Blog Posts for Tennessee

Learning to Listen: The Transformative Power of Collaboration and Nashville’s Learning Lab Artist Training Program

Posted by Ms. Van Gill Maravalli, Aug 16, 2018 0 comments

At the Metro Nashville Arts Commission, we like to think of ourselves as a type of strange municipal glue. Meaning, we create points of connection between things that previously existed independent of one another in order to make something new. This also means we spend a lot of time explaining that artists have a unique skillset that can be an asset in any field, not just the arts. When we start these conversations with non-arts organizations we hope to collaborate with, our message is often met with confused faces. Could an artist do more than beautify a physical space? How could an artist work within the juvenile court system or at a public health facility? We ask these questions because we believe public art can be a community investment tool for neighborhood transformation, creative workforce development, and equitable practices throughout our city.

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Preparing Your Organization and Your Donors for Shifts in the Charitable Tax Deduction

Posted by Christina Ritchie, Feb 16, 2018 0 comments

On January 1, the 2018 Tax Cuts & Jobs Act went into effect, a substantial change to the U.S. tax code which has the potential to negatively impact arts and culture nonprofit organizations in a variety of ways. One of the most significant impacts will come in changes related to the thresholds and amounts associated with the charitable tax deduction. This 100-year-old provision was designed to stimulate giving to charities and other organizations serving the public good by providing an opportunity to claim a deduction as a reduction in an individual’s tax burden. While the repercussions of the federal tax code changes are still emerging, and corresponding shifts in state-by-state tax policy may impact your situation, the notes that follow are an introductory primer. If you have questions about state-level implications, we recommend you reach out to your state comptroller or state association of nonprofits.

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Arts Advocacy Day Is Coming

Posted by Ms. Kate O. McClanahan, Feb 01, 2018 0 comments

Although years may really just be a number, in its 31 years, Arts Advocacy Day has seen six different U.S. presidents spanning both political parties. It’s witnessed sixteen different congressional sessions and eight different Speakers of the U.S. House. Through it all, every year, attendees hear that “the arts are bipARTtisan.” Because, no matter who’s in office, arts advocacy matters. Funding decisions are made every year. Who’s deciding this year may not be deciding next year. Who’s to remember what happened before? Who’s to know why it matters? Who’s to learn from each other? The answer is us. All of us. All of us together.

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Advocating for the Every Day Advocate

Posted by Amy K. Ruggaber, Aug 29, 2017 0 comments

I often have students or fellow artists ask me how I got into advocacy, and I’m happy to share my experiences and strategies with them. This year, I launched a whole new advocacy campaign: I reached out to my friends, family, peers, and more and shared with them my everyday advocacy efforts that were more traditionally focused on legislators and policy makers. My hope was that by de-mystifying the advocacy process, more people would get involved. I wanted to inspire a whole new group of Every Day Advocates.

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Facing History Mural

Posted by Memphis Mural Brigade, Aug 16, 2017 0 comments

At the beginning of this project, I thought about how murals serve as tools to strengthen narratives about place. This “Upstanders Mural” is no exception. In addition to strengthening the narrative of Memphis as a place of Civil Rights struggle and heroism, this mural should shift the narrative. It should widen the scope of the history of Memphis’ civic engagement from one predominantly focused on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to one that includes a wider range of Memphis activists and “upstanders.”

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If Not YOU, Then WHO?

Posted by Amy K. Ruggaber, Aug 07, 2017 0 comments

When one of my dear mentors asked me to participate in my first Arts Advocacy Day, I demurred, saying that I wasn’t anybody special. I wasn’t an Executive Director! I didn’t work for a Local Arts Agency! I wasn’t an expert on Congressional Law! But my mentor looked me straight in the eye and said, “If not YOU, then WHO?” That hit home. It made me realize that I was EXACTLY who our political leaders needed to hear from.

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