Mary Queen of Scots

What would have happened had Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots met face to face?  A thrilling imagining of this showdown is at the heart of Donizetti’s riveting opera transporting you to a Britain at war with itself and overcome by uncertainty and strife.  As an opera scenario, the clash between Mary and Elizabeth is pure gold, a battle of two divas to the death.  The fight between these two women is acted out by musical showmanship that involves incredible use of coloratura to express their violent rivalry through singing alone.  This peaks during Mary’s insult aria Figlia impura di Bolena (impure daughter of Boleyn) when she goes as far as calling her cousin Elizabeth a “bastarda” – a line so shocking that it saw the opera banned in some places for a while.

Mary, Queen of Scots is the perfect subject for a great opera – she makes contemporary celebrities look as dull as dishwater. During her fairly short life, the 16th-century Scottish queen waged war on her own country, was accused of adultery and even of blowing her husband up, before having her head cut off under orders from her cousin, Elizabeth I of England.


LONG STORY SHORT: Queen Elizabeth I of England, fearing a rival in love and politics, has her proud cousin Mary Stuart executed.

Artist’s rendering of the opera’s central confrontation scene


Mary Stuart is the Catholic queen of Scotland. Her second husband, Henry Stuart, died under mysterious circumstances.
Anna (Jane Kennedy) is Mary’s companion while under house arrest.
Elizabeth, the Protestant queen of England, has yet to choose a husband. Her courtiers include:
Leicester (pronounced “LESS-ter”), Elizabeth’s favorite, who is in love with Mary.
Talbot, who advises Elizabeth to forgive Mary.
Cecil, who, fearing a Catholic uprising, advises Elizabeth to have Mary killed.


England, 1587


What Has Come Before

Henry VIII of England broke with the Catholic Church and founded the Church of England, in part so he could divorce his first wife and marry Anne Boleyn. His daughter by Anne eventually became Elizabeth I. But Henry’s sister Margaret married the King of Scotland; their grand-daughter, Mary Stuart (also known as Mary Queen of Scots), became Elizabeth’s rival for the throne of England. When the opera begins, Elizabeth has had Mary condemned to death for treason…

What’s Going On?

Mary Stuart painted by Scipione Vannutelli

At Westminster in London, Queen Elizabeth I is indecisive. She is toying with the idea of marrying the King of France, although she seems to be in love with Robert, the Earl of Leicester. And then there’s the Mary Stuart problem. Elizabeth’s cousin, the Queen of Scotland, has been languishing under house arrest for years. As Elizabeth’s nearest kin, Mary is heir to the throne of England. But she’s also popular, controversial (due to her Catholicism) and a threat due to her presumed participation in a plot to assassinate Elizabeth. Elizabeth discusses Mary with two advisors, Talbot and Cecil. Talbot urges Elizabeth to show clemency; Cecil warns her that Mary is a dangerous rival.

Elizabeth is fond of Leicester, who loves Mary Stuart. He shows Elizabeth a message from Mary begging the Queen to come meet her in person. The jealous Elizabeth nevertheless agrees to the meeting.

At Fotheringay Castle, where Mary Stuart is under house arrest, she tells her attendant, Anna, about her happy childhood in France. Leicester brings the news that Elizabeth is coming; he encourages Mary to be humble and submissive. The Queen arrives, and Mary kneels before her, but Elizabeth accuses Mary of having violated her marriage and participated in the murder of her husband. Goaded to fury, Mary publicly insults Elizabeth, denouncing her as the illegitimate bastard of Anne Boleyn, thus sealing her doom.
At Westminster, Elizabeth finally signs Mary’s death warrant. When Leicester begs her to spare Mary’s life, Elizabeth tells him he must witness the execution.

Mary, still a devout Catholic, refuses Cecil’s offer of an Anglican minister. Talbot comforts her. She tells her supporters that she is happy to return to God’s embrace. Three cannon shots signal her execution; Mary Stuart forgives Elizabeth, bids farewell to those she loves, and calmly ascends to the scaffold.


Mary Stuart (1542-1587) lived during a particularly bloody period in European history. In France, fighting between Catholics and Protestant Huguenots culminated in the ghastly St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre of 1572. The Spanish Inquisition did its utmost to quell freedom-fighters in the Netherlands. And in England, the courts of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I were rife with religious strife, assassination plots, and be-headings.

