Metro Nashville Arts will expand their racial equity leadership program from six months to two years, and will fund participants’ art projects using a $50,000 grant. Metro Nashville City Council reviewed a resolution awarding the grant to the Racial Equity in Arts Leadership (REAL) Program on Tuesday.
According to the resolution, Metro Arts plans on focusing the second year in the REAL Program to fund the participants’ community art projects. Metro Arts clarified to The Tennessee Star that these funds will only offset the expenses of the community projects. No participants will receive funding resembling wages.
As The Star reported, Metro Arts received the funds in February from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The REAL Program had ended in 2019, running for six months every year since 2015 – the NEA grant allowed Metro Arts to relaunch it.
During its 2015-2019 run, the REAL Program focused on speaker series that advanced racial equity, and focused on professional development. Topics included “The New Being: Perception and the Spiritual Existence of People of Color” and “Radical Inclusion.”
For the 2021-2022 year, Metro Arts will also focus on a Restorative Arts program. According to their site, Metro Arts will partner with the Metro Nashville Davidson County Juvenile Court (JJC) and their Juvenile Detention Center (JDC) to create an intervention system using the arts.
In an announcement, Metro Arts stated that this initiative would positively impact those juveniles’ character and emotional development.
“As there is growing evidence that long term, sustained arts learning and arts experiences have deep and lasting positive impact on children’s cognitive development, through this partnership, we are helping to facilitate artists to create programming inclusive of children and youth who have been involved with the justice system,” stated the press release.
The program will be “trauma-informed” and focused on positive reinforcement.
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