Blog Posts for Tennessee

Arts + Youth Development = Influence

Posted by Denise Montgomery, Sep 15, 2014 0 comments

Denise Montgomery Denise Montgomery

We know what quality creative youth development (CYD) programs look like through our own work, thanks to model programs, and through publications such as Engaging Adolescents, Something to Say: Success Principles for Afterschool Arts Programs From Urban Youth and Other Experts, and The Mosaic Model for Youth Development through the Arts. So let’s just implement the principles and increase the number of young people who are benefiting from such programs.

If only it were that simple.

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Millennials: A Volunteer State of Mind?

Posted by Casey Gill Summar, Jun 19, 2014 0 comments

Casey Gill Summar Casey Gill Summar

An Americans for the Arts' colleague recently shared this interesting article claiming that social activism is the “new religion” of the millennial workforce and asked if I felt this was true in my experience building partnerships between arts and business. In full disclosure, I think I’m just outside the millennial generation, but I will say there is something core to this concept of passion and commitment for your cause that drives me and my younger colleagues. We all share the desire to not just donate to a cause, but to contribute time and expertise as well, to bring along all friends, and in short, tell everyone we know how important this cause is to our hearts. I’m definitely guilty of this. You don’t have to spend much time around me to learn that I’m an ardent advocate for the arts, that I love my little transitional neighborhood so much I joined the board of the association, or that I’m a fan of living local right down to my front-yard garden. As the Executive Director of the Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville since 2012, I have worked to incorporate some of these concepts of volunteerism, meaningful partnership, and first-hand experiences which I desire into our program offerings.

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Developing Mutually Beneficial Partnerships Between Arts and Business

Posted by Jordan Shue, May 20, 2014 0 comments

BCA National Survey of Business Support for the Arts 2013 BCA National Survey of Business Support for the Arts 2013

In addition to measuring the dollars spent by businesses in support of the arts, as well as the types of companies doing the supporting, the 2013 BCA Survey of Business Support for the Arts delved into the motivations and goals of businesses when considering partnerships with the arts.

As much as we may want to focus on why businesses do support the arts when trying to build strategic partnerships with them, the reasons why they typically don’t support the arts will never go away if we don’t address them head-on. Fortunately, a lot of the reasons businesses choose not to support the arts can be amended by starting open communication with companies that historically have not shown interest in supporting our sector. Many times, this is because they don’t know how the arts can benefit the company and its employees, and not because the arts are not perceived as useful to society. (It’s also important to remember that 66% of organizations in the survey stated that they have never been asked to support the arts).

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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.

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Top 10 Reasons to Support the Arts in 2014

Posted by Randy I. Cohen, Mar 20, 2014 11 comments

There is an old quote attributed to John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich:

“If any man will draw up his case, and put his name at the foot of the first page, I will give him an immediate reply. Where he compels me to turn over the sheet, he must wait my leisure.”

This was the charge given to me by a business leader who needed to make a compelling case for government and corporate arts funding:

“Keep it to one page, please,” was his request. “I can get anyone to read one page.”

With the 2014 arts advocacy season upon us, the following is my updated “Top 10 Reasons to Support the Arts.”

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6 Characteristics to Successful Arts and Rural Economic Development Efforts

Posted by Shannon Ford, Feb 20, 2014 5 comments

Shannon Ford Shannon Ford

"I'm not aware of too many things
I know what I know, if you know what I mean"

With this refrain, Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians began the song “What I Am,” an anthem for simplicity, honesty, and common sense that has helped me in both my personal and professional life since I was a teen.  (And yes, I know I am dating myself, and I am happy to own my middle age.)

As a staff member of the Tennessee Arts Commission, I’ve assisted people from rural places with packaging their hopes, dreams, and aspirations into proposals that anticipate skeptical questions and outline the community benefits to be achieved. It’s my job as a grants administrator and steward of public dollars to think how to economize and get the largest return from small investments, since our grants often represent a fraction of the funds raised for any given constituent’s project or operational budget. What makes my job rewarding is that I work for a state full of incredibly talented artists and administrators who continually innovate and show me how to squeeze grant dollars for every ounce of public value possible.

My job has also afforded me the privilege of speaking to teachers, public officials, and community boosters who believe that the arts are good for students, seniors, downtowns, tourism, as well as plenty of other groups and initiatives. However, sometimes they don’t know what to say or do to persuade movers, shakers, and/or non-believers. In particular, they express frustration that the arts are kept on the fringes of discussions about moving their communities strategically forward, or that the arts are perceived as expendable amenities, rather than as essential forces of positive change.

I’m not aware of too many magic bullets for incorporating the arts into rural economic development, but I know to look for six characteristics from constituents who’ve been successful.

1)      Clarity of Goals – A plan is not a plan without an end in mind. If you want to do something, then be clear about the intended effects it will have on your community. A vehicle for reaching your community goals could be opening an arts center, or organizing a festival, or starting a gallery crawl, but those activities won’t have short-term or long-term effects without an expressed purpose. So your goals need to be clear, logically related to the means for achieving them, and attainable. Be very aware that if you are pitching your project or program as a component of economic development, then one of your long-term goals must be to generate revenue. Whatever form it takes – income for local artists, new business for the hospitality industry, a bump in the county tax rolls – it is important to show how economic benefits will accrue to the community at large.

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