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ArtsMemphis brings back Arts Week; announced as recipient of American Rescue Plan grant from NEA

ArtsMemphis brings back Arts Week; announced as recipient of American Rescue Plan grant from NEA

ArtsMemphis is proud to announce its second annual Arts Week from December 5-12, 2021, a week-long celebration to showcase Memphis’ dynamic, diverse collection of artists and arts organizations.

An officially-proclaimed week by both the City of Memphis and Shelby County, Arts Week will spotlight the significance of art to Memphis’ world-renowned cultural vitality. 

“ArtsMemphis is a convener and connector for not only arts resources and advocacy but also for community celebration,” said ArtsMemphis President & CEO Elizabeth Rouse. “As we all have tried to make the most of these last two years, we longed for the light at the end of the tunnel to appear. Now, it seems that the light has begun to grow brighter—in the form of stage lights, marquee lights, and the flashing lights that guide us to our seats to experience the talent of our arts groups.”

Unlike the first annual Arts Week in 2020, which was limited to virtual and social media-hosted celebrations due to the pandemic, this year’s Arts Week welcomes highly-anticipated performances and safe in-person experiences from over one dozen of ArtsMemphis’ grantees. In addition, ArtsMemphis is producing a series of events, including Curbside Cheer, an outdoor celebration at its headquarters on Monday, December 6 from 3-5 p.m., as well as a special edition of Downtown Memphis Commission’s Food Truck Thursday on December 9 in Court Square from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Details are available at

ArtsMemphis invested $2.2 million in 64 arts groups and hundreds of artists in 2021. During the pandemic, ArtsMemphis has elevated its role as convener and connector for the arts sector by helping arts organizations maintain, rework business plans, create virtual arts events and develop reopening protocols.

Further, today, November 18, ArtsMemphis was announced a recommended recipient of an American Rescue Plan grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Memphis is just one of 66 communities across the country—and one of only three Tennessee recipients—to receive funding. ArtsMemphis was granted a total of $500,000 to subgrant to local arts organizations, which will be awarded in early 2022 to help with recovery and reopening.

“ArtsMemphis does tremendous work supporting our city’s arts organizations and artists. Their diligent and thoughtful process of grantmaking intentionally encourages, accelerates, and engages our diverse populations, neighborhoods, and art forms,” said Mayor Jim Strickland. “This recognition by the National Endowment for the Arts is a tremendous honor, and I can think of nothing more fitting as we prepare to enter ArtsWeek this year.”

In light of Arts Week, ArtsMemphis has also announced a matching gift of up to $30,000 for contributions to ArtsMemphis during the week-long celebration December 5-12.

“The financial impacts of the pandemic have been devastating; however, arts organizations and artists continue to be resilient, creative, and collaborative,” continued Rouse. “Let’s honor their fortitude during Arts Week by contributing to ArtsMemphis or the arts organization of your choice.”

ArtsMemphis will feature and amplify the testimonials, tributes and performances published during Arts Week across its Facebook and Instagram channels. Learn more at

ABOUT ARTSMEMPHIS. ArtsMemphis is Memphis and Shelby County’s primary arts funder, generating and infusing over $87 million in financial support for the arts since its inception nearly 60 years ago. 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. During the COVID pandemic, ArtsMemphis has elevated its role as convener and connector helping the arts sector recover, reimagine, and continue as a critical economic driver to ensure the arts remain a vital component of Mid-South culture and daily life. Learn more at