Contact: Bertina Dew, Executive Director, Kingsport Ballet
Kingsport, TN – Representatives from several Kingsport arts organizations attended the Tennessee Arts Commission’s Conference at Montgomery Bell State Park October 28-30. Organizational leaders from Kingsport Office of Cultural Arts, Kingsport Ballet, Kingsport Theater Guild, KingsportArts, and Engage Kingsport were all in attendance. Other Tricities representation included Johnson City’s Create Appalachia and Jonesborough’s International Storytelling Center.
The Tennessee Arts Commission, under the leadership of Kingsport native Anne Pope, unveiled its new strategic plan and new logo during the conference. The plan follows multi-year, fact-finding and information gathering sessions around the state. Conference attendees spent two and a half days sharing ideas, strategies and best practices. Renowned keynote speakers Becky Anderson of Hand Made in America and Bill Strickland, CEO of Manchester Bidwell Corporation elicited standing ovations following their presentations on prioritizing creativity in education, workforce and economic development and the power of the arts to enrich and change lives.
Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris and Treasurer David Lillard, Jr. presented breaking news regarding the new certificate bill for specialty license plates. Proceeds from specialty tags in the state of Tennessee account for 4.5 million dollars in revenue that directly support the arts. The Tennessee program sets the benchmark for states across the country often looking to create similar programs. The new certificate option will enable Tennesseeans to purchase as many certificates as they wish to give as gifts. The certificates may be redeemed by recipients for specialty license plates.
Bonnie Macdonald, director of Kingsport Office of Cultural Arts and current President of Tennesseans for the Arts, inspired the audience to applaud the Tennessee Arts Commission and its leaders for their exemplary work in championing the arts in our state. “The Tennessee Arts Commission is always on the leading edge of innovation in the arts,” explained Ms. Macdonald. “This made for a particularly exciting conference,” said Bertina Dew of Kingsport Ballet. “The continued success of the specialty license plate program, and now the certificate option, give our organizations hope and encouragement. We are fortunate to have our arts commission and our elected officials working as hard as we are to make the arts possible in our state.”
The conference, held at Montgomery Bell State Park, is one of various opportunities provided by the Tennessee Arts Commission for arts leaders to convene in a central location to network and inspire one another. The Tennessee Arts Commission’s grant funding supports Kingsport Ballet for General Operations, and provides project support for the Theater Guild, KingsportArts and Cultural Arts of the City of Kingsport, among other area arts groups. This year marks the first time the Commission will be providing some form of arts funding to every county in the state of Tennessee.
L-R: Bonnie Macdonald (Director, Cultural Arts, City of Kingsport and Tennesseans for the Arts), Susan McKinney (Tennesseans for the Arts,) Cathie Faust (Director, KingsportArts,) New TAC logo, Bertina Dew (Executive Director, Kingsport Ballet,) Tina Radke (Kingsport Theater Guild,) Cher Cornett (Create Appalachia,) and Anne Pope (Executive Director, Tennessee Arts Commission). Not pictured: Lucy Fleming (Engage Kingsport,) Morgan Fleming (Tennessee Association of Dance)