Tennessee Arts Commission

Tennessee Arts Commission

The Tennessee Arts Commission was created in 1967 by the Tennessee General Assembly with the special mandate to stimulate and encourage the presentation of the visual, literary, music and performing arts and to encourage public interest in the cultural heritage of Tennessee.

The mission of the Tennessee Arts Commission is to cultivate the arts for the benefit of all Tennesseans and their communities.

Through a variety of investments, the Commission encourages excellence in artistic expression through the state’s artists, arts organizations, and arts activities. That commitment has expanded through the years to increase access and opportunities for all citizens to participate in the arts.

Creative Aging Profile

Creative Aging Tennessee logo with colorful wreath image above name

Creative Aging TN is a new initiative committed to enhancing and transforming the lives of older adults through the arts. Through expansion of its current grant funding processes, development of high value partnerships, and the sharing of best practices with existing art organizations that work with seniors, our goal is to ensure that every Tennessean, including older adults, has access to the arts and fully participates in creative opportunities for a lifetime.

Agency Initiative

Performance for seniors with engaged audience of 20+ and 7 performers on stage raising their arms or playing instruments.

In FY 2018, the Tennessee Arts Commission, in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Health and the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability, launched Creative Aging TN to increase older adult participation in the arts.   To bring awareness to the issues that affect older adults both nationally and state-wide, a series of Creativity Connects Roundtables were conducted with support from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Center for Creative Aging (NCCA), that brought together artists, senior centers, government entities, public libraries, health care facilities, and other nonprofits.  One of the unique aspects of this initiative was the partnership developed between three (3) state agencies to leverage resources, create greater impact, promote positive outcomes, and create long-term sustainability of these programs for older adults in Tennessee.

Agency Creative Aging Resources & Tools

Creative Aging Tennessee Grant

In partnership with the Tennessee Department of Health and the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability, the Tennessee Arts Commission offered a one-time funding opportunity for innovative arts projects that promoted healthy aging of older adults and encouraged community partnerships that had the potential for sustainability.  To implement this, the partners agreed that every applicant’s proposed program or project should demonstrate its ability to achieve results in four (4) outcomes areas:

  • Health and wellness;
  • Lifelong learning and Engagement;
  • Increased positive attitudes/perception about aging; and
  • Connecting older adults to their communities.

As a result, nineteen (19) organizations were awarded Creative Aging grants of which half were not previous applicants with the TN Arts Commission and almost 70% were in rural counties.   Please visit FY18 Creative Aging TN Awards for a complete listing.

Tennessee State Plan on Aging 2017-2021

The Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability (TCAD) developed this study to provide a framework for a comprehensive and coordinated system to address programs and services that will be required by older adults in Tennessee.

Tennessee State Plan on Health 2016 revision:

The Tennessee State Health Plan exists to contemplate the factors that determine health, consider the resources that can be utilized to improve health and coordinate the people who desire to lead the way towards making people in Tennessee healthier. In this way the State Health Plan is the policy driver for the Tennessee Department of Health and its partners to protect, promote, and improve the health and prosperity of people in Tennessee.

Additional Creative Aging Resources

Music for Seniors

Located in Nashville, TN, Music for Seniors offers an array of live music activities each month for hundreds of older adults in a variety of settings across five Middle Tennessee counties. A free, daytime concert series is also produced in cooperation with other local non-profits to feature celebrated groups and soloists at varying community venues.

Creative Aging Memphis

Located in Memphis, Creative Aging Memphis improves the quality of life for Mid-South seniors by stimulating their minds, creativity, and sense of self through arts programs that engage, educate, and entertain. Hiring local professional artists, this organization presents high quality performances and workshops to older adults where they live and gather.

Knoxville Museum of Art (KMA)

Memory Care Art Workshops are open to individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or memory loss and their family members and caregivers.

Once a month, KMA docents lead an Arts and Alzheimer’s Tour that includes discussion with residents of local assisted living communities about a featured museum gallery or exhibition.



The U.S. Census Bureau reported that in 2010 in Tennessee, 13.4% of the total population was age 65 years or older with an estimate of 15.4% in 2015.   By year 2020, the average percent of the population age 65 and over is expected to be around 16 percent. Out of 95 counties, the majority of these counties (almost 3/4) will have greater than 16% of their population older than 65 years of age.

Image of Kim Johnson

Creative Aging Point Person

Kim Johnson

Kim Johnson joined the Tennessee Arts Commission in September 2015 as Director of Arts Access. In that position, she is responsible for ensuring access to the arts for underserved communities, diverse ethnic groups, people with disabilities, and people age 65 years and older. Ms. Johnson has over 25 years of experience in nonprofit management, program development, and community relationship building.