The editorial staff is happy to announce that Grist was awarded an Arts Build Communities grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission. Our grant-supported project, “The Painted Page: A Tennessee Ekphrasis Project,” will connect literary writers with visual artists and skilled craftspeople from East Tennessee and across the state, and showcase their work in Grist’s special, tenth anniversary issue, as well on its website and at public events sponsored by the journal.
As part of our ekphrasis project, Grist will commission Tennessee authors to create new literary work (including poems, fiction, and creative nonfiction) inspired by and responding to some of Tennessee’s most compelling contemporary visual art. The grant will also allow the journal to feature high-quality images of visual art in its pages for the first time. Assisting the journal with this project will be Locate Arts, a new nonprofit focused on Tennessee artists, as well as Bryan Baker and Sarah Shebaro, founders of Striped Light, a boutique letterpress shop and gallery space in north Knoxville. Both Bryan and Sarah are graduates of the printmaking program in the University of Tennessee School of Art.
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 a 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.
Since Grist was founded in 2007, it has steadily grown into its status as a nationally known, widely respected literary journal. Work from its pages has been anthologized in The Best American Essays, Best New Poets, and the Pushcart Prize anthology. Writers published by the journal have gone on to win major awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. “We see a tremendous opportunity for the journal to continue to grow and help attract high-caliber students to our department,” says Richard Hermes, current editor-in-chief. “We’re grateful for this support, which will allow our incredible, all-volunteer staff – including talented colleagues from the School of Art – to foster connections among literary and visual artists working in diverse genres here in Tennessee.”
Grist is honored to receive this Arts Build Communities grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission to facilitate new connections between Tennessee writers and artists. Thanks especially to the East Tennessee Foundation, whose partnership made this possible.