(MURFREESBORO) A broad coalition of community volunteers gathered Wednesday evening at the Center for the Arts in uptown Murfreesboro to launch the Rutherford Arts Alliance, an advocacy group dedicated to identifying, uniting, and promoting arts, culture, and heritage in Rutherford County.
Longtime arts supporter Lee Rennick noted there is strong financial support for the arts . . .
Rennick explained, "What this statistic means to us is that along with all of the great sports coming to the county, the arts are another viable economic driver to develop here. It also empowers creative youth to purse the business side of their talents and help to build our economic future."
Founding President Ginny Togrye said, "The overarching goal of Rutherford Arts Alliance is to connect creatives and community. This new nonprofit reflects an inclusive, grassroots effort to make Rutherford County known for the significant social and economic impact of its creative culture."
Murfreesboro Art Laureates
Murfreesboro Poet Laureate Kory Wells continued with that thought . . .
The Arts Laureates program had a particular role in the birth of Rutherford Arts Alliance. In 2017, all three inaugural laureates realized the difficulty of reaching other locals interested in their genres of painting, photography, and poetry. This "glaring need" to better connect creatives--and all citizens who would benefit from a creative culture--led to more than a year's worth of meetings shepherded by Murfreesboro resident Andrea Loughry, current Vice-Chair of the Tennessee Arts Commission.
Mark Wilson told of another study with strong results for the arts . . .
Significant local arts-related projects in planning or implementation stages echo these studies. These include a new staff position directing cultural and heritage tourism at the Rutherford County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Boro Art Crawl, the continued growth of Carpe Artista in Smyrna, volunteer work on an asset list of over 1,200 constituents in local arts and culture, and the City of Murfreesboro Arts Laureates program.
"These are just a few examples of our growing local arts scene," Togrye said.
Performing Arts Center
Part of the plans call for a 35-acre Middle Tennessee Arts and Performance Center that hopefully will be near the interstate. Initial architectural renderings show the local center to be larger than TPAC in Nashville.
The facility will have two indoor performance theaters. One is a 3,500 seat auditorium as well as an adjacent 1,500 seat facility. The auditoriums will also be used by schools as their place for high school graduations.
In addition, there will be a massive outdoor amphitheater along with an art gallery and museum.
The proposed complex will incorporate a two-story Home of American Music Museum. It will include Uncle Dave Macon as well as all types of music and the history of the local musicians. It will show the visual and aural history of this area. This alone is expected to be a major tourist draw for the community.
Mark Wilson explained that many will benefit from the proposed center . . .
In recent months, approximately 60 community volunteers have attended meetings, contributed ideas and experience, and participated in establishing the alliance as a 501(c)(3) entity.
"Rutherford Arts Alliance is not just an organization, it's a movement," said Loughry. "It's a call for community change. We've long identified as a growing county that works for great schools, infrastructure, and commerce. It's time for us to prioritize our unique identity as a thriving cultural community that benefits local business, tourism, and our quality of life."
Togrye, who served as Murfreesboro's inaugural Painter Laureate, was quick to point out that the alliance's purpose is to better connect, not replace, existing arts groups, and to better support individual artists and ventures. Membership options, expected by spring, will be available to any individuals or organizations interested in the cultural vibrancy of the county.
Inauguration of the Rutherford Arts Alliance was celebrated at an open house held at the Center for the Arts in Murfreesboro. Stones River Total Beverages and Five Senses Restaurant and Catering provided refreshments. Lynn Lien, Tina Patel and Sharon Kolli served as the hospitality committee.
RAA Next Meets In Smyrna
The new alliance is building its email list and recruiting volunteers for numerous committees who will shape the future of the organization. The group's next meeting will be from 4:00 to 6:00 o'clock Tuesday evening, February 12th at Carpe Artista in Smyrna. The public is invited.
For more information, contact Ginny Togrye at 615-403-7161 or firstname.lastname@example.org.