Mary Stuart was born to be a thorn in the side of Elizabeth of England. Traditionally, England was enemies with her neighbors, Scotland and France: Mary became Queen of Scots when she was about a week old (upon the death of her father), and from age 6 she was raised in France and married to its young king. Elizabeth was Protestant, and exerted brilliant diplomacy throughout her reign to keep the peace between England’s Catholics, Anglicans, and Puritans. Mary, by contrast, was Catholic through and through. And whereas Elizabeth never married, Mary married three times. The most important men in Mary’s life were:

In the CW’s Reign, Adelaide Kane and Toby Regbo play Mary Start and her first husband

François II of France – When she was 16 Mary wed this son of Catherine de Medici, who had been raised as her brother. He died two years later, whereupon she returned to Scotland.
John Knox – Founder of the Scottish Presbyterian church, friend of John Calvin, and wildly misogynistic preacher who opposed the entire concept of female monarchs. Not a fan of either Elizabeth or Mary, but he was Scottish, so Mary received the bulk of his hatred.
Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley – For her second husband—king consort of Scotland until he was assassinated in 1567—Mary took a cute, dim, ultimately useless young Tudor cousin. (They call him ‘Arrigo’ in the opera.)
David Rizzio – A Italian (and thus Catholic) musician with whom Mary became besotted; she made him her party planner, companion, secretary, and advisor. Darnley, who suspected Rizzio was Mary’s lover, participated in his assassination.
James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell – A sturdy soldier, promoted by Mary to Lieutenant of the Border and Lord Admiral. Said to have plotted Darnley’s assassination with Mary. Bothwell (briefly) became Mary’s third husband but their marriage was rejected by both Catholics and Protestants.
Anthony Babington – A rich young English Catholic hothead who organized an attempted assassination of Elizabeth in 1586. Mary’s awareness of Babington’s plot led directly to her execution.
James I – Mary’s son, either by Darnley or by Rizzio, became James VI of Scotland, and, upon the death of Elizabeth in 1603, he united the thrones of England and Scotland and became James I, the first Stuart king of England. His profile:  Protestant, gay, and obsessed with witches.


Opera is not the world’s best medium for telling accurate stories about politics. Operas are measured by how much drama and emotion they deliver. Real history and politics are often too complicated, and full of intrigue, shades of gray, and characters who say one thing while thinking another, to adapt easily into strong operas. But that’s never stopped the world’s great opera composers. Operas inspired by—but not faithful to—European history were all the rage in Donizetti’s day. And given the Catholic Italians’ complicated feelings about England’s Protestant Queen Elizabeth I, a plethora of operas dramatized different moments from her life.

Mary Stuart

Several of Donizetti’s serious operas concern Elizabeth. Kenilworth Castle (1829, about Elizabeth and Leicester) and Anna Bolena (1830, about Elizabeth’s parents) preceded Mary Stuart (1834); later, Donizetti wrote Roberto Devereux (1837, about the Earl of Essex, a favorite courtier of Elizabeth’s whom she eventually executed). These operas do not form a sequence of any kind—they were written independently of each other, most of them based on popular plays or other operas. Donizetti’s Mary Stuart is founded on a wonderful play by the distinguished German writer Friedrich Schiller, whose Mary Stuart is still given by theater companies all over the world.

Schiller was responsible for turning the complicated history of Mary Stuart into an effective work of theater. He invented the powerful scene in which Elizabeth visits Mary while under house arrest at Fotheringay. (In real life, Elizabeth and Mary never actually met.) For Donizetti’s opera, Schiller’s extensive cast list was compressed to just six characters, with Leicester, a fascinating historical character, flattened into a typical romantic tenor part. The result is that all psychological interest is focused on Elizabeth and Mary, two well-known, endlessly intriguing figures. Donizetti’s heroine is true to Mary’s personality, as described by historian Will Durant: “She had not the masculine intelligence of Elizabeth…she would let go with hot temper and sharp tongue. She was cursed with beauty, unblessed with brains; and her character was her fate.”


