In the middle of developing a new strategic plan, the Tennessee Arts Commission will hold four public meetings to discuss the impact of the arts in regional communities throughout the state, with its first stop being in Northeast Tennessee.
According to a TAC news release, the meeting will be held at the East Tennessee State University and General Shale Natural History Museum Visitor Center and Gray Fossil Site Wednesday from 10 a.m. until noon, with a coffee and networking time scheduled from 9:30-10 a.m.
“Last year, we (TAC) granted almost $6 million towards different arts programming, operational support for arts organizations and arts education activities across the state, including in Northeast Tennessee,” Anne Pope, TAC executive director, said. “We are doing a series of public meetings ... across the state ... to be in communities and to learn how arts are moving communities forward and what impact art is having on communities.”
During the meeting, there will be discussion on how the arts are contributing to the economic development and quality of life of Northeast Tennessee, where there are opportunities for growth, as well as a panel discussion with Scott Niswonger, president of the Niswonger Foundation, majority shareholder of Landair Transport Inc., and chairman emeritus of Forward Air Corp.; Kingsport Mayo Dennis R. Phillips, Phil Pindzola, Johnson City’s Public Works Department director; and Richard Rose, producing artistic director of Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Va.
According to the release, a round-table discussion will follow the panel portion of the meeting.
Pope said the goal of the public meetings is to learn about each of the four regions, hear what is important in the minds of the public in East Tennessee, what impact the arts have in the community so far, and how the TAC can help or facilitate an increase in the arts community.
“We really want to hear from the participants there about how arts are impacting their community and how ... it could better impact the community,” she said. “What are the barriers, what are the needs of the community that arts could play a role in.”
The event, sponsored by Mary B. Martin School of the Arts, the city of Johnson City, Washington County Economic Development Council and the city of Kingsport, is free to attend.
According to the release, the public can also participate in an online survey at www.surveymonkey.com/s/6C5C5GV.
For more information on the TAC, visit www.tn.gov/arts.