A! Magazine for the Arts

New License Plate to Benefit the Arts in Tennessee

December 19, 2011

NASHVILLE, TN - Tennesseans for the Arts (TFTA), the state-wide advocacy group that supports the Tennessee Arts Commission (TAC), has announced that Leslie Haines of Nashville is the winner of State Your Plate, the contest to design the next specialty license plate for Tennessee. The winner was selected from 10 finalists after two weeks of online voting open to residents of Tennessee.

The new license plate, inspired by the distinctive posters produced by Nashville's famous Hatch Show print shop, depicts the word "ART" in bold colors on a vibrant turquoise background. The tagline, "Creating the Future," runs across the bottom.

"Her design speaks to Tennessee's rich artistic character, emphasizing the power of art in shaping our community's future," said Jonah Rabinowitz, TFTA president. "State Your Plate was intended to raise awareness of the arts in Tennessee by showcasing our local artists and engaging the general public. It succeeded. We were delighted to see the creativity that infused the submitted designs and the public's enthusiastic response."

"Arts are as important to the human endeavor as any other industry," Haines says. "Many people directly make their living through music, writing, the visual arts and the performing arts. Tennessee benefits indirectly by becoming a tourist destination and a place where people want to live and raise families. It is the creative minds, those able to look at problems from different perspectives, who will lead us successfully into a better future. If we don't support the arts, the state will not attract the diversity of mindsets needed to thrive."

Haines' passion for art began at an early age. She was encouraged to pursue her interest by her parents and school teachers. Today, Haines is the academic director of graphic design and advertising for the Art Institute of Tennessee-Nashville.

The final phase of the State Your Plate contest is to secure 500 pre-orders of the winning design, sending the new license plate to production and establishing it as a permanent option for Tennessee drivers.

TFTA will accept pre-orders of the new plate at www.stateyourplate.org beginning January 9, 2012. Specialty license plates cost $35.

Like other specialty license plates and tags, proceeds from the new plate will directly benefit the arts in Tennessee. A percentage of sales will go to the TAC, which distributes funds to arts groups across the state. Last year, 70% of the funds used for the 800+ grants distributed by the Tennessee Arts Commission came from the sale of specialty plates.