Mary Stuart (Beverly Sills) cursing Elizabeth in Act I

The road to Mary Stuart was rocky indeed. Donizetti was motivated to write this opera after seeing Schiller’s play, but his favorite librettist, Felice Romani, was getting out of the business. So Donizetti had a libretto prepared by an inexperienced seventeen year-old, who never wrote another libretto. The opera was to have its premiere in Naples, but it never happened.  Accoring to certain accounts during one rehearsal, the scene in which Mary calls Elizabeth a “vile bastard”’ so inflamed the passions of the two singers they started fighting savagely with each other and the rehearsal had to be canceled. At another rehearsal (so goes the story) Queen Maria Christina of Naples, herself a descendent of Mary Stuart, fainted, whereupon her husband the king banned the opera. (Someone adapted Donizetti’s music for a different libretto and they presented an opera called Buondelmonte, using the same sets. It was a disaster.)

The following year Donizetti managed to get Mary Stuart performed up in Milan (with some judicious edits), starring the famous singer Maria Malibran. There were a few more performances over the next two decades, but Mary Stuart would have disappeared, as did so many of Donizetti’s operas, were it not for the bel canto revival of the mid-20th century. In the 1970s, Joan Sutherland and Beverly Sills both made great successes with Mary Stuart, and since then a number of sopranos and mezzos have made a case for Donizetti’s quarreling queens.


Gaetano Donizetti was born in 1797 to a poor family in Bergamo, in Austrian-controlled northern Italy near the Swiss Alps. Although no one in the family had previously shown any musical aptitude, young Gaetano was to become one of Italy’s most important composers—and his brother (who relocated to Istanbul) became chief of music to the armies of the failing Ottoman Empire.

Gaetano Donizetti

When Donizetti displayed phenomenal keyboard skills at an early age, a local composer took him on as a pupil. Curiously, the man who would write some of the most lyrical, singable music in all opera was himself a terrible singer. Donizetti’s mentor set him up with his first opera commission, a comedy for an opera house in Venice. But just as his career in opera was getting going, Donizetti came of age to be drafted into the Austrian army. A wealthy lady from Donizetti’s hometown came to the composer’s rescue and paid to exempt him from entering the army.

For the next 20 years, Donizetti would scurry back and forth across Italy, writing 80-some operas for all the important theaters. He and another composer, a younger man named Vincenzo Bellini, were life-long rivals, each hoping to succeed Gioachino Rossini as Italy’s leading opera composer—until Bellini died young. Donizetti was a skilled craftsman and a hard-nosed, practical man of the theater. Although he took a great deal of care to get his libretti perfect, he was known to reuse music from his old operas when composing new ones. He believed an opera was something that happened on a stage in front of an audience, not something that existed on paper. As a result, he tended to rewrite his operas extensively when he toured them to different cities, based on the abilities of the singers who had gathered for a given production. Many of Donizetti’s greatest successes came in Naples, where the opera industry had been booming for hundreds of years. While producing an opera in Rome, Donizetti met Virginia Vasselli, who later became his wife.

Donizetti wrote both comic and tragic operas, as was typical in his day. Famed for infusing his comedies with a touch of pathos or momentary seriousness, Donizetti wrote (among others) three comedies—The Elixir of Love and Don Pasquale, in addition to The Daughter of the Regiment—which remain staples of the opera repertory. His masterpiece, Lucia di Lammermoor, rapidly became the most popular opera of its day.

In his late 30s, Donizetti was the undisputed king of the Italian opera scene, and as such began venturing abroad to conquer foreign opera houses. In Paris, he was a great success at each of the different theaters that were creating opera. A few years later, Donizetti conquered an opera house in Vienna. For a short period in the early 1840’s, he was the most important composer in Europe.

Donizetti was an agreeable, pleasant man who went through a great deal of personal tragedy. His parents died within a week of each other, and his wife died of cholera shortly thereafter. Donizetti himself began losing his mind in 1845, and before long it became clear that he had syphilis. His children had all died, so a nephew looked after him during his few remaining years—a period in which he could barely carry on a conversation, much less continue to compose. He died in his hometown of Bergamo in 1848.


Mary Stuart is a bel canto tragedy. What’s bel canto? The words are easy—”beautiful singing”—but their sense can be misleading. One would hope that all operas involve beautiful singing; what’s so special about bel canto operas? We use the term to refer to the operas of Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, and their contemporaries, although it can refer to any opera where the most important element is the voice of the singer. Yes, there’s a story, yes, there’s an orchestra, yes, the visuals are attractive; but it’s really all about the singer’s voice and the crazy, serene, terrifying, and beautiful sounds it makes—sometimes clear and simple, like a songbird; sometimes wild and furious, like a blizzard; and in every number, bursts of vocal fireworks. Donizetti and his colleagues tailored their music for specific performers, since they believed that the most important element of opera was the singer. They also developed traditional musical structures that streamlined the process of creating new operas—important in an industry as frantically busy as today’s film industry—and ensured an attentive audience.

