CROSSVILLE – More than a dozen Upper Cumberland groups received grants from the Tennessee Arts Commission last week – monies that totaled $150,640 – and among the top award recipients: one of the region’s top tourist attractions that’s also set to celebrate a major anniversary this year.
Among the largest TAC awards, $64,000, was designated to the Cumberland County Playhouse in Crossville, which is gearing up for its 50th anniversary celebration. The theater, considered rural Tennessee’s only major cultural institution (MCI), Playhouse produces 14 works in more than 300 performances in two theaters for more than 107,000 individuals including 15,000 youth.
Jim Crabtree, Playhouse producing director, told the UCBJ that the money will be used for general operating support. While the funds account for roughly 2.4 percent of Playhouse’s total operating revenues for the year, the grant will help underwrite salaries for Tennessee-based actors, designers and teachers in its education program, among other uses.
“We are very grateful,” Crabtree said. “These funds support jobs in the Cumberlands, and in our case, it supports mostly full-time jobs. And it’s a big grant for us. Only about 3 percent total of Playhouse support is public money from the federal, state, or local government.”
Crabtree said the Playhouse is among the most “self-sufficient of Tennessee’s non-profit performing arts organizations,” but they’ve also been challenged by the slow economic recovery. The non-profit has received TAC grant funding since the 1980s.
“The playhouse is what I like to call a bootstrap organization,” Crabtree said. “Balancing the budget always a challenge, and an organization like the Playhouse is always at risk. But we’re hanging in there, thanks to our supporters.”
In all, 13 Upper Cumberland groups received funding, including the Arts Center of Cannon County, which received $28,700 for partnership support; the Bryan Symphony Orchestra Association, which received $12,500; and Vision 2020 Inc. in Red Boiling Springs, which received $3,180 for the 2016 Folk Medicine Festival.
A full list of regional recipients is below:
Cumberland County Playhouse, Crossville, $64,000. Operating Support: Rural Tennessee’s only major cultural institution (MCI) celebrating its 50th anniversary with 14 works in more than 300 performances in two theaters for more than 107,000 individuals including 15,000 youth.
Arts Center of Cannon County, Woodbury, $28,700. Partnership Support: The center produces community theater and school matinees, offers summer youth conservatory, concerts, gallery exhibitions and displays its folk arts collection in a 18,000-square-foot facility. A total of 33,000 individuals are estimated to benefit from these programs.
Bryan Symphony Orchestra Association, Cookeville, $12,500. Partnership Support: The 53rd season for the state’s only professional symphony orchestra outside of a metro area. Season includes classical and pops concerts, as well as “concerts for fourth-graders” for school children. Target audience of 4,250 with 1,750 youth and 200 artists.
Cannon Association of Craft Artists, Woodbury, $7,700. Rural Arts Project Support: White Oak Craft Fair marketing plan: To support marketing for an annual craft fair with 100 juried artists.
Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, Crossville, $6,020. Rural Arts Project Support: Cumberland Hispanic Festival: To support an annual Latino traditional arts festival featuring 50 musicians, dancers, crafts people and cooks.
Tennessee Theatre Association, Cookeville, $5,800. Arts Project Support: Annual Conference Support. Funds will be used to support the organization’s annual conference, which serves more than 1,000 theater professionals to provide education, training, opportunities for performances and enrichment, professional development and job opportunities.
Tennessee Technological University – Appalachian Center for Craft, Smithville, $5,660. Rural Arts Project Support: Explore Fine Craft Careers for High School Students. The Craft Center promotes excellence in American craft by teaching tradition and innovation in technique, concept and design. This workshop for high school students occurs on the ACC campus. Twelve artists are participating.
Art Guild of Fairfield Glade, Fairfield Glade, $4,520. Rural Arts Project Support: Center coordinator. The Guild presents art through education, exhibitions and participation in outreach for Cumberland County residents, visitors and artists. They request hiring a part-time contracted person.
Algood Senior Center/Upper Cumberland Quilt Festival, Cookeville, $4,500. Arts Project Support: Upper Cumberland Quilt Festival. The “Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow—Quilts Forever” exhibition will show 600 quilts and 400 quilted items and needlework pieces.
Friends of Fall Creek Falls State Park, Pikeville, $4,180. Rural Arts Project Support: Mountaineer Folk Festival. In its 37th year, the festival focuses on pre-depression folklife of the Cumberlands, especially music and traditional skills. More than 300 artists are presented, with only handmade crafts and top-notch traditional musicians featured.
Vision 2020 Inc., Red Boiling Springs, $3,180. Rural Arts Project Support: Folk Medicine Festival 2016: To support an annual festival featuring 80 traditional artists practicing a variety of old folkways, music and crafts.
Cumberland Art Society, Cookeville, $2,130. Arts Project Support: Office and gallery administrative support. Funds will be used to offset costs for an administrative assistant responsible for supervising the gallery and studio, basic office functions, coordinating volunteers and assisting art teachers.
Downtown Crossville Inc., Crossville, $1,750. Rural Arts Project Support: Artist support. Thursdays at the Amp concert series, six to eight free evening concerts, June through August, at the Spirit Broadband Amphitheater. The concerts provide music and activities for all ages.