The Appalachian Ballet, headquartered in Maryville, was asked to perform at the Arts Festival on top of Legislative Plaza as part of the Tennessee State Government’s Arts Advocacy Day on the Hill. The dancers were greeted and introduced by Senator Doug Overbey (R-Maryville), the Chairman of the Legislature’s Arts Caucus. The Ballet Company was one of fifteen performance groups joined by an array of craft artists from around the state to create the first-ever event, which attracted several hundred attendees.
“The arts are a very important part of Tennessee’s rich culture,” said Senator Overbey. “It touches every Tennessean in some way, whether it is country music, pottery, folk art or the Opera. We must make efforts to pass along this heritage to the next generation by preserving the wide-range of the arts available in Tennessee.”
The day included performers from Maryville to Memphis, and everywhere in between. Organizations represented included: The Rose Center, Appalachian Ballet Company, Chattanooga Ballet, Tennessee Women’s Theater Project, Tango Nashville, The Nashville Symphony, Old Time String Band Association, Global Education Center, Nashville Opera, Jackson Plectral Society, the New Ballet Ensemble and School, and The Country Music Hall of Fame, Oak Grove Elementary in Cleveland, TN and Dickson Elementary in Dickson, TN. Additionally, Stacey Padilla, winner of the Poetry Out Loud contest, also performed.
Craft artists included a wood turner, chair maker, potter, jewelers, clay sculpturers, painters, and a basket weaver. Several interactive activities were demonstrated such as producing artist trading cards, free form silver casting with participants pouring the silver, and print making.
“In the past, Arts Advocacy Day consisted only of visits to legislators and a membership meeting with a performer or two,” said Molly Pratt, legislative consultant for Tennesseans for the Arts. “This year, instead of just telling legislators how vital the arts are and what a difference they make in our lives and our communities, we showed them.”
The event was free and open to the public. For more information on Tennesseans for the Arts, go to www.tn4arts.org.
Tennesseans for the Arts is Tennessee’s leading advocacy organization for the arts. TFTA presents a strong, statewide unified voice in support of artists, arts educators, arts organizations and friends and supporters of the arts. TFTA speaks for the arts whenever there is need and supports local arts communities in communicating their message of the importance of the arts. Tennesseans for the Arts members understand the power of collective action and the importance of communicating how vital the arts are in changing lives.