Mary Stuart at Minnesota Opera

Since plot was of secondary importance to the audiences of bel canto operas, the composers used a special kind of music—known as recitative—when moving from one moment in the story to the next. Recitative is midway between singing and talking, and tends to be less tuneful, more declamatory. In Mary Stuart, the brief, taut recitatives may remind you of quick-moving spoken drama. Music that is not recitative is either an aria (if it features only one singer) or an ensemble (if several performers are showcased). The words for this kind of music don’t advance the plot so much as reflect on the emotions that the events of that plot have caused the characters to feel.

Furthermore, bel canto composers liked to divide their arias and ensembles in two. So here are some more musical terms for you: in an aria (or scena, if it’s especially big and grandiose) there are two parts, the cavatina and then the cabaletta. In the cavatina, the emotion tends to be relaxed: dreamy or sad or hopeful or whatever. Then, in the recitative separating cavatina from cabaletta, something happens in the story to change the singer’s mood. The character discovers the key to the prison where her sweetheart has been wasting away, or he decides he truly loves his girlfriend even though he was mad at her in the first half, or a messenger runs in and tells the character that his mother is about to be executed. This change in mood gives the character cause to sing the cabaletta, usually a much more vigorous number than the cavatina, in which the character expresses ecstasy or fury or terror or…well, you get the idea.

Like all bel canto prima donnas, the soprano playing Mary Stuart first appears in the opera’s second scene, when she sings the traditional scena, or double aria:

  • Cavatina: She tells her friend Anna about her happy childhood in France.
  • Cabaletta: Having heard the approach of Queen Elizabeth, she worries whether she has the strength to face her rival.

Now, if we’re composing an ensemble (a duet, or trio, or quartet, or—as Donizetti did in Mary Stuart—a magnificent sextet), we use the same two halves, only we call them not cavatina and cabaletta but primo tempo and stretta. First our lovers are fighting, then they make up and sing of their agreement. Or, first they are happy to be together, then something comes up and they must part—and they sing about how difficult it is to do so. The idea is, when aria alternates with ensemble, cavatina with cabaletta, primo tempo with stretta—all of them separated by recitative—the audience is continuously interested in ever-changing music full of contrasts.

A word on the role of the chorus: all bel canto operas open with a chorus, whose members also frequently chime in during scenas and big ensembles. Bel canto operas often climax in a gargantuan ensemble, called the concertante, in which everybody onstage—all the characters and the entire chorus—sing at the same time, all singing different melodies and different words

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Arts & Culture Alliance Announces Arts Build Communities Grants

(08/17/2016/Knoxville) – The Arts & Culture Alliance of Greater Knoxville is pleased to announce awards of 27 Arts Build Communities (ABC) grants for art projects from non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations located within the following nine East Tennessee counties: Anderson, Blount, Campbell, Knox, Loudon, Monroe, Morgan, Roane and Sevier. Tax-exempt, non-profit, private educational institutions, entities of government (such as Parks and Recreation, public libraries, public schools), and colleges and universities were eligible to apply. The ABC grant program is designed to provide support for arts projects that broaden access to arts experiences, address community quality of life issues through the arts, or enhance the sustainability of asset-based cultural enterprises, and these grants benefit an estimated 130,000 people each year. The Alliance sub-grants the funds through an open competitive grant process, which took place on August 10. Panelists included: Margo Clark, Hank Dye, Mary Kennedy Hendershot, Mike Hill, and Michael Torano.

