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Metro Arts, Curb Center Awarded $50,000 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to Relaunch, Expand Racial Equity in Arts Leadership

Emily Waltenbaugh

Funding will Support Expanded, Extended Opportunities for REAL Impact

The Metro Nashville Arts Commission (Metro Arts) and Vanderbilt’s Curb Center for Art, Enterprise and Public Policy can soon relaunch and expand their popular Racial Equity in Arts Leadership (REAL) program as the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) today announced Metro Arts has been approved for a $50,000 Grants for Arts Projects award to support REAL.

From 2015-2019, more than 70 participants from the Nashville arts community completed REAL’s six-month curriculum, designed for leaders and artists to learn about race, equity practices and ways to enact change within their personal practices, their organizations’ structures, and in the larger arts community. In March 2019, four years of REAL cohorts’ experience and expertise culminated in a REAL Symposium at Vanderbilt, where 212 attendees experienced three dynamic days of learning, teaching and inspiration. 

With the Grants for Arts Projects award, Metro Arts and Curb will relaunch an expanded version of REAL, which will include longer, deeper engagements for the learning cohort, in-depth organizational analysis and collaborative projects. Nashville-based artists and leaders from local arts organizations will be able to apply for the program starting summer 2021.

The revamped REAL program is among 1,073 projects across America totaling nearly $25 million that were selected during this first round of fiscal year 2021 funding in the NEA’s Grants for Arts Projects funding category.

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support the Racial Equity in Arts Leadership program” said Arts Endowment Acting Chairman Ann Eilers. “Metro Arts and the Curb Center are among the arts organizations across the country that have demonstrated creativity, excellence, and resilience during this very challenging year.”

“The endorsement and recognition of the REAL program by the National Endowment for the Arts conveys the important work that is happening within our Nashville arts sector,” said Metro Arts Executive Director Caroline Vincent. “We are so grateful for the support and the opportunity to advance racial equity through the lens of the arts.”

“The Curb Center’s REAL partnership with Metro Arts is a proven catalyst for learning and engagement around racial equity,” said Curb Center Assistant Director Wilna Julmiste Taylor. “This grant will support our efforts in deepening that experience for participants to affect meaningful change in Nashville’s arts community.”

For more information on projects included in the Arts Endowment grant announcement, view the NEA announcement.

Members of the Nashville arts community interested in applying for REAL should email Janine Christiano, Metro Arts’ Strategic Funding and Initiatives Manager.