An opportunity for students around the state


While I was listening to the local public radio station, the person being interviewed commented that he would often accompany his mother to the symphony. He described how he was completely transfixed by the multitude of sounds from the various instruments, the movements from the conductor, and the beauty of the venue. The symphony became a place for him to escape, to imagine and to build his artistic language and knowledge, but most poignantly, the symphony represented a special time with his parent and a lifelong memory.


After hearing this story, I then started noticing how often people site early experiences with the arts and the impact it had on their childhood and later into adulthood.  “Arts Education in America: What the declines mean for arts participation”, a study conducted by the National Endowment for the Arts found that arts learning plays a critical role in supporting a vibrant nonprofit cultural sector. It states that having had any childhood or adult arts education was significantly correlated with attendance at “benchmark” arts events. This means that if children  aren’t exposed to various artistic disciplines at a young age, it is less likely they will attend a performance or art exhibition in their adulthood.


The Tennessee Arts Commission provides opportunities for students to be exposed to the arts through the Student Ticket Subsidies grant (STS). Fulfilling one of the core missions of the Tennessee Arts Commission by providing access to and the opportunity to participate in the arts, STS exists to provide ticket subsidy funds to K-12 public schools for arts and cultural experiences to encourage schools to expose Tennessee students to a broad variety of cultural experiences, arts disciplines and artists.


STS opened on Tuesday, September 11, 2012, in which schools may apply for funding to either have an artist or arts organization brought into their school or the school may take a field trip to see a performance or visit an exhibition.  Last year 108,445 students throughout Tennessee benefited from STS funds, and over 80 teaching artists and arts organizations were able to bring the arts to students throughout the state.


Funds are made possible through specialty license plate sales. In order to apply for STS funds, schools must select a teaching artist or organization from the Teaching Artist Roster and funds are distributed on a first come, first serve basis until funds run out in each county.

Schools must apply online at For more information visit,  or call (615)532-5934.


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