ArtsBuild's mission is to build and encourage a stronger community through creativity and learning through the arts.
Art conveys with children beginning at a young age, and ArtsBuild encourages their creativity through their "Imagine" program. Through this they provide a field trip in the arts for every child in Hamilton County Schools. According to ArtsBuild President James McKissic, they conducted 14 thousand field trips for 14 thousand students in 2022. He says children visited local museums, the ballet, plays, and the symphony, all at no cost to the children; he says the organization will also cover the costs for a substitute teacher to stay with children who do not go on the trip.
ArtsBuild also advocates for the arts during election season. McKissic says the organization holds forums related to the arts for the candidates, where artists will ask those seeking office how they will support the community in their administration. One of their biggest advocacy efforts is related to the Tennessee Specialty License Plate Program. When someone purchases a specialty plate, some of the funds from that purchase will go programs that support the arts, including ArtsBuild.
I asked McKissic how someone can get assistance through the non-profit, and he told me they have different grants throughout the year for individual artists and organizations, and you can view those here.
Another way ArtsBuild supports dreams is through the Racial Equity Grants for Individual Artists (REGIA) program. This program renews grant-funded support for artists of color, building on ArtsBuild’s Equity in the Arts grant program. McKissic says a couple of years ago, they looked into how their funding is being equitably distributed. He says the realized funds for artists of color were going to organizations led by BIPOC individuals. They then instituted this grant to change that, and now nearly 40% of the grant is going towards artists of color, syncing with the city's population.
According to ArtsBuild President James McKissic ArtsBuild also has support through the City of Chattanooga, specifically with the Office of Arts, Culture, and Creative Economy, as well as the Hamilton County government. One way the community can support this non-profit is by donating and volunteering to be one of their grant reviewers.
ArtsBuild will also host their first large gala, called 'The Intermission' on September 14th. McKissic tells me this will be a celebration of the arts in Chattanooga, and honor this year's recipients of the Ruth Holmberg Arts Leadership Awards. Tickets are limited and are on sale now, and the celebration does feature a very special guest.
My name is Jess and I love telling other peoples stories and bringing awareness to the community.