Metro Nashville Arts Commission or Metro Arts is the arts and cultural division the city of Nashville, Tennessee. We believe that all Nashvillians should be able to participate in a creative life and that arts drive a more vibrant and equitable community.

Metro Nashville is interested in supporting artistic and cultural activation throughout the city.

Metro allows artists or organizations who are working with a professional artist(s) to install artworks in the Metro Right of Way. Artworks, with prior approval and appropriate agreement, may include signal box covers, sidewalks, retaining walls, or other locations deemed appropriate by Metro.

An agreement, appropriate permits and final artwork design must be approved in writing before installation begins. Metro shall also have the final determination on where artwork can be located.

Artwork Criteria

Artworks in right-of-way will not be approved, if the artwork design violates any of the following:

  • Artwork is not allowed to contain inappropriate or offensive images or words.
  • Artworks that convey messages appearing to advertise or promote a commercial entity (corporation or for-profit business) will not be accepted.
  • If the artwork promotes an organization or non-profit entity, a sign permit may be required.
  • Images that create a driver distraction or could be confused with traffic control devices will not be accepted.

In addition to the Artwork in the right-of-way agreement, applicants will be required to obtain a permit for any activity occurring in the right-of-way. This may include temporary sidewalk or traffic lane closures.

Physical structures (sculptures or objects) planned to be located in the right-of-way will require an encroachment permit. Encroachment permits must be approved by the Metropolitan Council. An artwork with a below ground foundation also requires an excavation permit.

Details and requirements related to permits. (General Liability insurance is a requirement of the ROW permit)

Applicant must notify, in writing, any abutting property owners (street, road, alley or right-of-way or fee owner of easement) and the district member of council representing the area of such artwork before Metro approval and agreement may be executed. Documentation of such communications may be required.

Installation, Safety and Maintenance Requirements

  • By approval of an Artwork in the Right of Way, Metro does not accept ownership of said artwork nor any responsibility for future maintenance. Any on-site liability of the artwork or installation of artwork is assumed by the applicant/artist.
  • No artwork can obstruct or cause American with Disabilities Act (ADA) violations in the right-of-way.
  • Any art placed on a sidewalk must be made of an anti-skid resistant material. The material must comply with the American with Disabilities Act.
  • All artwork materials used should be designed for use on the particular surface to be painted (or adhered to). Metro reserves the right to review and approve any materials.
  • The applicant shall clean and prime surfaces prior to the application of materials unless this requirement is waived in the agreement.
  • Paint and other materials shall be applied according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Vinyl wraps must be professionally installed.
  • Ventilation channels on utility boxes shall not be covered with paint or other materials.
  • Anti-graffiti coatings are encouraged. Removal of graffiti often results in the removal of the anti-graffiti coating as well so it may need to be reapplied.
  • If artwork is tagged with graffiti or damaged within the time period approved in the Artwork in Right of Way agreement, Metro will contact the applicant to repair. The applicant has 3 days from notification to abate graffiti and 30 days from notification to repair any other damage. If graffiti is not removed within 3 days, Metro reserves the right to paint over the portion of the artwork where the graffiti is located.
  • Metro reserves the right to remove or cover any artwork if it is determined to be a safety hazard, is too large, interferes with the flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic, creates a maintenance problem, interferes with public service or other activities in adjacent areas or is otherwise inappropriate for the space.
  • If the Metro-owned property including utility boxes, retaining walls, sidewalk, etc. needs to be repaired or replaced -in part or whole – while the artwork is in place, there is no obligation on the part of Metro to replace, repair or reinstall the artwork. However, the applicant will be given notice so that the artwork can be removed or relocated – should that be possible.


  1. Applicant/artist submits application form, plus attachments to Metro Arts.
  2. Metro Arts reviews in collaboration with Metro Public Works.
  3. Both teams make a joint recommendation for approval or disapproval.
  4. If approved, applicant/artist to install artwork must submit signed agreement form and obtain any other required permits.

Grant Review Panelist: Metro Arts seeks volunteers to serve as grant application reviewers. No experience required. We provide sufficient orientation so all panelists may serve confidently. Panelists review all submitted application materials online, attend required orientation and review meetings, and score each grant application. Scores are averaged and used to help Metro Arts determine grant awards.

Public Art Selection Panelist: A public art Selection Panel is comprised of artists, community and business representatives, architects, landscape architects and other design professionals and Metro representatives. These panels review submissions for public art projects and makes recommendations to the Public Art Committee.

Metro Arts strives to form selection panels that are diverse and appropriate to the specific project or program. Though voluntary, the demographic data and resume upload included in this form will assist Metro Arts in accomplishing this goal.

Metro Arts looks for individuals who are thoughtful, willing to listen to others' opinions and are able to represent a specific viewpoint that is relevant to the public art project. Self nominations are welcome.

Panelist Eligibility Criteria:

Every Metro Arts panelist must work or live in Davidson County, have a keen interest in the arts (as an artist, participant, audience member, donor, educator, etc.), and must not be an employee of Metro government (including Metro Nashville Public Schools) or any applicant organization. All panelists must declare real or perceived conflicts of interests in advance.

