Rich Text: Unraveling the Metro Arts Commission

The Metro Arts Commission is the body responsible for issuing grants and funding to projects they deem worthy. It’s a huge part of many operating budgets that people rely on, as well as a conduit to creating enriching artistic activities. When running smoothly, it can do a lot of good. However, if you haven’t been paying attention to the Arts Commission over the past year (2023-2024), it’s been anything but smooth. The broad strokes: there have been major payment delays, lots of waffling on who will receive funding and plenty of accusations amongst board members.

Keeping up with the activities has been an interesting endeavor but it’s a deep well with lots of details to keep up with. Furthermore, the Arts Commission itself is a body that deserves some context to understand why it exists, how it exists and where it came from. Fortunately, it seems that the {Rich Text} podcast is going to help clarify all of that. Based on a series of articles from Mike Lacy about the same topic, the show seeks to unravel the current hurdles of the Arts Commission and provide the context from whence it came. Specifically, his own show summary reads:

Reading deeply into words and events to unfold the layers of meaning in them to find out: “How did we get here?” Produced by Mike Lacy in Nashville, TN, this podcast started with a particular local political crisis around arts funding but is interested in much more than pointing fingers. What can we learn about the ways that power, class, and race interact when we read deeply into the {Rich Text} around us?

There’s only one official episode out so far but it’s a truly fascinating listen. It’s also a gateway to the original articles that are certainly worth a peek or two.


Keeping up with government activities can be daunting, boring, frustrating or some combination of all of the above. Keeping up with the Arts Commission is a slightly different beast. Not because it isn’t daunting, boring, or frustrating but because the money being distributed often goes toward such indelible parts of the city. Look at this list of 2024 Operating Grant Recipients – note Belcourt, TPAC, Frist, Cheekwood, Nashville Symphony, Country Music Hall of Fame and more are all on the list. Further down the line with smaller grants reveals wonderful endeavors like Defy Film Festival, chatterbird, The Porch, The Forge, Kindling Arts, Y.E.A.H., and loads more. The Arts Commission’s role in the health of the city really can’t be understated. Therefore, making sense of their activities is well worth all of our time. Here’s to {Rich Text} helping us all reach that goal.

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