Twelve artists and representatives of three arts organizations recently made the trek to Nashville, Tenn., to represent the arts at the annual Arts Advocacy Day sponsored by Tennesseans for the Arts.
An invitation from Representative Tony Shipley made an art exhibit in the Legislative Plaza possible prior to the statewide meeting. Susan Shipley, along with Kingsport gallery owners Cindy Saadeh and Suzanne Barrett Justis, served as organizers for the artists. Each of the artists brought enough paintings, prints or photographs to fill more than 50 linear feet in the high-traffic Legislative Plaza.
Participating in the exhibit were Cindy Saadeh, Michael Ripper, Suzanne Barrett Justis, John Schramlin, Tony Henson, Ann Vachon, Kathy Hawk, Judy Grover, Sheryl Daniels, Leslie Davis, Mark Ray, and fine art photographer Jeffrey Stoner, who also represented Arts Alliance Mountain Empire, publisher of A! Magazine for the Arts.
Vachon recalled, "We were able to meet and greet state government officials and staffers as well as the general public."
While at the Legislative Plaza, several of the artists sold a few of their pieces, and the primary goal of raising awareness of Kingsport's high quality of artists was achieved. Mark Ray's "Grown Apart," a limited edition digital painting, was purchased at the event for the Tennessee State Museum.
The Shipleys also sponsored a private reception later in the day where Tennessee State Museum staff and Nashville art enthusiasts were able to meet the Kingsport artists. Among them was Dan Pomeroy, chief curator and director of collections for the state museum, and a native of Kingsport.
The following day, the Kingsport contingent heard an update on the activities of the Tennessee Arts Commission and prospects for continued grant funding.
Attending the event were Bonnie Macdonald, Administrator of the City of Kingsport's Cultural Arts Office; Bertina Dew, Executive Director of Kingsport Ballet; Cathie Faust, representing the Arts Council of Greater Kingsport.
"Kingsport has participated in Arts Advocacy Day for more than eight years but, by all measures, this was the greatest impact our efforts have produced," Macdonald added. "Representative Tony Shipley and Susan Shipley made the event possible, and we greatly appreciate their support of the arts!"
"We are so fortunate to have the Tennessee Arts Commission whose staff provides valuable assistance to a wide variety of arts organizations across the state," Dew remarked.
"Specialty license plate tags that individuals choose to put on their cars provide the bulk of grant dollars for Tennessee," noted Faust, "so we join with all arts supporters and encourage Tennesseans to get creative and end bumper boredom!"
Specialty License Plates Benefit
Money derived from the sale of specialty license plates goes directly to benefit the arts. The plate can be personalized for a total fee of $91.50 (the regular annual fee is $56.50 plus $35 personalization, with $30.75 of the additional $35 allocated to the Tennessee Arts Commission).