When Metro Arts assembles a review panel, we:

1.    seek to achieve diversity among panelists in age, race/cultural identity, council district residency, physical abilities, personal and professional interests, expertise, etc.;

2.    trust all panelists to honestly declare all applicant-related real or perceived conflicts as soon as they become aware that a conflict exists;

3.    expect all panelists to take the review process seriously and honor their commitment to serve as instructed;

4.    recruit panel members who truly care about the arts in our community, as non-artists or artists.

Please understand that not all recommendations will be used.

Thank you!

Metro recently adopted an ordinance and guidelines for the purpose of evaluating potential donated artworks. This policy plans for the fact that there are limited suitable sites on public property for placement of donated artworks and limited public funds for maintenance and conservation of donated artworks. Each artwork will be evaluated by the Public Art Committee and the Metro Arts Commission in addition to the Metro Department accepting the donation.

In order for Metro to evaluate donations, donors are required to provide information about the artwork donation via Submittable. You may also download the donor checklist/worksheet to assist in the process of gathering information about your artwork.

***PLEASE NOTE** Donations of artwork that require the city to pay for costs such as installation, transportation, site preparation or repair are not encouraged. Artwork requiring high or excessive maintenance may be declined.

Ordinance No. BL2015-1277 "D. Unless the metropolitan council has appropriated funding specifically for the installation and maintenance costs for the donated artwork, a donor’s proposal shall include funding adequate to cover all costs for the design, fabrication, insurance, transportation, storage, installation, and maintenance of the proposed artwork for a period of ten years from the date of acceptance, plus contingency funds for reasonable unforeseen circumstances."

Metro Arts and Opportunity NOW are seeking Community Arts Partners to provide project-based arts work experiences for young people ages 14-16 years old during Summer 2018. Teams of six to ten youth will be engaged in seven-week programs that will emphasize work readiness training, arts service learning (through visual arts, craft, media, music, theater, dance, folk, and/or literary arts) and will culminate in a final product.

Programs will represent a wide range of geographic locations throughout Davidson County and adhere to the Opportunity NOW program timeline and deliverables. Programs will accommodate six to ten youth ages 14-16. Partners may request funds up to $1,000 per youth for a $9,999 program maximum to cover costs such as:

  • Teaching artist fees 
  • Project management and personnel costs
  • Supplies necessary for project completion
  • Transportation (for off-site visits)

The program will begin on May 29, 2018 with four days of youth participant training led by Near Peer Coaches. Arts Work Experience projects will begin June 4, 2018 and will conclude on July 13, 2018. Times for training and program dates are 8am-12pm. Partners will be responsible for implementing the following:

  • Develop and implement age-appropriate projects that accommodate six-to-ten youth participants ages 14-16
  • Create a Project Work Plan
  • Engage professional Artist Teacher(s)/Mentor(s) with proper credentials and experience to successfully facilitate youth arts programming
  • Provide supplies necessary to conduct project
  • Provide space for project site (June 4-July 13, 2018, 8am-12pm)  and pre-program training (May 29-June 1, 2018, 8am-12pm)
  • Provide transportation to and from project sites (only if different from centralized location)
  • Facilitate placement of youth into program: post job description on portal, review resumes, contact youth for orientation attendance, and conduct interviews (optional)
  • Host parent/youth orientation prior to program start date: collect all required documents and signatures regarding employee documentation, wage payment, parent participation release, medical needs, photo releases, etc.
  • Coordinate youth participant and Near Peer Coach timesheet completion and reporting
  • Provide supplies necessary to conduct programming
  • Conduct TBI Background Checks for organization personnel that will directly engage with Opportunity NOW youth
 Contact Rebecca Kinslow at or 615-862-6737 with questions.

The Restorative Justice & the Arts program is a partnership with Metro Arts, the Juvenile Justice Center (JJC) and the Oasis Center to create a framework for art interventions that use restorative practice.

JJC is committed to capturing the positive potential of its clients through assessing each individual’s talents, skills and needs. Court officials and families/guardians work to support young people to bolster resiliency and avert re-offending. JJC continues these alternatives to sentencing measures with an eye to building a stronger community and support network for youth.

Because the arts are a proven tool that supports youth development and community resiliency, we believe they should be part of JJC's healing framework. Metro Arts is seeking artists and cultural partners who are interested in working with JJC to learn restorative practices in order to create and/or deepen their programming targeting youth.  that incorporate the arts into youth restorative justice practices. Participants will go through a training series that supports them to be successful in this work, while continuing to formulate their project concept. Upon completing the training, participants may qualify for funding opportunities to bring their concept to fruition.

Program Timeline:

  • Proposals of project concepts will be accepted through December 28, 2016. The intent for the proposal is to lay a foundation for ideas that will be continuously edited throughout the duration of the trainings leading to the  final proposal deadline of March 10.
  • Notifications of acceptance into the program will be made by January 5.
  • Training Series Dates: January 28, February 4, February 11, February 25, & March 4. Applicants will be required to attend all the training sessions to be accepted and qualify for funding.
  • Final Project Proposal due March 10
  • If selected, projects may begin any time after March 20. (Invoice for up to 80% of funding amount may be submitted at this time)
  • All projects must be completed by June 29, 2017. Final reports and the remaining 20% invoice are required to be submitted no later than this date.

