Community Arts in Action
Arts in McNairy was founded in 2001 on the principle that participation in the arts is a cornerstone for the development of a healthy community. Over the past 20 years, AiM has demonstrated this principle through arts programs, concerts, performances, cultural festivals, workshops, public art installations, exhibits and an in-depth exploration of McNairy County's creative traditions. The organization has been recognized at the local, state, and national level for excellence in rural arts development and planning. Simply stated, we aspire to connect local creatives to the larger community where their gifts may be shared and appreciated. Join us today!
Passionate About Our Place
At Arts in McNairy, we endeavor to foster a strong sense of place. We love McNairy County and rural Tennessee. Our programming is intended respectfully build creative community, strengthen our local artistic resources, preserve and promote our creative traditions, and engender a strong sense of place for locals and visitors alike. Our home, the Latta, is a beautiful, historic building with a rich history as a cultural space and music venue!
An Umbrella Arts Agency
Arts in McNairy is a theater, an art gallery, a publishing house, a community history and heritage center, and more! Unlike single discipline arts agencies, Arts in McNairy began with a vision to foster an atmosphere of creativity in rural McNairy County, Tennessee, in which artists across all disciplines might collaborate, thrive and transform their community.
A Group of Active Volunteers
Arts in McNairy is directed by a board comprised 100% of active volunteers. It is a working board that oversees a number of different committees engaged in a broad spectrum of creative activities rooted in our community. Every committee is chaired by a board member ensuring AiM's values and mission are carried out across the full scope of the organization, but volunteerism only begins with our board. AiM program committees mobilize hundreds of volunteers each year in service of community arts programs.
The ideas which became Arts in McNairy were born during a series of informal discussions and public meetings about the need for improved arts programming in rural McNairy County, Tennessee. By 2001, a set of bylaws had been adopted and a twelve member board of directors appointed. For five years, the organization thrived on community support launching an acclaimed community theater program which drew regional casts, crew members and audiences. A popular summer concert series was staged at the newly constructed Selmer City Park Stage bringing touring groups in every genre of music to the area. Local children enjoyed a summer art camp and benefited from cooperative efforts with local schools to introduce diverse new art forms into the lives of local students through joint presentations and an innovative after-school program. Literary events like the ground breaking Fiction and a Flick Club and the Southern Fried Poetry Contest found enthusiastic participants of all ages throughout the community. Local visual artists were engaged in individual and group showings as well as an annual photography contest drawing hundreds of entries from surrounding states. AiM was off and running.
By 2006, Arts in McNairy had obtained 501(c)(3) status and was becoming more familiar in regional and state arts circles. That was also the year AiM leadership held an important planning session to review past successes and failures in an attempt to better serve the community. While the victories were many, it was deeply felt that a statement in the bylaws, codifying the organization's commitment to preserve and promote the cultural strengths of McNairy County, had not been honored. AiM became one of the first small, rural arts groups in the state to implement a community-wide cultural assessment and action plan, which would open doors to many new constituents and dramatically shape the organization's future. The organization continued to improve existing arts offerings but added traditional arts, fine craft and culinary committee to address the needs of those practicing local food traditions and other folkways. Multiple programs, projects and festivals have since been developed or improved to enhance this important facet of AiM's mission. AiM's enhanced focus on traditional arts was featured in a segment of Creative License, on Tennessee Public Television.