.

    Read the story
  • James "Sparky" Rucker

    Sparky, from Maryville, TN, received the National Association of Black Storytellers: Black Appalachian Storytellers Fellowship in support of his dedication to the craft.

    Read the story
  • Victoria Rae Boynton Moore

    Victoria Rae Boynton Moore of North Carleston, SC, is a member of the Leaders of Color network and was selected to lead workshops for her colleagues.

    Read the story
  • Mama Bears

    Atlanta-based filmmaker Daresha Kyi's Mama Bears was featured on the Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers.

    Read the story
  • 2023 Folklife in the South Gathering

    The 2023 FITS gathering was held in Lake Guntersville, Alabama with hundreds of attendees.

    Read the story
  • Lauren Bone Noble

    With support from an Individual Artist Career Opportunity Grant, Lauren brought her one-woman show from Oxford, MS to New York.

    Read the story
  • Trinity City

    Trinity City, a project built in collaboration between the Black and Blue Story Project and Young Aspirations | Young Artists with local students supported by a Cross-Sector Impact grant, is a comic book exploring the future of New Orleans.

    Read the story
  • Escuela de Bomba y Plena Tata Cepeda

    Escuela de Bomba y Plena Tata Cepeda of Kissimmee, Florida, received a Traditional Arts Touring Grant to support an engagement with educator and elder Angel Reyes.

    Read the story

Reflections on the 2023 Board & Alumni Reunion

As South Arts draws near our 50-year celebration, we have been eager to connect with all those who have been of foundational leadership and support which makes today’s successes possible. We were enthused at the opportunity for a 2023 reunion where our South Arts Board were joined by Board alumni along with staff for a board meeting at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina. We asked South Arts supporter and former board chair Ted Abernathy to reflect on the gathering, his time on our Board, and what it meant to see South Arts' new growth and leadership. Read more...

With support from an In These Mountains: Project Grant, Guardians of the Gap revived their Folk Fest for a new generation after nearly twenty years of absence.

Board and Staff

Thank you to the South Arts Board of Directors for their generous service! Comprised of creatives, artists, entrepreneurs, and other leaders, their guidance and dedication are a vital role in our service to the region.

"The Wiz" by Southern Cultural Treasures organization True Colors Theatre Company. Photo by KayCan Productions.

South Arts was founded nearly 50 years ago to support the arts and culture of our region. As a Regional Arts Organization, we partner with the National Endowment for the Arts, the State Arts Agencies of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee, as well as individuals and other public and private funders to fulfill our mission: advancing Southern vitality through the arts.

Board Leadership

Neil Barclay, Chair
Detroit, MI

Gretchen McLennon, Vice Chair
Memphis, TN

William McKinney, Secretary
Raleigh NC & Greenville SC

Elliot Knight, Treasurer   
Montgomery, AL

Board Membership

Cathy Adams | Fernandina Beach, FL

Jeff Bell | Raleigh, NC

Christopher Cathers | Frankfort, KY

Natalie Chanin | Florence, AL

Gina Charbonnet | New Orleans, LA

Elmore Demott | Montgomery, AL

John T. Edge | Oxford, MS

Olga Garay-English | Los Angeles, CA

Sonya Halpern | Atlanta, GA

Glenda E. Hood | Orlando, FL

Susannah Johannsen | Baton Rouge, LA

Phillip March Jones | New York City, NY

David Lewis | Jackson, MS

Tina Lilly | Atlanta, GA

Bill Medich | Charleston, SC

Sejal Mehta | Raleigh, NC

Kara Olidge | Los Angeles, CA

Nina Parikh | Jackson, MS

David Platts | Columbia, SC

Anne B. Pope | Nashville, TN

Alice Randall | Nashville, TN

Nigel Redden | Mystic, CT

Alan Rothschild | Columbus, GA

Dennis Scholl | Miami Beach, FL

Sandy Shaughnessy | Tallahassee, FL

Mike Woodard | Durham, NC


Michael Bosarge, Vice President of Finance & Operations

Taylor Dooley Burden, Assistant Director, Traditional Arts

Hillary Crawford, Assistant Vice President, Programs

Joseph Crawford, Assistant Director, Programs

Nikki Estes, Director, Presenting & Touring

Damien Harrison, Accounting & Human Resources Manager

Jessyca Holland, Director, Organization & Community Initiatives

Teresa Hollingsworth, Director, Traditional Arts

Cathy Lee, Director, Database & Technology

Caroline Maddox, Vice President of Advancement

Dalyla McGee, Development Officer

Leland McKeithan, Director, Special Projects & Accessibility Coordinator

Charles Phaneuf, Vice President of Strategy

Dimitry Ponomarenko, Accounting & Operations Manager

Eric Rucker, Assistant Director, Jazz

Ivan Schustak, Director, Communications

Lisa E. Smalls, Assistant Director, Programs

Emmitt Stevenson, Director, Arts Engagement

Aiyana Straughn, Director, Arts Partnerships

Suzette M. Surkamer, President & CEO

Karina Teichert, Digital Content Manager

Drew Tucker, Director, Jazz

Miranda Valerio, Executive Assistant and Board Manager

Sabrina Wilder, Executive Team Adminstrative Manager

Jordan Young, Director, Media Arts & Design Manager

Joy Young, Vice President of Programs

Attendees at the exhibition opening of the 2023 Southern Prize and State Fellowships surrounded by works from Carlie Trosclair and Victoria Dugger.


Emerging Traditional Artist Program participant Nathan Bush practicing traditional Cherokee copper art and blacksmithing. Photo by Jesse Barber.


Private Contributions & Other Income


Federal Grants


State Grants & Contributions






Change in Net Assets


During FY 2023, private donor funding accounted for 65% of South Arts' revenues.

The numbers presented in this report are unaudited at this time. For a complete audit, when available, or any other questions, please contact Dalyla McGee, Development Officer, at or 404-874-7244 x832.


Thank You

To those who make our work possible.

The sponsors and donors listed below reflect those who gave between July 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023.

The International Arts Center at Troy University presented "The Promise of Living/The Tender Land" by Atlanta-based Selma-native artist Jerry Siegel. Photo by Mark Moseley.

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