Southern Arts Fund

The Southern Arts Fund (SAF) encourages arts programming and education by distributing grants to artists and community organizations throughout Southern Illinois. Individual artists, nonprofits, governmental organizations, and educational institutions are invited to submit project proposals that demonstrate a strong public service or community outreach component.

The 2023 Southern Arts Fund is made possible by funding from the Illinois Arts Council Agency, the National Endowment for the Arts, and regional donors.



The Southern Arts Fund aims to address the following:

  • Expand access to and availability of public art projects and arts funding in the region
  • Encourage sustainable arts and cultural programming by community organizations and public outreach initiatives by artists throughout Southern Illinois
  • Promote regional collaboration between artists, organizations, and communities

Application Process

Applications for SAF are open on January 27 – March 31, 2023

Artists and organizations wishing to provide thoughtful and accessible arts programming and outreach for their communities are encouraged to apply through our online application.

Applicants must submit a project proposal, budget, and description of community impact. Organizations need to include documentation of their nonprofit status. Artists need to submit samples representing their body of work. Project proposals must demonstrate a significant community outreach component. All grant-funded events must be free and open to the public. 

SAF grants typically range between $1500 – $3000. Budgets should demonstrate additional funds supporting the proposed project. 

Applications for SAF are evaluated each spring by a panel of jurors, who are members of the Southern Illinois Artists Council (SIAC), Artspace 304’s regional auxillary board. Projects are evaluated on the following criteria: proposal quality, pursuit of excellence, community impact and need, dedication and follow-through, and community support.


Eligible applicants for SAF include individual artists, nonprofits, governmental organizations, and educational institutions in the Southern Illinois region.

Projects already receiving funding from the Illinois Arts Council Agency (IACA) are not eligible for SAF funding. 

SAF Applicant Conference

An Applicant Conference was held on Friday, February 17 for information on how artists and organizations can apply to SAF. The goal was to help applicants develop and submit high quality proposals, including an overview of the program, how to write clear project descriptions, strategies to reach underserved communities, developing the project budget, and documenting the work. To view the presentation, please click here. If you have any questions, please email Lynne Chambers,

2022 SAF Grantees

Last year, the SAF distributed more than $40,000 to artists and organizations throughout Southern Illinois, with projects in more than 11 counties.


  • African American Museum of Southern Illinois
    Juneteenth Freedom Celebration
  • Art for All
    Marion Summer Art Program
  • Cade Bursell
    All Species Puppet Parade
  • Cairo Historical Preservation Project
    Spirit of Ward Chapel at AME Church
  • Carbondale Main Street
    Brown Bag Concerts
  • Carbondale Park District
    Jazz in the Park
  • Carbondale United
    Chicago Mass Choir Performance at the Cairo Heritage Gospel and Blues Festival
  • Cobden High School – ESL Club
    Ballet Folclorico Dance Team
  • DeSande R
    The Door of No Return & The Struggle Before Greatness
  • Douglass School Art Place
    Hands in Bridgewood
  • Legacy Training, Inc.
    Just a Vocalist: The Art of the Music Business
  • Madeline Deiters
    Kre8ive Fine Arts Ground and Wall Mural
  • Michael Faris
    A History of Racism
  • Phillip Carrier
    Sculptural Bridges at Touch of Nature Trails
  • Project Human X
    Project Human X Art Festival
  • Robert Ketchens
    A Painted History Mural
  • Sandra Pfeifer
    39 Counties: Save Democracy Tour
  • Shawnee Hills Arts Council
    Hansel & Gretel Revisited
  • Southern Illinois Artist Collective on Race, Equity, and Unity
    A Response to the Legacy of Racial Terrorism in America: A Fine Art Show
  • Southern Illinois Culture and Art in Bilingual Education (SI CABE)
    Latin Summer Nights
  • Stone Soup Shakespeare Theater Company
    A Midsummer Night’s Dream Tour
Marion Summer Art Program

Art for All provided two weeks of free art classes for Marion elementary students in June. More than 20 students were able to experience their first art class at the Boyton Street Community Center, led by three local artists and educators.

