UPPER CUMBERLAND — For the second year, the Tennessee Arts Commission is holding a grants competition to help build stronger communities through the arts. Funds are available to applicants that are focused on using arts or cultural assets to enhance the character of their communities for positive economic outcomes.
Called “Creative Placemaking,” the submissions deadline is midnight Monday, May 2. Two Upper Cumberland groups received such grants in 2015, including the Smith County Chamber of Commerce ($5,800 for its Carthage Junction Depot redevelopment project) and the Macon County Arts Council ($4,850 for development Winding Stairs Park). Only 12 grants were awarded.
“Last year we received tremendous interest for this grant, especially in rural counties,” Anne B. Pope, executive director of the Tennessee Arts Commission, said. “Through creative placemaking, communities have used their arts and cultural assets to affect their communities in a positive way.”
Creative placemaking provides the opportunity to animate public and private spaces, rejuvenate structures and streetscapes, improve local business visibility and increase public safety. It brings people together to build shared understanding of culture and community. This grants competition offers applicants the opportunity to enhance their community’s unique assets, strengthening economic vitality, livability and growth.
“Arts and culture can be used by communities to encourage economic growth, quality of life or tourism, or address barriers to community development,” said Stephanie B. Conner, chair of the Tennessee Arts Commission. “Partnerships among public, private, nonprofit and community sectors can strategically shape the physical and social character of Tennessee’s neighborhoods, towns, cities or regions through the arts.”
The Commission expects to provide five to 10 awards ranging from $5,000-$8,000 for projects that occur in one place. Applications that involve partnerships of two or more towns, cities and/or counties can request up to $10,000. At least two awards will be made to eligible rural applicants. A total of $50,000 in grants will be awarded for fiscal year 2017. Projects must take place between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017.
Eligible projects could include:
- Arts used as a catalyst to revitalize downtowns or neighborhoods
- Development of an arts or cultural business incubator or apprenticeship program
- Development of an activity or project that encourages greater engagement with the arts in state parks, farmer’s markets, or other natural, unique ecological or recreational assets
- Transformation of a perceived community liability into a community asset through the arts