From Hal Partlow, Associate Director of Grants –
The Tennessee Arts Commission in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Veteran Services has awarded nine Tennessee Military, Veterans & the Arts (TNMVA) grants to organizations and their community partners throughout the state. The purpose of the grant is to encourage organizations that serve Tennessee’s military members, veterans and their families to use the arts as a way to achieve their goals in providing services to military audiences and to encourage arts organizations to engage military audiences in outcomes-based activities that enhance Tennessee’s communities.
The arts, including music, writing, dance and other art forms can help military service members, veterans and their families express themselves while improving their quality of life. Individuals with opportunities to express themselves and share their stories can often better navigate the stress of relocating from one community to another, being separated from family members, or moving from military service to the civilian workplace.
“Stressors can impact everyone, but some unique challenges come from military service and the transition from uniform into the civilian life,” Tennessee Department of Veterans Services Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder said. “Outlets such as the arts and creative expression are valuable resources for navigating the transitions faced by service members, reservists, veterans and their families.”
For these military audiences, engaging in arts activities:
- Enhances physical and emotional healing and provides essential health benefits in every stage from recovery to wellness
- Strengthens a sense of self and creates opportunities to tell one’s story in different ways, including nonverbal means of expression
- Builds a connection with the community and diminishes feelings of isolation, both by making art in a group setting and also by instigating a public discussion about topics relevant to military service members, veterans and their families
“The TNMVA grant is one-time funding for innovative projects that use the arts to support the unique needs of Tennessee’s military members, as well as veterans or their families and caregivers,” said Anne B. Pope, Executive Director for the Tennessee Arts Commission. “Our goal is to improve awareness of the benefits that the arts can bring to health and wellbeing, and for arts organizations to be an additional resource to our military communities.”
The following organizations have been awarded a TNMVA grant:
Clarksville Arts & Heritage Development Council: $10,000
The Clarksville Arts & Heritage Development Council in partnership with six local arts organizations, the Clarksville Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Program, Montgomery County Veterans Coalition and other Fort Campbell-focused service organizations, will provide a wide variety of arts programming to benefit the military community at Fort Campbell while connecting them to the Clarksville community.
C-MACC Community Multicultural Art Care Center: $8,000
Veterans and their families, located in rural communities in and around Madison County and across West Tennessee, will use writing, art, and music to express their stories, some of which will then be published as a book.
The Carpetbag Theatre, Inc.: $8,000
The Carpetbag Theatre, partnering with the Mountain Home VA Healthcare System in Johnson City and the Knoxville Veterans Center, will offer veterans the opportunity to experience performances, participate in a facilitated story circle and create their own Digital Story to find wellness and healing through the arts.
East Tennessee Artscapes: $7,500
The Veteran Expression Project in Cocke County will include an exhibition of military photographs, artwork and memorabilia culminating in the creation of a mural that will reflect the local veteran’s military experience. Veterans, students from Cocke County High School and volunteers from the community will help create the mural.
Operation Song: $7,360
The grant will allow Operation Song to expand their Chattanooga programs. By pairing professional songwriters with active duty military, veterans, retirees and their families, Operation Song works to empower participants to tell their stories through the process of songwriting.
Borderless Arts Tennessee: $7,000
This pilot project partners Borderless Arts with the Veterans Recovery Center at the Alvin C York Medical Center in Murfreesboro, and will include performances of My Father’s War. There will be guided discussions, sequential interactive arts education workshops for veterans and a final presentation of veteran artwork.
Gateway Chamber Orchestra: $6,420
The Gateway Chamber Orchestra, in partnership with the USO of Fort Campbell, will create the TNMVA Choir, which will be comprised of active military personnel, retirees, their families and members of the Clarksville community. Their goal is to use music for increased visibility and awareness of active duty military and veterans while building strong connections in their community.
Town of Decatur: $3,500
The town of Decatur, in partnership with Meigs County Veterans Services and local organizations including the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Chamber of Commerce, will host two veteran storytelling events. Each event will provide the opportunity for veterans to tell stories of their service while a visual artist interprets their words. The artwork will be publically displayed throughout the county to strengthen community connections.
TN Shakespeare Company: $2,220
The grant will fund the Feast of Crispian South, a collaboration project with the Memphis VA Medical Center, which consists of one-hour sessions with in-patient veterans implementing a strategic combination of theater practices, live performances and Shakespeare text.