About the Training Series

The Restorative Justice & the Arts Training Series will provide peer learning experiences, a support system, knowledge exchange, skill building and resources through modules in:

  • Arts Programming Development
  • Positive Youth Development
  • Cultural Humility/Competency
  • Trauma-Informed Care/Active Listening
  • Storytelling & Data  

About the Project Proposals

Successful proposals will offer a sustainable project for at-risk and incarcerated youth, while considering best practices for Positive Youth Development and Trauma-Informed Care.

Applicants may be eligible for up to $6,500 in funding to support their projects.

Approved projects may request up to 80% of the approved funding allocation up front via a signed invoice. The remaining 20% will be paid upon project completion.

Note: Funding approval may be subject to a background check.

Eligibility: Individual artists, businesses and organizations that reside or conduct programming in Davidson County are eligible to apply. Individuals requesting or receiving funds must be at least 18 years of age.

Applicants (and immediate family members) cannot serve as a member of the Metro Arts Board of Commissioners, nor can they be employed by the Metro Nashville Davidson County Government or Metro Nashville Public Schools.

Artist Qualifications: For the purposes of the Restorative Justice Arts Project, artists are defined as individuals or a group who practice in the unique creation and public display or performance of visual arts, craft, sound and performance art, film and television (including production), theatre, dance, music or literary arts and can demonstrate at least two years of exhibition, performance or professional history.

General Project Restrictions - Restorative Justice & the Arts funding will not support the following:

  • Murals or other permanent public artworks

  • Durable goods, including equipment or capital improvements. Other examples of durable goods 
include: appliances, furniture, musical instruments, consumer electronics and sporting goods. 

  • Projects already completed, exhibited or performed. 

  • Activities or programs with religious content, study, or practice. Metro Arts funds must be used for secular arts activities only. 

Contact Rebecca Berrios at or 615-862-6737 with questions.

THRIVE is a micro-funding program designed to build, strengthen, and cultivate communities in Nashville and Davidson County by supporting artist led projects that encourage artistic and cultural experiences, community investment, and neighborhood transformation.

Note: Application may be saved and edited. Staff will not be able to read you applications until submitted. Staff can re-open applications for editing.

Questions or requests for accommodations? Please contact

Applicants must read the FY18 Funding Guidelines before submitting an application for a project.


•             September 30, 2017

•             November 30, 2017

•             February 28, 2018

THRIVE Proposal Application Requirements:

·         In-person, phone or webinar consultation with staff

·         Completed Online Application

Required Attachments

·         Artist resume or curriculum vitae demonstrating artistic experience of at least two years of exhibition, performance or professional history.

·         Artwork or artistic samples

·         Two letters of recommendation

·         Completed budget form 

·         Project Timeline

·         Completed Metro Arts Vendor Form  *This form requires a social security number or federal tax identification number issued by the Internal Revenue Service.

·         If requesting funds in the category of Public Arts, a completed Public Artwork Information Form. (url link)


Funding Categories

•                     Community Art Sharing and Celebration ($3,000): A Community Art Sharing and Celebration project will support artist fees for projects that strategically shape the physical, social character and celebrate our Nashville neighborhoods through the sharing of an artistic practice. In this category, the community informs the artist’s vision for the work. A competitive application will include an intention of social impact beyond a traditional audience experience.

•                     Community Co-design & Collaboration ($4,000): A Community Co-design & Collaboration project will focus on collaboration with the community by actively engaging participants in the art-making process. These projects must involve a strong, committed partnership between the artist and a specific group, organization or neighborhood. The needs of the partner and the community should determine the vision for the artwork. The artwork should be largely process-based. In this funding category, the public is required to participate in the physical creation and/or design of the artwork.

•                     Public Art ($8000): Public Art is a new category introduced to THRIVE in fiscal year FY18. This category supports the creation of temporary and permanent public artworks in a public space. A competitive application in this category will exhibit an intention of social impact beyond a traditional audience experience and/or show strong committed partnerships between the artist and a specific group, organization, or neighborhood. The needs of the partner and the community should determine the vision of the artwork. The artwork should be largely process based and the community is required to participate in the physical creation and/ or design of the artwork in this category. This funding category requires the approval of the Metro Art Commission’s Public Art Committee in addition to the Metro Art Commission.


•                     Individual artists, businesses and organizations that reside or conduct programming in Davidson County are eligible to apply. Individuals requesting or receiving funds must be at least 18 years of age.

•                     Organizations that receive funding from any grant administered by Metro Arts in the same fiscal year are not eligible to apply for THRIVE funds.

•                     Applicants (and immediate family members) cannot serve as a member of the Metro Arts Board of Commissioners, nor can they be employed by the Metro Nashville Davidson County Government or Metro Nashville Public Schools.

•                     For the purposes of the THRIVE program, artists are defined as individuals who practice in the unique creation and public display or performance of visual arts, craft, sound and performance art, film and television (including production), theatre, dance, music or literary arts and can demonstrate at least two years of exhibition, performance or professional history.