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  • Joel Peterson and Spectrum 3 received a Jazz Road Tours grant in spring 2022 to take their work on the road.  

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2022 Annual Report

Strengthen the arts. Strengthen the South.

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In 2022, South Arts focused on sustainability, momentum, and impact as we worked toward our mission: advancing Southern vitality through the arts.

2022 in Review

Reflect back with us on 2022, and the artists, organizations, and communities from the South Arts family that made this year spectacular.

Our Impact, by the Numbers

Our fiscal year 2022 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.

Samuel Francis Smith and Art Thief on tour with support from a Jazz Road Tours grant. Photo by Samuel Francis Smith.

In 2022 we granted $9660593
to artists and organizations.

Supporting artists
and community leaders
Supporting arts organizations
and community groups

From the South Arts Team

South Arts staff shares with you the “Magic Moments” that made this a fantastic year.

Press Features and Mountaintops

"Creativity is worth investing in."

Our special initiative Southern Cultural Treasure, built with lead funding from the Ford Foundation, is supporting 17 organizations led by and serving Black, Indigenous, and People of Color with an investment of $6M over the coming years. Read what some of the press had to say about this new program:

BARRON'SArts Groups Named as ‘Southern Cultural Treasures’ in $6 Million Grant Program
IL GIORNALE DELL'ARTEGiorno per giorno nell’arte | 7 luglio 2022
BIRMINGHAM BUSINESS JOURNALAlabama Jazz Hall of Fame selected for arts initiative
THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTIONNew funding, Kennedy Center debut give Ballethnic strong footing for future
THE MIAMI HERALD'Like winning the lottery.' These BIPOC arts groups in Miami got a much needed windfall
THE ART NEWSPAPERSouth Arts and the Ford Foundation launch $6m programme supporting Southern arts organisations
SOUTH CHARLOTTE WEEKLYJazzArts to get boost from Southern Cultural Treasures initiative
THE POST AND COURIER2 SC organizations to receive part of a $6M funding initiative
Ashé Cultural Arts Center’s Maafa Commemoration. Photo by Gason Ayisyin.

Around the Region

South Arts primary region are 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 2022.

Stove Works in Chattanooga, Tennessee, presented Romeo y Julieta in September 2021. Photo by Stove Works.
  • In These Mountains Site Visit

    Graduate student documentarians from Appalachian State University, Western Kentucky University, and East Tennessee State University met and worked together in person for the first time as part of In These Mountains.

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  • Webinars

    Led by Nate McGaha, executive director of Arts North Carolina, South Arts held a free workshop exploring the role and power of advocacy.

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  • ETAP, In These Mountains

    Robbie Teasdale, Emerging Traditional Artist Program participant, used his award to construct a traditional woodfire anagama kiln on his parent’s farm in Decatur, Tennessee.

    Explore Story
  • Momentum

    Wideman Davis Dance, one of the five South Arts Momentum dance companies, explores media and interdisciplinary arts as part of reimagining and reclaiming antebellum homes.

    Explore Story
  • South Arts new Staff

    In 2022, South Arts added several positions to support new programs and operations. While we are based in Atlanta, staff is often travelling to meet new people and learn about the region.

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  • Jazz Road

    Jazz artist Sammy Figueroa revisited his late father's legacy in a collaborative recording with support from a Jazz Road Creative Residencies grant.

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  • South Arts new Board members

    South Arts is governed by a dynamic board of 26 individuals from our nine-state region and beyond; In 2022, we welcomed four new board members, including "slow design" pioneer Natalie Chanin of Florence, Alabama.

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  • Southern Circuit

    Film producer Darcy McKinnon visited with community members at Bologna Performing Arts Center in Cleveland, Mississippi after a Southern Circuit screening of the documentary The Neutral Ground.

    Explore Story
  • Southern Prize 2022

    Southern Prize recipient and Louisiana State Fellow Hannah Chalew explores our changing climate through her artwork and installations.

    Explore Story

Board & 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 University of North Carolina Wilmington Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion engaged visual artist Maya Freelon to develop an interactive tissue paper quilt. Photo by Lauryl Meile.

South Arts was founded 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
  • Cathy Adams, Vice Chair
  • Fernandina Beach, FL
  • William McKinney, Secretary
  • Raleigh NC & Greenville SC
  • Elliot Knight, Treasurer   
    Montgomery, AL



Board Membership
  • Alejandro Aguirre
  • Miami, FL
  • Jeff Bell
  • Raleigh, NC
  • Christopher Cather
  • Frankfort, KY
  • Natalie Chanin
  • Florence, AL
  • 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
  • Tina Lilly
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Gretchen McLennon
  • Memphis, TN
  • Bill Medich
  • Charleston, SC
  • 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
  • Dennis Scholl
  • Miami Beach, FL
  • Sandy Shaughnessy
  • Tallahassee, FL
  • Mike Woodard
  • Durham, NC
  • Conrhonda E. Baker, Assistant Program Director
  • Michael Bosarge, Vice President of Finance & Operations
  • Ellie Dassler, Assistant Director, Traditional Arts
  • 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
  • Dalyla McGee, Development Officer
  • Leland McKeithan, Director, Special Projects & Accessibility Coordinator
  • Charles Phaneuf, Vice President of Strategy
  • Dimitry Ponomarenko, Accounting & Operations Manager
  • Ashleigh Porter, Digital Content Manager
  • Ivan Schustak, Director, Communications
  • Emmitt Stevenson, Director, Arts Engagement
  • Suzette M. Surkamer, President & CEO
  • 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
  • The 2022 Hilton Head Island Lantern Parade, supported by an Express Grant, is a free creative placemaking event and an opportunity for the surrounding community and visitors to celebrate the history, ecology and people of Hilton Head Island, consisting of four public art making workshops and two parades led by artist Chantelle Rytter.

    Photo credit: Gustavo Rattia. 

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The 2022 Hilton Head Island Lantern Parade was supported by an Express Grant. Photo by Gustavo Rattia.


The McIntosh County Shouters in a spring 2022 residency at the Savannah Music Festival. Photo by Somi Studios.


Private Contributions & Other Income


Federal Grants


State Grants & Contributions






Change in Net Assets


During FY 2022, a one-time gift from a private donor accounted for 51% of the Organization’s 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.


Looking Ahead

The South Arts team is looking forward to another powerful year in 2023.

Thank You

To those who make our work possible

Flatfoot dancer, clogger, and dance caller Rodney Sutton (center) and the Green Grass Cloggers at the Global Roots of Appalachian Mountain Dance Symposium. Photo by Jesse Barber.

Help us continue making an impact in 2023.

We'll keep you posted.

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