Becoming an Advocate

Funding for the arts increases when legislators are made aware of the tremendous impact the arts have on the lives of the people who live in the communities they represent.


Local Agencies You Can Support


Nashville Arts Coalition is a 501C3 volunteer-led, Davidson County focused organization, which supports the Metro Nashville Arts Commission (MNAC) by mobilizing Davidson County arts advocates to connect with Mayor Barry’s administration and the Metropolitan Council of Davidson County.

Individual membership starts at $25.

Americans for the Arts (AFTA) recently released their fifth Arts and Economic Prosperity report (AEP5), with Nashville-specific data for the first time. 

  • $429.3 million in annual economic activity is generated through nonprofit arts and cultural organizations;
  • $51.1 million was earned in state and local government revenue from the arts;
  • 14,277 full-time equivalent jobs were supported through the work of nonprofit arts and cultural organizations;
  • Davidson County has over 40,000 creative workers;
  • 6% of Nashville businesses are creative endeavors;
  • Nashville is second in arts vibrancy nationwide, and fourth in creative vitality;
  • Nashvillians participate in performing arts and cultural activities at 500% the national average rate;
  • $26.41 was spent per resident who attends an arts event (and non-residents spent more than double that).


Arts funding is disbursed through Metro Nashville Arts Commission, a city agency through an annual grant cycle. The funds are allocated through the city's budget process beginning in the Mayor’s budget proposal, defended during hearings with the Metro Council, and approved by the Council. Grant funds are reinvested in our community and enrich neighborhoods in nearly every corner of Davidson County.

  • In FY17, the council Budget and Finance Committee led by Councilmember Bill Pridemore reallocated $300,000 for MNAC, the largest increase in nearly 15 years.
  • In FY18, Mayor Megan Barry included an increase of $500,000 for MNAC, the first administration led increase in over a decade. 

Find your Councilor here. Connect with Mayor Barry's office here

Connect with them, thank them for their leadership and reiterate your support for continued and/or increased funding for the arts.  

Tennesseans for the Arts is a 501C3 volunteer led, statewide advocacy organization which partners with Tennessee Arts Commission (TAC) to advocate for the arts in every community and county of Tennessee by mobilizing arts advocates to connect with their elected leaders in the Tennessee General Assembly, including the Arts Caucus, and Transportation and Finance committees in both the House and Senate. 

Individual memberships start at $35.

Specialty license plate sales account for over two-thirds of state funding for the arts: $4.5M out of $5.2M, or 87%, of arts funding in Tennessee comes from specialty plates. The plates offer a way to publicly fund the arts by voluntary contributions from citizens (via the additional fees – over and above the cost of a regular license plate), and not through tax dollars

  • It doesn’t cost the state any additional expense to produce the plates (expense neutral), and the additional fee for Arts & Cultural plates result in a positive economic impact.
  • 50/40/10: 50% goes to the to sponsoring organization, 40% goes to the arts, and 10% goes to the state highway fund
  • There are 20 plates designated "Arts and Cultural".  Currently, 90% ($30.75 - 50%+40%) of the fees from those plates goes to arts organizations through an annual TAC grant cycle.
  • A smaller portion of sales from dozens of other plates (plates benefiting a specific organization) — 40% — also benefit the arts.


The license plate funding is managed through a single "omnibus" transportation bill that has different bill numbers in the House or Senate, but is the same legislation. The funds are managed by Tennessee Arts Commission, a state agency, which disburses the funds in the form of grants to nearly every county in Tennessee. 

Each March, TFTA hosts Arts Advocacy on Capitol Hill. Put March 8, 2018 on your calendar and join advocates from across the state in sharing the power of the arts with our elected leaders. 

Find your Senators here. Find your Representatives here.

Connect with them, thank them for their leadership and reiterate your support for continued and/or increased funding for the arts. 

Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.