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Metro Arts Announces Grant Awards for Fiscal Year 2021

Emily Waltenbaugh

Allocation of More Than $2.3 Million Represents Investment in Nashville’s Culture, Continued Commitment to Fostering Equity in the Arts

The Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission (Metro Arts) at their June 25 meeting approved $2,321,882 in community arts investments for the 2020/2021 fiscal year. This funding provides 59 grants to the 54 different arts nonprofit organizations that were successful in Metro Arts’ competitive grant review process.

Metro Arts grants, funded through the operational budget of Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County, help support established cultural organizations, such as the Frist Art Museum and the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, as well as new and emerging organizations, such as the Tennessee Youth Symphony.

Of the funding awarded, $ 2,279,050 is allocated to operational support for local arts and culture institutions, representing Metro Arts’ continued commitment to investing in the longevity and resilience of Nashville’s cultural organizations. In addition to a budget reflecting a $200,000 reduction over FY20, Metro Arts also had more eligible nonprofits apply for funding. For FY21, seven organizations are first-time recipients of Metro Arts operating grants, a 17% increase of first-time grantees over FY20. New grant partners include:

  • Operation Song empowers veterans, active duty military and their families to tell their stories through the process of songwriting
  • Dancing Through the Curriculum offers creative movement, ballet, tap, jazz, tumbling, majorette, and hip hop for girls 2-14 years of age from underserved communities
  • Arts and Business Council of Nashville leverages and unites the unique resources of the arts and business communities to create a thriving, sustainable creative culture in Nashville
  • Unscripted heals, connects, and empowers our community through improv
  • Music Neighbors strengthens Nashville's music culture by educating and connecting the community to performing arts while providing support for the growth of local music
  • Verge Theater creates offbeat, thought-provoking, heart-inspiring theater that is masterful in execution, empowering to children, teens and adults, and evocative of our vibrant local community
  • Vox Grata is a women’s choral group who sing together for the benefit of others

The remaining $42,832.03 will be distributed among 6 project grants intended to promote the creation of new artistic works in Nashville, increase access to the arts for communities not historically served by arts funding, and support youth programming.

“This funding not only ensures Nashvillians’ equitable access to cultural programming; it is a part of Nashville’s economic engine, contributing directly to hundreds of jobs and Nashville’s tourism industry,” said Metro Arts Executive Director Caroline Vincent. “We are grateful for the support the Metro Council has shown in reinstating and sustaining arts and cultural funding, which is vital to our community. Investment in the arts is an investment in quality of life for all Nashvillians.”

In FY19, Davidson County arts organizations provided more than 110,000 student arts interactions such as field trips, school visits and afterschool programs. The nonprofit arts and culture sector generates $429.3 million in annual economic activity in Davidson County, supports 14,277 full-time equivalent jobs and generates $51.1 million in local and state government revenues, according to the 2017 Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 national economic impact study.

A complete list of grant awards and other program information is at the Grants page of Metro Arts' website..