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Six arts organizations in Washington County granted $87,720

Mackenzie Moore • Jun 22, 2018 at 11:17 PM

The Tennessee Art Commission granted $87,720 to six organizations in Washington County for an array of projects and efforts.

These groups will use their portions for a multitude of reasons, anywhere from hiring contract artists, festival planning or operating support.

State Sen. Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City) announced Wednesday that the six organizations include Art Transforms, ETSU’s Slocumb Galleries, the Johnson City Art Symphony, the International Storytelling Center, the town of Jonesborough and Umoja Unity Committee Inc.

“These funds are very important to our arts organizations and benefits many citizens in Washington County,” Crowe said. “The investment in arts and culture offers all of us an enhanced quality of life, provides our children with a more complete education, stimulates economic development and helps attract tourists to our state.”

The International Storytelling Center received $62,000 of the grant total, and project coordinators are planning to use the grant money in a new way.

“We will be using the grant for basic operations and support,” Rachel Stiltner, the communication coordinator at the International Storytelling Center, said. “This includes educational programming and outreach. Also, for the first time, we’re trying to preserve digital copies of live storytelling, so it will go toward that as well.”

A large portion of the Tennessee Art Commission’s funding stems from Tennessee’s Personalized License Plate program. Seventeen organizations will presell specialty license plates, and 40 percent of the proceeds goes toward grant money for art programs statewide.

The Tennessee Arts Commission awarded $5.2 million in grants in 2017, with $4.5 million of those awards from the personalized license plate program. According to the art commission’s executive director, Anne Pope, the commission will award approximately 1,000 grants in 2019, totaling more than $5.5 million.

“Tennessee is fortunate to have elected leaders who understand the positive impact the arts and culture have on Tennesseans and their communities,” Anne B. Pope, the executive director at the Tennessee Arts Commission, said.

“The arts are a vital tool for attraction and retention of business and help build stronger communities by enhancing the distinctive character of Tennessee places.”

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