By Mary Kate Sheppard, Staff Writer—
The Scenic City has that name for a reason, and it’s not just because of the mountains. In reality, Chattanooga is a city of exploration, adventure, community and unbridled expression.
It’s also a city of art, and there are those in the community that work hard to keep it that way. ArtsBuild is among those who make Chattanooga a place for artists, by artists.
ArtsBuild was founded in Chattanooga in 1969 by local businessmen and art lovers. Now, it has grown into a nonprofit organization that generates revenues in order to help the city’s artists.
Offering grants is one of the main ways ArtsBuild helps out.
In the past fifty years, ArtsBuild has invested over 76 million dollars into artists and art programs around Chattanooga.
According to their website, “grant making is an integral part of ArtsBuild’s mission to build a stronger community through the arts, by giving financial support to local arts organizations, as well as non-arts organizations.”
Grants are applied for through their website and are awarded annually to local artists and organizations that are dedicated to expanding the arts, educating people and inspiring the community.
Additionally, ArtsBuild supports art education programs that aspire to cultivate creativity and academic growth in young people.
Two programs that they support include Imagine! and Any Given Child, both of which provide opportunities for furthering the arts in Hamilton County schools.
According to ArtsBuild, “It takes everyone – arts organizations, artists, administrators, and educators – to build a stronger community through the arts.”
In response to Covid-19, ArtsBuild has doubled their efforts in an attempt to help struggling artists in the midst of a pandemic.
Mary Tanner, Board Chair for ArtsBuild said in the yearly report, “This past year has brought unexpected challenges for everyone. Here at ArtsBuild we have taken this chance to re-think, re-prioritize, and ‘re-mix’ the work we do to support our local Arts community.”
ArtsBuild, in all their programs, aims to educate and inspire people through the beauty of art and creative expression.
“It is remarkable to see the creativity with which local artists and art organizations are using their talents and their programs to reach people in new ways,” Tanner said.
In doing so, ArtsBuild has helped establish Chattanooga as an imaginative and welcoming community that welcomes imaginative people.