ArtsMemphis and Knoxville Community School for the Arts Nationally Recognized
From Grace Robinson, Public Information and Research Coordinator —
Congratulations to two Tennessee organizations who have recently been nationally recognized for outstanding arts programming—ArtsMemphis’ Community Engagement Fellows and Knoxville’s Community School of the Arts’ Side-By-Side Visual Arts Apprentice Program.
ArtsMemphis Community Engagement Fellows has been named as one of eight finalists for the inaugural Robert E. Gard Award given by Americans for the Arts (AFTA). This award celebrates exemplary programs that successfully integrated the arts with community life within the last year in both a meaningful and measurable ways. It is named in honor of Gard, one the founding fathers of the local arts movement.
This award is given based on nominations and then votes cast by AFTA members. Support ArtsMemphis and give the arts in Tennessee another occasion for national recognition by voting today. Voting closes on Sunday, May 1 at 10:59 p.m. (CST) / 11:59 p.m. (EST). To vote (you must be an AFTA member), log in to your AFTA account and head to this page. The winner will be announced to the public during the 2016 Annual Convention on Saturday, June 18.
The ArtsMemphis Community Engagement Fellows include artists, arts managers, neighborhood leaders and residents who design arts-based project proposals to foster lasting community development and cultural equity. These projects are created using arts as a vehicle to change living conditions and empower residents in specific, disenfranchised, Memphis neighborhoods. Fellows learn to listen to the needs of residents, and to collaborate on artistic projects that spring from and uplift neighborhoods where they are based. Through classes, fieldwork and site visits, Fellows learn to put into action such concepts as: creative placemaking, reimagining neighborhoods, community impact through the arts, sustainable fundraising and cross-sector partnerships.
Side-By-Side Visual Arts Apprentice Program from Knoxville Community School of the Arts has again been given the honor of being named as one of 50 finalists for the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards. These awards recognize the creativity of America’s young people and support excellence in programs that open new opportunities for learning, self-discovery and achievement. Each year, 12 outstanding programs from both urban and rural communities in the U.S. are awarded.
Awarded programs receive a $10,000 grant and the opportunity to visit the White House and accept the award from First Lady Michelle Obama. Recipients also benefit from a full year of strengthening capacity-building and communications support for their organization. This initiative is part of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, in conjunction with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
The Side-By-Side Visual Arts Apprentice Program pairs students in grades 5–12 from the Community School of the Arts with professional artists in the Knoxville community and East TN region. Students work side-by-side in artists’ studios four to six months. This gives them the opportunity to witness, participate in and experience first-hand every aspect of the creative process. At the end of the school year, all apprenticeships culminate in an art exhibition where student and professional works are displayed side-by-side in a professional gallery in Knoxville. Once accepted to the program, students are allowed to remain each year prior to graduation, often resulting in long-term intensive apprenticeships with one artist.
Tennessee is rich with programs such as these that are working hard to cultivate the arts and bring improvements and opportunities to communities. Both of these programs and the organizations that run them are enriching individual lives and entire neighborhoods with their dedicated work, and the TN Arts Commission extends a heartfelt congratulations on being given this rightly deserved recognition. Good luck!