In several days, many of you will receive a letter from Katie Pierce, The Tullahoma Fine Arts Center’s Executive Director. Before it arrives, I’d like to share some facts & figures.
The Tullahoma Fine Arts Center is a 501(c)3, nonprofit organization that has been in existence since 1968. It is Tennessee’s oldest, continuously operating, Member-owned Arts Center. We reside in Coffee County’s oldest brick home. 20 of our 40 original Members are still Members. We have undertaken one renovation in our 48-year history.
Although TFAC is internationally recognized, many locals don’t know we exist, what we do or how we survive. Certainly, most don’t realize the tremendous economic, social, cultural and educational impacts the Arts & Humanities have. So, let me clue you in on one of Tullahoma’s best-kept secrets; one of our Region’s crowning jewels.
The National Chamber of Commerce notes that functional Arts Centers with diverse programming attract young families to communities and those communities retain them at a 25% greater rate than communities which do not. The Federal Department of Education has found that students who participate in Arts programming score, statistically, 30% higher on standardized tests than their non-participating peers. The Americans for the Arts’ Arts & Economic Prosperity Calculator estimates that The Tullahoma Fine Arts Center, exclusive of itself, generates $257,488 for the local economy, funding 8.6 full-time jobs, resulting in $193,465 dollars in take-home pay, $10,691 in local government revenue and $12,108 in state government revenue. The RAND Corporation’s Arts and Prosocial Impact Study found that communities who spend at least $5 per citizen on Arts programming reveal a 22% drop in crime rates.
Mayor Curlee must be aware of these statistics, as he has created The Tullahoma Regional Arts Council and challenged us to position Tullahoma as Middle Tennessee Arts Destination.
The Tullahoma Fine Arts Center offers exhibits, works, performances and demonstrations by area artists. We have a show which changes monthly, and is preceded by an open, informal “meet-the-artist” reception with food & drinks. We host the American Watercolor Society’s traveling show. Music students perform here. We offer lectures and instruction in all areas of the Arts & Humanities for adults and children. We qualify Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts for badges. We host free monthly classes for children and their families who might otherwise be unable to have exposure to or experience with the Arts & Humanities. We offer community service and volunteer opportunities to students & seniors. Small theatrical productions and movies are presented here. In the back there is a potter’s wheel, clay studio and kiln. We have a gift shop full of one-of-a-kind original works by local area artists, writers and craftspeople. We sponsor a Historical Ghost Walk at Halloween and are the home to the Tullahoma Regional Arts Council. TFAC is an approved service provider for the State Board of Probation and Parole. We have an extensive, historical archive collection. The building is available for party and event rentals. We have a 5000 item lending library. Downstairs we have an informal Members’ Gallery. Upstairs we have a formal Regional Art Museum and Gallery. The Bailette Balcony features a permanent collection of items belonging to the home’s original owners. A gazebo on the grounds is original to the house as are many of the flowers. There are 6 classrooms, and we offer our Members free studio space and significant discounts at local businesses. Generally, there’s coffee & tea ready, and we have an open wi-fi connection. The building is secured by an alarm system and is ADA compliant. As an organization, we are title VI complaint and have a unique, fully inclusive non-discrimination policy. Our formal parlor has a grand piano, and our Board room has dining space for 8. We work closely with other area non-profits, schools and businesses.
What we do not have is up-to-date technology and a kitchen. And, since only one renovation has ever been performed, we lack curb appeal. Our facility and grounds need constant care which we are unable to provide ourselves.
The time has come for us to update our technology, and change over to LED lighting with motion-sensored control. This will significantly lower our utilities costs. We need to install a functional, community kitchen so that we may offer cooking classes, and develop a community garden so that we may teach horticulture classes. This will increase our rental and instructional capabilities to offset Payroll costs. A simple modification to our parking setup would add 2 more spaces and a van-accessible handicapped spot next to the access ramp. Our exterior needs to be re-landscaped to be less formal, more colorful & welcoming and indicative of who we are and what we offer Tullahoma.
Located at the crossroads of Hwys. 41 & 55, The Tullahoma Fine Arts Center is either the first or final historic and cultural site tourists see when visiting our city. We want to make a stunning first impression and a lasting final impression.
The building itself is owned by the members. An 8-person Board of Directors (including a student representative) oversees 2 staff members. Member dues & Donations represent our largest sources of income. Our largest expenses are Payroll and Utilities.
At present, our expenses outweigh our income. In order to mitigate loss, we may be forced to limit our offerings and hours, or charge for our free services (or charge more for our paid services). We don’t wish to do this.
..we need YOU. If you live in Tullahoma, Coffee County and the region, and you care about the Arts & Humanities, PLEASE join us and make a significant donation. Any donation, large or small, from and individual, business or foundation is helpful, appreciated and responsibly used. And we welcome new corporate, individual and family Members. You can see how compare to other nonprofits by visiting our profile at www.GivingMatters.com.
If you don’t know who, where or what we are and/or what we do, we invite you to please stop in and check us out. TFAC is open to the public Thursdays — Saturdays, 10 am — 4 pm, or by appointment.
To join or make a tax-deductible donation online, or just to keep up with us and our happenings, please visit our website at www.TullahomaFineArtsCenter.org and “like” us on FaceBook.
Member, Tullahoma Regional Arts Council
Resource Development Director
Tullahoma Fine Arts Center