All Species Puppet Parade

The Beloved Puppetistas hosted the eighth All Species Puppet Parade on April 22 in Attucks Park. Three community workshops were held in Carbondale to make puppets from recycled materials prior to the parade. At the Earth Day celebration, attendees were able to make masks, enjoy the parade, and listen to live music.

Photo by the Beloved Puppetistas

Brown Bag Concerts

For 10+ years, Brown Bag Concerts have been a staple of summer entertainment in Carbondale. Free concerts were held at the Town Square Pavilion every Wednesday in May-July, organized by Carbondale Main Street. Between 40-120 people attended each concert and performers included 41 artists and 13 bands.

Jazz in the Park

The Carbondale Park District organized the first Jazz in the Park on August 20 at Attucks Park. More than 110 community members enjoyed an evening of live music from local jazz musicians and refreshments from local food trucks.

Photo by the Carbondale Park District



Hands in Bridgewood

The Douglass School Art Place worked with children to create a glass panel with handprints to commemorate the Bridgewood Estates neighborhood in Murphysboro. Families were invited to the community center to help prepare a sand mold and to the Douglass School to watch glass be poured into the mold.

Photo by Douglass School Art Place

Just a Vocalist: The Art of the Music Business

Legacy Training held an interactive, virtual seminar for performing artists with Dr. Howard Hewett. Hewett explored ethics and responsibility as a performing artist, fan engagement and management, distribution and streaming services, and refining individual style and practice.

Mural at Kre8ive Fine Arts Academy

Madeline Deiters (ThreeLine Art) designed and painted a colorful mural at Kre8ive Fine Arts Academy in Herrin. The space is actively used as a gathering point for community members and Kre8ive performers. Visible from major roads, the library, and local organizations, the mural brings art to the entire Herrin community.

Photo by ThreeLine Art

A History of Racism

Michael Faris created a series of artworks examining racism in the U.S. The series features oil and watercolor paintings, charcoal and graphite drawings, digital and analog collage, and sculpture. An exhibition was held in Cairo and further showings will be held in the Midwest.

Painting by Michael Faris



Sculptural Bridges at Touch of Nature Trails

Bringing together 15 volunteers, Phillip Carrier installed a sculptural bridge at Touch of Nature in Makanda. The bridge will also function to encourage mountain biking on the trails.

Photo by Phillip Carrier

Mural at Mounds African American Museum

Robert Ketchens painted a mural at the African American Museum in Mounds and incorporated feedback from community members throughout the process. The mural, titled A Painted History, reflects on the rich and varied history and contributions of the Black communities in Pulaski County and Mounds, IL.

Photo by Robert Ketchens

39 Counties Documentary Tour

A screening of 39 Counties by filmmaker Sandra Pfeifer was held at the Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship on September 22, followed by additional screenings in the Midwest. More than 30 community members were able to view the film and discuss civic engagement and democracy at the intial screening.

Documentary still by Sandra Pfeifer

A Response to the Legacy of Racial Terrorism in America: A Fine Art Show

Six artists of the Southern Illinois Artist Collective on Race, Equity, and Unity produced original works in response to a study tour of the Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama. Pieces were shown in an exhibition at Cairo High School, coordinated by Legacy Training. More than 44 community members attended the show and participated in a group discussion.

Photo by Legacy Training



Latin Summer Nights

SI CABE hosts public events to empower diverse artists, increase access to arts, and facilitate intercultural communication and social change. Latin Summer Nights was held at the Town Square Pavilion in Carbondale on June 3, with an audience of 80 community members. Performers included Son Jarocho duo Son Monarcas and Diana Hinojosa.

Photo by SI CABE

A Midsummer Night's Dream Tour

In its twelfth season, Stone Soup Shakespeare Theater Company held a residency and regional tour of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which included 21 free performances throughout the Midwest, three library story hours, and two high school workshops in September and October.



SAF Partners

The Southern Arts Fund (SAF) is made possible through the Illinois Arts Council Agency’s Community Arts Access program. The SAF is administered by Artspace 304, with significant funding support from the Illinois Arts Council Agency, the National Endowment for the Arts, and regional donors. 

Thank you for supporting our mission to increase opportunities in the arts throughout Southern Illinois!