According to the Department of Tennessee Veterans Services' 2016 Annual Report, Tennessee's total veteran population is well above 503,000 and more than 218,000 are over the age of 65 years old, which is 43% of the state's veteran population.
Promoting creative expression through art, music, writing, dance and other artistic modalities help military service members, veterans and their families express themselves in new ways while improving their quality of life. Individuals with opportunities to express themselves and share their stories can often better navigate the stress of transitioning from communities, being separated from family members or transitioning from military structure to the civilian workplace. Art, more specifically, offers a nonverbal outlet of expression where many military veterans find their art to become an extension of themselves and their thoughts. This open creativity allows people of all backgrounds and ages to process traumatic experiences from their past and also navigate the visible and invisible challenges they face every day to foster growth and healing.
"Stressors can impact everyone, but there are some unique challenges that come from military service and the transition from uniform into the civilian life," Tennessee Department of Veterans Services Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder said. "Outlets such as the arts and creative expression are valuable resources for navigating the transitions faced by service members, reservists, veterans and their families."
The Tennessee Arts Commission in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Veteran Services is offering a new funding opportunity called TN Military, Veterans & the Arts (TNMVA). The purpose of the initiative is to encourage organizations serving Tennessee's military members, veterans and their families to use the arts as part of the many ways they achieve their goals and provide services to military audiences and to encourage arts organizations to engage military audiences in outcomes based activities that enhance Tennessee's communities.
"I'm extremely grateful to the Tennessee Arts Commission for their commitment and this new grant initiative that will increase art opportunities for Tennessee veterans, service members, reservists, guard members and their family members," said Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder.
"The TNMVA initiative will provide one-time funding for innovative projects using the arts that support the unique needs of, or address an opportunity for Tennessee's military members, as well as veterans or their families and caregivers," said Anne B. Pope, Executive Director for the Tennessee Arts Commission. "Successful projects will engage military service members, veterans and their families through the arts and strive to meet the published outcomes while leveraging the assets from the community in which they exist."
Applicants may request up to $10,000 for their project. This grant does not require a financial match. However, applications that demonstrate a commitment to continue the project through sustainable, local funding sources, partnerships and community support may increase the competitiveness of the submission.
Funded projects must take place between October 15, 2018, and June 15, 2019, under a grant contract with the State of Tennessee, Tennessee Arts Commission.
Eligible "lead" organizations include local and regional government entities and nonprofit organizations legally chartered and headquartered in Tennessee. State agencies are not eligible to apply but are welcome as partner organizations.