In 2016, Metro Arts launched an artist development program called Learning Lab to train artists in civic, public, social and placemaking practices. This program, initially funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and co-designed with the Center for Performance and Civic Practice (CPCP) and the Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville, helped artists deepen their knowledge around equitable, community-based work and created capacity for neighborhood transformation through the arts.
The program provides artists with the tools to work in authentic community partnerships through deep listening and co-design skills, practical knowledge needed to enter into partnerships and project management basics. The 25 artists who completed the training were eligible to compete for funding for project research and development or project implementation. Eleven artists were funded to work with community partners on projects covering a wide range of community concerns such as affordable housing and displacement, restorative justice and issues important to Nashville’s immigrant communities. (Watch the Metro Arts Learning Lab: Community Artist Training Program video for more about artist projects and the program.)
In 2018, we are launching the second round of training and have selected 12 Nashville-based artists to be a part of the Learning Lab co-hort. We also have 11 Metro agencies and partners, as well as nonprofits working in strategic areas, joining in the learning environment alongside the artists to examine and consider civic and social issues in our communities. The areas of focus for the 2018 Learning Lab co-hort are:
- Transportation, safety and access
- Affordable housing and aging populations
- Public Health and food systems
This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Metro Arts is also supported in part by the Tennessee Arts Commission.