Arts Forward Initiative Continues To Support Local Arts Organizations

Additional Opportunity For New Organizations To Apply

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Arts Forward, an initiative designed to support and empower arts organizations and professionals in Chattanooga, will continue for a second year beginning in August with support from the Benwood and Lyndhurst Foundations, along with the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga. 

Twelve organizations participated in Arts Forward over the past year, and have strengthened their internal programming and operating capacity, explored new processes and approaches to their work and have built stronger relationships with one another and the Chattanooga community, said officials. 

The 12 organizations participating over the last year include: 

Bessie Smith Cultural Center
Chattanooga Boys Choir
Chattanooga Theatre Centre
CoPAC, Barking Legs Theater
Glass House Collective
HART Gallery
Hunter Museum of American Art
Scenic City Clay Arts
Sculpture Fields at Montague Park
Unity Performing Arts Foundation of Chattanooga 

According to the Sculpture Fields, “Arts Forward has allowed our organization to take an aerial view of the challenges we face; looking beyond the short-term needs of the organization, and towards a sustainable and impactful relationship with the greater community and with our core supporters.”  

Glass House Collective echoed this sentiment adding, “Arts Forward has helped us articulate an assessment of the current status of our organization and has given us tools to begin the process of creating a strategy for the future. It has also provided great opportunities for us to gather with other professionals in the field of arts and culture.” 

Due to the success of this initial year of work, the program will expand in the coming year to include new arts organizations in addition to continuing work with each of the previous twelve organizations. Each organization is expected to field participation from executive leadership and board members for the full duration of the program.For new organizations interested in applying, please contact for an application. The deadline to apply is Monday, July 2. 

Nello McDaniel, founder and director of Arts Action Research, will continue to serve as lead consultant for Arts Forward, with support from Anne Dunning, AAR principal associate. Both will continue to provide workshop facilitation and one-on-one coaching over the next year. According to Mr. McDaniel, “It has been an extraordinary year of work with this cohort of organizations. The diligence and generosity that each of these groups has brought to the work individually and collectively has exceeded our expectations and experience. We are excited and grateful for the opportunity to continue Arts Forward for a second year.”  

The three partner foundations are immensely pleased by the results of this program, and recognize the organizations’ investment of time and energy to the process. The results of this work have been a deep level of organizational growth, reduced stress and greater organizational capacity, as well as improved relationships with fellow arts organizations. The foundations anticipate that the Arts Forward Initiative will continue to nurture cultural leadership and strengthen the economic and social vibrancy of the community, said officials.  

Arts Forward workshops will continue to be open to any arts professional in Chattanooga so that the initiative can benefit as many people and arts organizations as possible. The first workshop of this new round will take place in mid-August. 

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