By Van Gill Maravalli, Public Art Project Coordinator, Metro Nashville Arts Commission

Metro Arts is committed to investing in artists and believes that artistic excellence drives community excellence. Therefore, with funding support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Metro Arts will conduct an artist training program for emerging Nashville artists. The Learning Lab is for artists who are interested in bringing their creative practice into the public realm and engaging with community and neighborhoods in an authentic way. The training will explore civic, public, social, and placemaking practices, and the curriculum is designed and will be presented by national art leader and artist Michael Rohd of the Center for Performance and Civic Practice based in Chicago, the Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville, and local subject matter experts. Metro Arts’ Strategic Plan and Theory of Change gives the opportunity to reimagine public art as a tool for creative community investment, citizen engagement, and neighborhood redevelopment. Through this program, we hope to help artists deepen their knowledge around community-based work.


Artist Jamal Jenkins stands in front of his mural, part of The Norf Wall Fest, which consists of several large-scale murals that relate to pressing social issues like materialism and race and can be found at several locations throughout North Nashville.

Up to 25 Nashville-based artists will be selected through a competitive application process to participate in multiple training sessions throughout summer 2016. Artists who are selected and complete the Learning Lab program will be eligible to compete for up to $5,000 of funding for the development and installation of a temporary neighborhood-based public artwork.

For more information about the program and how to apply, please visit


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