From Breana Moore, Intern —
As a senior at Vanderbilt University, I’ll be graduating next month with a Bachelor’s of Science in Human & Organizational Development and Sociology, and for the last semester of my undergraduate career, I had the privilege to intern for the Tennessee Arts Commission. The Commission works to provide access to the arts for all. In addition to this, it breathes life into a renovated bank building with a repurposed vault and is home to a public art gallery at the heart of the agency. Not only is art present is in this space, but it also has a presence in the hearts of the team and spirit of the office.
As an artist, I believe in the positive impact of the arts. From healing to historical preservation, the arts touch people in a way that simply cannot be replicated. I’ve had the amazing opportunity to work for an agency that believes everyone should experience the arts for that very reason, and after seeing its day-to-day operations for months, I can easily say that the Tennessee Arts Commission works tirelessly to bring that mission to fruition. From my first day, I saw passion for the work of the agency by simply visiting the different work areas. Quirky and unique in their own ways, each team member displays a special affinity for the arts by decorating their office spaces with their own work or works that they love. As artists and supporters of the arts, the team members discuss a variety of topics concerning the arts today and prepare the agency to best serve Tennessee for years to come by anticipating changes in the field. In addition, they feel right at home in the gallery space and knowledgeable of the other state art work displayed throughout the office, which both serve as reminders to the team of the why they do what they do. I can proudly say that my time at the Commission has been beneficial for both my personal and professional development.
Personally, I’ve been able to connect with people from across the country, who have found a home in the Metropolitan Nashville area and join forces to offer support to arts in my home state. I’m originally from Memphis, TN, and as a dancer, I’ve gotten to see all corners of Shelby County and many of the larger cities across the state. Staying in Tennessee for school was one thing, but experiencing the arts here is a completely different thing. Dance is just one of many forms of art that the agency supports, and I’m truly grateful that I connected with an organization that reaches from the Smokies to the Mississippi River. Aside from being so focused on graduation and eventually getting to New York, it’s been so inspiring and refreshing to hear about the work in my home state. Every day, places like Johnson City, Pulaski and even my hometown are going above and beyond for the arts. My experiences here have refueled my commitment to the arts and my goal to better my community, while also giving me the tools to do it.
Over the past months, I’ve had the privilege to witness the annual grant review season, Arts Advocacy Day at the Capitol, preparation for Poetry Out Loud and the David Crockett Commemorative Bust RFQ process. I’ve also helped lay the groundwork for Arts and Economic Prosperity 5 in Tennessee, which is a national study of the economic impact of nonprofit arts and culture, conducted by Americans for the Arts and being held on a statewide level for the first time ever here in Tennessee. The study works to quantify the impact of the arts, which is huge for the field. I’ve also had the opportunity to conduct a first-time analysis on the sale of Tennessee License Plates that support the arts and so much more. I’d like to thank the team for offering me the opportunity to work with them for the past few months. I can’t thank you enough for the amount of respect that I received and for embracing me as one of your own. I extend best wishes to another outstanding year and years to come.