Tennessee Arts Academy Foundation
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1900 Belmont Blvd.
Nashville, TN 37212
Organization Details


The program supported by the Tennessee Arts Academy Foundation is the Tennessee Arts Academy (TAA). TAA has a rich 37-year history as the nation's premiere program for professional development in arts education. The Academy trains over 325 K-12 music, visual art and theatre teachers, as well as select school administrators, every summer on the campus of Belmont University in Nashville. Educators trained at the Tennessee Arts Academy are better equipped and motivated to serve their students, significantly raise achievement levels and effect positive and lasting change throughout all parts of our state. Upon returning to their classrooms in the fall, the dedicated Academy-trained teachers impact over 180,000 Tennessee students in the first year alone, after receiving Academy instruction. This impact multiplies exponentially in subsequent years. The Foundation board and the TAA staff work together to find additional means of revenue to preserve the Academy and its stellar programs.
Education  - Adult Education 
Program Areas Served
State of Tennessee

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

The mission of the TAA Foundation (TAAF) is to aid and assist in the growth and expansion of the Tennessee Arts Academy (TAA) - and we are truly in a period of growth and expansion that requires us to live up to that mission. Due to a bold vision for how we will more holistically serve Tennessee's arts education community, our current trajectory provides TAA with the momentum for a new era of expansion and solidifies our reputation as the nation's premiere summer professional development institute for K-12 arts education.

TAAF is meeting this challenge by turning TAA into a truly year-round operation. Our new TAA Virtual Winter Retreat has completed its second successful year. Applications were up 30% over 2022. The Retreat refreshes, sustains, and builds upon lessons from the Summer Institute, helping educators to deepen their understanding and mitigate mid-year burnout. TAA continues to expand and improve on a variety of consistently available resources and services. The online Teacher Resource Center offers blogs, open forums, and opportunities to share lesson plans and teaching tips. A year-long mentorship program pairs new educators with established and trusted teachers who have a desire to give back. TAA's monthly Teacher Hero Awards spotlight exceptional and deserving K-12 arts educators. The list continues, with the TAA Alumni Association, "TAA Talks" podcasts, special topical masterclasses, ongoing advocacy and training, and much more. TAAF continues to support three admission-free visual art exhibitions, including curated artwork from a professional artist; a "best of the best" student art showcase; and a juried teacher art exhibition, featuring the work of Tennessee art educators. Exhibitions are displayed for one month beginning in July and are also a key feature of the Summer Institute, enhanced by a dedicated Visual Art Recognition Day. In 2023 TAA will launch its Arts Rich Schools program in order to improve arts education at the school and district levels rather than just with individual educators and administrators. This is a significant step for TAA toward broader systems change work - not as a standalone program, but one that supplements our teacher training by encouraging school systems to better support their faculty with high quality arts programs and bold leadership.

In addition to supporting the expansion and development of programs, operational support is a pressing need that has emerged following the pandemic: a large portion of TAA's annual expenses are items/services that have been subject to heavy inflation. As a result, TAA is now stretched to the limit in meeting skyrocketing costs for transportation, supplies for teachers, food, dorms for participants, hotels for guest faculty/artists, and more. Inflation has also impacted our own nominal registration fee for participants, meaning that we have the task of raising an additional 15% in order to offer the same number of scholarships as usual. TAA's scholarship support makes it possible for educators in need to attend the Academy at little or no cost to them or their schools.

While all of this places an additional burden on TAAF to provide the maximum services and support possible, the board is energized and focused on planning new programs and events for the coming year to help the Arts Academy navigate this new landscape. TAAF continues to imagine new ways to support TAA through expanded fundraising, accelerated grant writing, and through a new program aimed at increasing our endowment fund to the one-million-dollar level.