Metro Arts Awards FY23 Thrive Recipients

Updated: Nov 9

Metro Arts' Thrive Invests $178,600 in 22 Artist-Led, Community-Based Projects

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Metro Nashville Arts Commission believes in the power of the arts to co-create a more vibrant and equitable community. Metro Arts' Thrive funds connects artists and organizations with the community to create neighborhood investments and transformations.


Thrive Community-Based Art Projects support artist-led, community-based art projects that include collaboration between artists and community partners and organizations. This category is open to individual artists, artist teams, nonprofit organizations, and for-profit organizations. Individual artists or artist teams may apply and identify community partner organization(s), or organizations/businesses may apply and identify artists or artist teams to lead the project.

Thrive Artist Incubator Projects focus on artists who are newer to community practice and/or Metro Arts funding and are looking to bring their artistic skills to their community. This category is open only to individual artists and artist teams. Projects should include collaboration between artists and community partners or organizations. This cycle prioritizes artists who have not previously received Thrive funds and include mentoring and professional development workshops.


Metro Arts is pleased to celebrate the following recipients:


Community-Based Art Projects (18 Projects Awarded)


Art is Healing ($9,500)

Christina Barclay (Jeni Calhoun), Lead Artists Partnering with Gideon's Army, this project utilizes art therapy to support families affected by gun violence. Workshops will include group activities that incorporate painting, dance, poetry, sound bathing, forest bathing, yoga, and meditation. The process will include video documentation. Four of the sessions will be held biweekly in the months of January and March.


The Free Flow of Creativity Project creativity workshops ($7,300)

Thandiwe Shiphrah (Kim Arite), Lead Artist An arts learning, and community engagement initiative designed for youth and older adults to introduce fundamental literary and visual art making processes. Age-appropriate workshops will take place over six weeks beginning in January 2023 and culminate in a public presentation.


Gilda’s Club Expressive Arts Cancer Support Program ($9,500)

Jennifer Wilkins, Lead Artist A variety of art, music, and writing classes every week at their Midtown Clubhouse and virtual, providing opportunities for those with a cancer diagnosis and their loved ones.

Homestyle Bakery Public Art Mural ($9,500)

Brian Tull, Lead Artist An artist identified community need has developed into the creation of a large-scale mural for the side of Homestyle Bakery on Murfreesboro Road in the Antioch. The mural will depict the history of the neighborhood and the founders of the bakery (since 1975).·


The Key: The Awakening ($9,500)

Jade Alexandria Daniels, Lead Artist The creation of a feature film that tells the coming-of-age story about a young woman who parents suddenly die. When this happens it reveals the truth about her community that they are witches and fighting a long historical war. Partnering with local colleges and acting studios. Metanoia: Changing The State of Mind ($9,500)

Cameron L. Mitchell, Lead Artist From Your Father, a non-profit organization providing resources to youth, will offer poetry workshops that culminate into a spoken word, 360-degree projected imagery, dance, and orchestra arts event. The project will serve those impacted by long term mental health and physical illnesses, along with the fatherless community that From Your Father supports.


The Museum of Presence ($9,500)

Shabazz Larkin, Lead Artist A local gallery newspaper of the arts and events, "The Museum of Presence" is a pop-up art exhibition that comes in the form of a newspaper distributed by way of coffee shops, novelty Shops and Art Galleries throughout Nashville as well as three exhibitions held January-June 2023.


Music City Messiah Festival ($9,100)

Lead Artist: Francis Perry Early Music City, First Lutheran Church and the Big Blue Opera Initiatives at Tennessee State University will offer instruction and performances on Saturday, November 12th at the historic First Lutheran Church. This project will connect with youth from Metro Nashville Public Schools, including often under-resourced schools and neighborhoods; members of the LGBTQ community; members of faith communities of color that have historically rendered the work; and persons staying with Room in the Inn, Nashville Rescue Mission, and elsewhere.


Nashville Design Week Community Art Project ($9,400)

Ava Allen, Lead Artist Eight artists will create sculptures consisting of (4) 22" x 5-6' sculptures of NDW’s branding ligature "22" in honor of the year 2022 and their five-year mark as an organization and non-profit. The sculptures will be on display at various locations and events Oct 31st-Nov 4th, and November 4th at the closing party.


