Charting the Future: Investing in Nashville Artists

Posted by Ms. Jaclyn R. Johnson, Apr 25, 2014 0 comments

Jaclyn Johnson Tidwell Jaclyn Johnson Tidwell

My April calendar is filling up nicely with runway shows, play openings, art crawls, and artist workshops. This really shouldn’t surprise me. After all, Nashville has stepped into the spotlight in the last few years as one of the nation’s new “it” cities according to New York Times writer Kim Severson. GQ calls this burgeoning southern city “Nowville” noting that “it's the most electric spot in the South, thanks to a cast of transplanted designers, architects, chefs, and rock 'n' rollers.”

For many of our local arts leaders, the national attention brings opportunity and trepidation. Our city is awake and moving towards its future as the world watches. Severson describes the threat saying that “the ingredients for Nashville’s rise are as much economic as they are cultural and, critics worry, could be as fleeting as its fame.” Currently, artists innovate outside of traditional funding opportunities. Our first artist housing development fills immediately with no new opportunities in sight, work-space prices continue to climb pushing artists to the city’s edges, and divisions still exist between genres and organizations.

As an emerging arts leader at an arts service organization, I have the unique privilege of growing up in my career alongside a talented creative class. This privilege also breeds responsibility to lend my hand and voice in growing resources and infrastructure that will empower artists and organizers to thrive. Thanks to the leadership of a passionate board and Executive Director, the team at the Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville began conversations in early 2013 about strategic steps to build a stronger foundation for our growing arts community. We asked more than 300 artists and organizers to identify one skill or resource that would be most impactful for developing their creative careers. Respondents listed business training and career planning first and time-management training second. The development of creative spaces was also on the list. To begin to respond, we gathered partners from Metro Arts, the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development, and the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce to craft an infrastructure strategy for the Nashville arts community.

Step 1 is Periscope: Artist Entrepreneur Training, a new six-week intensive training opportunity that empowers working artists to see their vision through an entrepreneurial lens. Hosted at the nationally renowned Nashville Entrepreneur Center (NEC), Periscope is designed to give artists tools to organize, plan, and sustain their creative careers through one-hour lectures with the Director of Education at the NEC and break-out groups facilitated by top local arts professionals. Our pilot Periscope class includes arts organization leaders, small business owners, and music row darlings representing genres as varied as modern dance, rock n’ roll, glass blowing, multi-media, poetry, and orchestra.

Community partners have joined the Arts & Business Council in making Periscope a transformative experience for each artist. Every artist will have the opportunity to engage in:

  • Training: Cumulative professional development training for working artists;
  • Exchange: Sharing best practices with interdisciplinary peers through small group work;
  • Mentorship: Access point to entrepreneurship resources and mentors; and
  • Exposure: Opportunities to celebrate and highlight the work of alumni artists.

The pilot Periscope class, comprised of 25 artists selected through a competitive application process, started workshops in March 2014. “Nashville attracts people who come here with their creativity as their capital, and I am proud of programs like this one that will help us retain and appeal to talented artists,” Mayor Karl Dean said. “This program will not only help these 25 artists develop their careers, but it will also add to our momentum as a city of opportunity for artists and entrepreneurs.”

“Artists are core to our neighborhoods and our economy,” added Jennifer Cole, executive director of Metro Nashville Arts Commission. “Periscope shows unparalleled collaboration with the public and private sectors to cultivate and develop our vibrant artist community.”

I believe that this “it” city will outlast the hype if it continues to build into the lives of artists step-by-step, partnership-by-partnership. If we continue on this path, Nashville will be a city where artists thrive professionally and personally, collaborate across genre lines on innovative projects and resource-sharing strategies, and contribute to civic life and community problem solving. I am proud to be part of charting the future by investing in Nashville artists.

 

Interested in hearing more about the future of the arts from emerging arts leaders? Check out our preconference session on Arts Leadership at this year’s Annual Convention in Nashville, TN.
This Emerging Leaders Blog Salon on Charting the Future is generously sponsored by Patron Technology.

Interested in hearing more about the future of the arts from emerging arts leaders? Check out our preconference session on Arts Leadership at this year’s Annual Convention in Nashville, TN.

This Emerging Leaders Blog Salon on Charting the Future is generously sponsored by Patron Technology

- See more at: http://blog.artsusa.org/2014/04/18/charting-the-future-why-we-need-new-v...

Interested in hearing more about the future of the arts from emerging arts leaders? Check out our preconference session on Arts Leadership at this year’s Annual Convention in Nashville, TN.

This Emerging Leaders Blog Salon on Charting the Future is generously sponsored by Patron Technology

- See more at: http://blog.artsusa.org/2014/04/18/charting-the-future-why-we-need-new-v...

Interested in hearing more about the future of the arts from emerging arts leaders? Check out our preconference session on Arts Leadership at this year’s Annual Convention in Nashville, TN.

This Emerging Leaders Blog Salon on Charting the Future is generously sponsored by Patron Technology

- See more at: http://blog.artsusa.org/2014/04/18/charting-the-future-why-we-need-new-v...

Interested in hearing more about the future of the arts from emerging arts leaders? Check out our preconference session on Arts Leadership at this year’s Annual Convention in Nashville, TN.

This Emerging Leaders Blog Salon on Charting the Future is generously sponsored by Patron Technology

- See more at: http://blog.artsusa.org/2014/04/18/charting-the-future-why-we-need-new-v...

Interested in hearing more about the future of the arts from emerging arts leaders? Check out our preconference session on Arts Leadership at this year’s Annual Convention in Nashville, TN.

This Emerging Leaders Blog Salon on Charting the Future is generously sponsored by Patron Technology

- See more at: http://blog.artsusa.org/2014/04/18/charting-the-future-why-we-need-new-v...

Interested in hearing more about the future of the arts from emerging arts leaders? Check out our preconference session on Arts Leadership at this year’s Annual Convention in Nashville, TN.

This Emerging Leaders Blog Salon on Charting the Future is generously sponsored by Patron Technology

- See more at: http://blog.artsusa.org/2014/04/18/charting-the-future-why-we-need-new-v...

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