The following organizations will receive a total of $45,540 in ABC grants for these projects in 2016-2017:
+ Anderson County: Appalachian Arts Craft Center for “Make It and Take It Booth”
+ Anderson County: Sundress Publications for “SAFTA Residency Fellowship Expansion”
+ Blount County: Appalachian Ballet Company for “The Little Mermaid”
+ Blount County: Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center for “Holiday Homecoming”
+ Blount County: Townsend Artisan Guild for “Smoky Mountain Fiber Arts Festival”
+ Campbell County: Campbell Culture Coalition for “Youth Arts Outreach Project: Bridging Generations”
+ Knox County: The Bijou Theatre for “Bijou Awards”
+ Knox County: Cancer Support Community for “Healing Through Art”
+ Knox County: Circle Modern Dance for “Modern Dance Primitive Light”
+ Knox County: East Tennessee Historical Society for “East Tennessee History Fair”
+ Knox County: East Tennessee Foundation / Grist Literary Journal for “The Painted Page: A Tennessee Ekphrasis Project”
+ Knox County: Fountain City Art Center for “Summer Art Camp”
+ Knox County: Legacy Parks Foundation / RiverHill Gateway Neighborhood Association for “’ki-net-ik’ Art in Motion”
+ Knox County: Momentum Dance Lab for “Fall Performance”
+ Knox County: Own the Boards for “Poetry-Slam Program for Knox-Area Teens”
+ Knox County: Pellissippi State Foundation for “Young Creative Writer’s Workshop”
+ Knox County: Sunshine Ambassadors for “Annual Performance Project”
+ Knox County: Tennessee Stage Company for “New Play Festival”
+ Knox County: Theatre Knoxville Downtown for “Remembering the Heroes of 9/11”
+ Knox County: The University of Tennessee / Clarence Brown Theatre for “The Crucible”
+ Knox County: The WordPlayers for “A Woman Called Truth”
+ Loudon County: Tennessee Wind Symphony for “Community Spotlight Concerts”
+ Monroe County: Monroe Area Council for the Arts for “Missoula Children’s Theatre”
+ Monroe County: Sequoyah Birthplace Museum for “Cherokee & Appalachian Arts Series”
+ Morgan County: Princess Theatre Foundation / Roane State Community College for “Greater Roane County Youth Theatre Arts Camp”
+ Roane County: Roane Choral Society for “From Stage and Screen”
+ Sevier County: Sevier Co. Public Library/Friends of the Library for “Hip Hop, Book Drop, Grooving @ Your Library”

The Arts Build Communities (ABC) grant program is funded through specialty license plate sales and administered in cooperation with the Tennessee Arts Commission and the Arts & Culture Alliance of Greater Knoxville. The short-term objective of this grant is to create decentralized decision-making and distribution process for allocated grant funds. The long-term objective is to build Tennessee’s communities by nurturing artists, arts organizations (including local arts agencies), and arts supporters in each of its 95 counties. For more information, visit

About the Arts & Culture Alliance
The Arts & Culture Alliance serves and supports a diverse community of artists, arts organizations, and cultural institutions. The Alliance receives financial support from the Tennessee Arts Commission.

Contact: Suzanne Cada
PO Box 2506
Knoxville, TN 37901
(865) 523-7543

# # #


Knoxville Opera is accepting applications for the position of Executive Assistant effective immediately.  The company is entering its 39th Season with a track record of 11 consecutive years of debt-free operations and a healthy Operating Reserve. Annually, Knoxville Opera presents three main stage operas, usually at the Tennessee Theatre, and 85-100 Education/Outreach programs, including the Rossini Festival International Street Fair, Knoxville Opera Goes to Church, African-American Voices Series, Opera 101, and a staged in-school opera production. Further information is available on the company’s website:

The successful candidate will have a proven track record and passion for detailed organization, multi-tasking, computer skills, excellent writing and grammar skills, and a positive approach to working with a small staff in a high-energy, often time-pressured environment.  The position also requires mastering KO’s ticketing software and data bases. A background that includes music performance is a plus, but not required. The position reports directly to and works on a constant basis with Executive Director/Conductor Brian Salesky.

This is a full-time salaried position with optional health and life insurance benefits. Working evenings and weekends is sometimes required during special projects and production periods.

To apply, please mail or email cover letter and detailed work resume to:
Brian Salesky
Knoxville Opera
612 East Depot Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37917


Students and faculty throughout Knoxville experience the magic of Hansel and Gretel from January 14 through February 1!

