Blog Posts for Tennessee

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.”

Read More

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.

Read More

Learn from Nashville: How to Prepare for the Worst

Posted by Ms. Jennifer J. Cole, Sep 04, 2013 0 comments

Jennifer Cole Jennifer Cole

On Friday, April 30, 2010 it started raining. Most Nashvillians rented a movie, grabbed a pizza and stayed in for the night. By lunch the next day, I remarked to my husband that the rain was “getting a little Biblical”.  Within 2 hours I received a call that changed my life. The Deputy Mayor summoned me into the Emergency Command Center to help manage the city’s coordination and flood response. I did not leave that post for nearly six months.

I had been on the job at Metro Arts for just 4 months. Luckily, my previous career had included disaster training and coordination—just enough to be helpful in a city overwhelmed by water. By May 2, the region had absorbed more than 17 inches of water, one of the largest rain events ever recorded in America. More than 11 individuals lost their lives and more than 10,000 properties were damaged. [1]

Downtown Nashville Downtown Nashville

We sustained millions in damage to the Nashville Symphony; the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum; and dozens of smaller artist studios, galleries, and community arts organizations. Hundreds of musicians and touring acts lost their equipment and costumes when SoundCheck Nashville was completely flooded.

Within a matter of moments, I went from Arts Administrator to co-managing the Office of Disaster Recovery. More than 3 years later, I still get twitchy when it rains for more than a few hours.

What I learned on the ground during the response and working with the community after the flood just might help someone else.  Artists and grassroots arts agencies are particularly vulnerable and must think about disasters before the happen.

Read More

A Busy Summer for the Arts Action Fund

Posted by Americans for the Arts, Sep 20, 2012 0 comments

The Americans for the Arts Action Fund, in partnership with NAMM: National Association of Music Merchants, The Recording Academy (GRAMMYs), and The United States Conference of Mayors partnered together to sponsor programs at both the Republican National Convention and the Democratic National Convention with the help of the respective local arts agencies in Tampa and Charlotte (Arts Council of Hillsborough County and the Arts & Science Council).

It all began with two events in Tampa for the Republican National Convention.

The first was ArtsSPEAK, a policy forum on the future of the arts and arts education. The second was ArtsJAM, an intimate concert performance featuring national recording artists celebrating the arts.

To kick things off, Arts Action Fund President Bob Lynch welcomed RNC delegates to ArtsSPEAK in Tampa:

Later, he was joined by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who moderated the panel of elected officials, advocates and arts leaders. Featured speakers included: Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert; Mesa (AZ) Mayor Scott Smith; Hillsborough County School Board Member Doretha Edgecomb; Tampa Bay Times Marketing Director Kerry O'Reilly; and Jazz Musician/Former New York Yankee Bernie Williams.

You can listen to the full event via SoundCloud:

Read More

Pages