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About The Tennessee Arts Commission

When the Tennessee Arts Commission was created in 1967, it was given a special mandate by the General Assembly to stimulate and encourage the presentation of performing, visual and literary arts throughout the state and to encourage public interest in the cultural heritage of Tennessee. Through a variety of programs, the Commission has encouraged excellence in artistic expression through the state's artists and arts organizations. That commitment has continued to expand through the years to ensure that the citizens of Tennessee have access to, and the opportunity to participate in the arts.

We build better communities by:

  • Investing public dollars in Tennessee's nonprofit arts industry.
  • Providing services to citizens, artists and arts organizations.
  • Undertaking initiatives that enhance Tennessee 's cultural life.

These activities give Tennessee citizens a better quality of life, provide our children with a more complete education and attract tourists to our state.

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Operating Structure of the Commission

The Tennessee Arts Commission consists of 15 members broadly representative of all fields of the performing, visual or literary arts. The members are appointed by the governor from among the citizens of the state who have demonstrated a vital interest in arts disciplines. In making the appointments, diversity is a priority. The governor strives to ensure that at least one person serving on the Commission is 60 years of age or older and at least one person is a member of a racial minority. It is also important that all geographic areas of the state are represented. There is at least one, but not more than two members, from each United States congressional district in Tennessee. Members' residency is determined by the congressional district in which they are registered to vote.

Commission members serve five-year terms with the chair and other officers being elected annually. The chair employs, with approval of the Commission, an executive director as administrative officer. The executive director employs other officers, experts and employees as may be needed. Employment of staff members is subject to the approval of the commissioner of personnel.

The Commission may also, at its discretion, form advisory panels from qualified persons within the state to obtain advice and counsel on matters pertaining to the arts. Members of these panels serve at the will and pleasure of the Commission and receive no compensation.

The Commission meets quarterly, holding at least two of its quarterly meetings in Nashville. However, the Commission may at its discretion hold either or both of its remaining meetings elsewhere in the state.

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