Pike Project Poetry Billboard 3 – Downtown Nashville ($9500)

Joe Nolan, Lead Artist As a Placemaking process working with homeless members of our community, artist Joe Nolan will create an unexpected display of community-created literary works. Partners on this project include The Contributor, Nashville Public Library (Main), and Room in the Inn.


Reigniting African Dance & Drum in Nashville ($9,500)

Karen Roberts, Lead Artist A community wide initiative, collaborating with Coleman, Sevier, Hartman and Centennial Metro Parks Community Centers, providing dance and drum workshops, classes, and performances between February - April 2023. Community partners include Oz Arts Nashville, Global Education Center, Nashville Ballet, and the Frist Art Museum.

Revived Expression: Unearthing the Inner Creative ($9,500)

Ashley Mintz, Lead Artist Multiple workshops and classes working in visual art, improv and dance for youth, adults, and seniors in underserved communities. Community partners include Parkwood Community Center, Mending Hearts, and McCabe Community Center.


Shine and Rise – Senior Portraits Class of ’23 ($2500)

Lead Artist: Donna Moffitt Partnering with the Community Achieves program in Metro Schools as well as Oasis Center, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle TN and Preston Taylor Ministries Shine Photography will provide fifty high school seniors with a unique portrait experience. Songs from My Childhood: Stories of Musical Inspiration ($9,500)

Rachel Rodriguez, Lead Artist A collaborative music performance providing storytelling and song with a collective group of diverse artists who will share their story and unique artistic journey. Each artist will demonstrate, on their instrument, the specific song that inspired them to take their musical path. Communiyt partners include Soul Vibes Global, Entrepreneur Latina Leaders of America (ELLA), The Tennessee Latin American Chamber of Commerce, The Cremona Strings, and Music Makers Stage at Delgado Guitars.

Verge Theater’s THE BEST GAME ($9,500)

Alicia Haymer, Lead Artist A two-person play highlighting the conflict between a highly driven NYU student, who takes a risky detour when she decides to seek out her long-lost father. Project goals include to craft a theatrical experience that has strong artistic merit and speaks to the attending audiences; to hire 11 local artists, committing to We See You White America's standard of 50% people of color; and to work with at least one social service agency per performance weekend in a community conversation.


William Edmondson Arts & Cultural Festival ($9,500)

Mark Schlicher, Lead Artist The inaugural Edgehill community event featuring live music, dance, and spoken word, visual arts displays from Metro Schools students, and dozens of artists displaying and selling their original artwork and crafts.


Youth Wind Symphony ($6,800)

Bruce Ayers, Lead Artist The Nashville African American Wind Symphony (NAAWS) will host a series of youth workshops focused on instruction and performance etiquette led by wind symphony professionals. The public musical exhibition, workshops, and concert will take place over the course of three months. Partnering MNPS high schools include: Cane Ridge, East Nashville Magnet, Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet, Whites Creek, and others to be confirmed.

The Zoo Bridge Mural ($9,500)

Stephen Sloan, Lead Artist A community art project to replace a deteriorated mural painted on four CSX railroad pillars crossing Nolensville Road near the entrance to the Nashville Zoo.

Thrive Artist Incubator Projects (4 Projects Awarded)


Letter Perch ($5,000)

Danielle Myers, Lead Artist Letter Perches are benches ("perches") designed by artists and constructed from hand-lettered type and manufactured from wood, metal, resin, and potentially ceramic. Artists will produce up to three perches and locate them on TSU campus and area parks.

Reality Abstracted ($5,000)

Amanda Reichert, Lead Artist An interdisciplinary dance project that will involve the creation of a new dance work by Nashville based freelance artists, community workshops to engage with middle and high school aged students, culminating with a premiere during the First Saturday Art Crawl in late Spring of 2023.

Visionary Vocal Collaborative ($5,000)

Sangeetha Ekambaram, Lead Artist The experimental foundation of a new classical vocal ensemble, the Visionary Vocal Collaborative. The project consists of three performances between January - June 2023. The Visionary Vocal Collaborative is an artist-led, innovative classical vocal ensemble composed of 4-5 core singers.

Vol. 1 ($5,000)

Tony Williams II, Lead Artist A multi-medium event with visual art, DJ’s, performing music, and a variety of culture, audio, and lighting production to create a new creative community gathering with style. Will take place at the CE Gallery and Cecret.


180 views0 comments