Nashville—On Wednesday, March 5, 2014, the Legislative Arts Caucus, Tennesseans for the Arts and the Tennessee Arts Commission along with arts leaders from across the state celebrated that the new Arts specialty license plate has been produced, road tested and is now available at County Clerk offices in Tennessee.
“The specialty license plate program is critical to the arts in Tennessee,” said Senator Doug Overbey, Chairman of the Legislative Arts Caucus. “Last year, $4.5 million of the $6.3 million in grants that was invested in every region of the state came from funding generated by the sale of specialty license plates.”
The grants are distributed through the Tennessee Arts Commission, a state agency. In 2013, over 600 organizations received funding, over half of which were schools. In the past 3 years more than a quarter million school children had arts experiences thanks to the Arts Commission’s Student Ticket Subsidy Program.
“The new Arts plate is possible because of the tremendous time and energy that the members of Tennesseans for the Arts and the Legislative Arts Caucus have invested in the arts,” said Anne B. Pope, Executive Director of the Tennessee Arts Commission. “We are extremely proud of the partnership. Tennesseans for the Arts is a voluntary membership of significant community and arts leaders from across the state who are instrumental in helping the arts remain strong. The Legislative Arts Caucus is one of the oldest and strongest arts caucuses in the nation. Senator Overbey has been chair of the Arts Caucus since its inception. I would like to thank the Arts Caucus and Senator Overbey for his leadership.”
Bonnie Macdonald, incoming president for Tennesseans for the Arts talked about how an initial grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission’s Art Builds Communities Program became the catalyst for the Kingsport Carousel project. The Carousel is forecasted to build economic development for Kingsport.
Senator Overbey added, “The arts are so important to Tennessee. They impact communities in so many positive ways including quality of life, economic development and tourism as well as providing a more balanced education for our children. The arts are often the glue that holds communities together and help preserve the traditions that define who we are as Tennesseans.”
Tennesseans can support and help fund the arts by choosing a specialty license plate, including the new Arts plate. Plates can be exchanged at any time as the fees will be prorated. The cost is $35 annually and the plates can be ordered at the County Clerk’s offices. People should call ahead to check on their local office’s availability. More information about Specialty License Plates can be found at http://www.tn.gov/revenue/vehicle/licenseplates/specialty.shtml.
Caption:LtoR: Leslie Haines, Arts license plate designer, Nashville; Rhea Condra, Chair of Tennessee Arts Commission, Gallatin; Liza Zenni, Outgoing President, Tennesseans for the Arts, Knoxville; Brian Salesky, Executive Director, Knoxville Opera; Representative Curtis Halford, Dyer; Senator Becky Duncan Massey, Knoxville; Incoming President, Tennesseans for the Arts, Bonnie Macdonald, Kingsport; Senator Doug Overbey, Maryville; Anne B. Pope, Executive Director, Tennessee Arts Commission, Nashville.