It’s our favorite time of year here at Knoxville Opera! Today marks the beginning of our In-School Performances which are a part of our extensive Education/Outreach Programs. This is our fifth year performing an opera in schools. The beauty of this outreach program is that the students and faculty will enjoy an abbreviated version of a full-length opera performed in English. (The performance is even staged and costumed!) This year, we are performing Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel for 26 schools, libraries, and clubs throughout Knoxville… and beyond. We were so well received last year,that we will once again be performing at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, TN. This Liberal Arts college will enjoy not just one, but TWO performances of Hansel and Gretel on January 22, 2016. (For a complete list of our in-school performances this season, click HERE.) Each performance ends with a “Question and Answers” session where students have an opportunity to interact with the artists. Every student (8,000+ in all) is given a take-home invitation to attend our FREE-ADMISSION Student Dress Rehearsal of Hansel and Gretel on February 24 at 6:30 pm in the Tennessee Theatre.

In addition to the Hansel and Gretel in-school performances, our Education/Outreach Program includes several Opera 101 Performances and our popular African American Voices Series which will also be performed in schools. Our entire calendar of Education/Outreach events can be found HERE.

Tennessee General Assembly Adjourns Until 2016 Omnibus License Plate Bill Passed

The first session of the two year 109th General Assembly closed on Wednesday, April 22nd.

Lawmakers finished their business and headed home after only expending 28 legislative days of the total 90 legislative days allowed in any two-year General Assembly. Remember, a legislative day is counted as a day when the members are working in either the House or Senate Chamber. Days when only Committees are meeting and no Floor Session is held are not counted as an official Legislative Day.

The formula for New Specialty License Plates was again protected by our many champions and the Omnibus bill which contains all newly proposed plates and extensions for reaching the necessary threshold of 1,000 pre-sold plates required to go into production.
Thanks to TFTA’s ongoing advocacy efforts and the continued support of the General Assembly’s Arts Caucus, the Omnibus License Plate bill passed unanimously in the Senate and with only one dissenting vote in the House.

In other Legislative action our friends at the Tennessee State Museum were awarded a nod towards the building of a new State Museum after the Governor included a one-time $120 million in his supplemental budget amendment.

Now is the time to thank our supporters in the General Assembly and continue our efforts to build and strengthen our relationships. Don’t forget to include your elected officials in activities throughout the summer months and into next fall!

The National Endowment For The Arts Awards $1,072,700 For Art Projects In Tennessee

By: Suzanne Lynch, Director of Marketing and Development

In the second major grant announcement of fiscal year 2015, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) will make awards to 15 nonprofit art and design organizations in Tennessee totaling $1,072,700. This includes $767,700 awarded through a state partnership agreement with the Tennessee Arts Commission for programs that move communities forward through the arts.

NEA Chairman Jane Chu said, “The NEA is committed to advancing learning, fueling creativity, and celebrating the arts in cities and towns across the United States, including in Tennessee. Funding these new projects represents a significant investment in local communities and the creative vitality of Tennessee.”

“These grant dollars will help the arts to invest in communities across the state. Arts and culture in Tennessee contributes to a vibrant place to live, work and raise a family by enhancing community cohesion and pride, increasing public health and safety, and celebrating essential values that make us who we are as Tennesseans,” says Anne B. Pope, Executive Director of the Tennessee Arts Commission.

The following received funding for FY16: Tennessee Arts Commission, Statewide: $767,700

  • ArtsBuild, Chattanooga, TN: $10,000
  • Gateway Chamber Orchestra, Clarksville, TN: $10,000
  • Cumberland County Playhouse, Inc., Crossville, TN: $10,000
  • Lincoln Memorial University, Harrogate, TN: $10,000
  • Knox County, Tennessee, Knoxville, TN: $10,000
  • Country Music Foundation, Inc., Nashville, TN: $35,000
  • Frist Center for the Visual Arts Inc., Nashville, TN: $30,000
  • Humanities Tennessee, Nashville, TN: $30,000
  • Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, Nashville, TN: $100,000
  • Nashville Academy Theatre & Nashville Children’s Theatre Assoc., Nashville, TN: $10,000
  • Nashville Ballet, Nashville, TN: $15,000
  • Nashville Repertory Theatre, Inc., Nashville, TN: $10,000
  • Nashville Shakespeare Festival, Nashville, TN: $15,000
  • Salama Urban Ministries, Inc., Nashville, TN: $10,000


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Tennesseans for the Arts presents a strong, unified voice in support of artists, arts educators, arts organizations and friends and supporters of the arts throughout Tennessee and helps protect funding for the arts by working with local and state lawmakers – and as our membership grows, so does our influence with policymakers.

Your membership strengthens the voice for the arts in Tennessee and is vital to our continued success.