Superpowers, Seeds and Spoken Word

Updated: Nov 16

Final FY21 Thrive Awards Go to Six Projects that Explore and Engage Nashville Communities


At their March 18 meeting, the Metro Arts Commission approved allocating the remainder of Thrive funding for fiscal year 2021 to support six artist-led community projects. From storytelling to choreography and seed sharing, these projects engage residents in myriad ways. Together with nine Thrive projects approved in October 2020, these projects represent a $125,000 investment in empowering artists to build, strengthen and cultivate communities in Davidson County.


Take a look at the project descriptions below, stay tuned for updates on these projects on Metro Arts' social media, and visit the Thrive page on our website to learn more about how we fund artist-led projects outside of the traditional grants process. Applications for the next cycle of Thrive funding will open after July 1.



Artist James Threalkill's portrayal of an Edgehill Polar Bear, part of the Art WORKS Collection at the Metro Office Building.


Andrew, A Boy Called Hair, and the Edgehill Polar Bears Use Their Superpowers to Solve Their Community's Problems: Creating a Viable and Equitable Community

  • Artists: Agnes L. Scott [Project Lead] (past Thrive recipient) Sarah Krogman [Lead Artist]

  • Community Partners: Metropolitan Development & Housing Agency, Progressive Missionary Baptist Church, Jefferson Street Sound Museum management

The Edgehill community will be asked to choose their own adventure (or at least write their own ending) to an unfinished graphic novel focused on restoring their neighborhood beyond its pre-pandemic state. The novel’s main character, Andrew, has superpowers, and the iconic Edgehill polar bears also feature prominently. The community’s co-creation of the ending can serve as a catalyst for future collaborative efforts across Nashville through the arts.


SEVEN: A Contemporary Exploration of Fatness and Blackness

  • Artist: Jennifer Whitcomb-Oliva [Project Lead/Lead Artist]

  • Community Partners: Fashion is for Every Body, Kindling Arts Festival, and abrasiveMedia

This unique interdisciplinary performance and film project will confront the intersection of Blackness and Fatness through the lens of the Seven Deadly Sins and the Seven Heavenly Virtues. The artist will research, develop, write and film theatrical segments, shaped by input from open story circles and conversations with professionals in the healthcare sector. Featuring original poetry and contemporary choreography, the project will include discussions of mental health, sexual health, and spirituality that uniquely relate to Black women and female-identifying community members.


Artists Cybele Elena's and Miriam Speyer's projects for Madison On My Mind.


Madison Seed Library

  • Artists:

  • Cybelle Elena [Project Lead] – MADISON ON MY MIND artist

  • Ellen Schlabach [Lead Artist]

  • Miriam Speyer [Supporting Artist] – MADISON ON MY MIND artist

  • Community Partners:  Nashville Public Library — Madison Branch, Nashville Food Project, Trap Garden 

The artists will create an artfully painted, color-coded cabinet to house the seeds, three-dimensional signage, and hand illustrated educational booklets for the seed exchange at the Madison branch of Nashville Public Library.


Notes for Notes The Podcast

  • Artist and Partners:

  • Ashley Kerns/Notes for Notes [Project Lead]

  • Will Flores [Lead Artist]

  • Community Partners: Boys & Girls Club of Middle Tennessee

N4N The Podcast will celebrate a diverse range of music tastes, opinions, and introspective experiences from accomplished and up coming artists, producers, industry professionals, as well as feature N4N members. Listeners will hear a young musician’s perspective on the music industry, the creative process, and the role music plays in our lives. 


Walter Hood's Witness Walls, part of the Metro Public Art Collection.


Power of Voice

  • Artist: Cameron Mitchell [Project Lead/Lead Artist (past Thrive recipient)]

  • Community Partner: Southern Word

The artist will work with Southern Word to hold “Power of Voice,” a spoken-word showcase at Witness Walls, the public artwork outside the Historic Metro Courthouse commemorating the heroes and stories of the Civil Rights movement in Nashville. Mitchell will film the performance and supplement it with video of different areas of Nashville, as well as interviews with individuals of different ethnicities, genders, and ages about spoken word and its influence within the North Nashville, East Nashville, and South Nashville communities.


Musician Jaefriz (from Facebook, and from a 2019 Thrive project with Room at the Inn).


Jaefriz Online Music Program at Bellevue Community Center and Metro Parks Music

  • Artist: Jamal Dotson/Jaefriz [Project Lead/Lead Artist]

  • Community Partners: Bellevue Community Center, Metro Parks Music

Musician Jamal Dotson, also known as Jaefriz, will create engaging, educational videos about piano and vocal performance for use in the Metro Parks Music Department and the Bellevue Community Center. Parks patrons will be able to watch the videos while accessing instruments in Metro Parks buildings, to practice what they learn.


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