Knoxville has no shortage of art and culture festivals in the area.
The Dogwood Festival, HOLA Festival and First Friday are only a few. These festivals are all part of a special organization, the Arts and Culture Alliance of Greater Knoxville.
According to the Alliance's website, the organization stands out to promote these events to the community by centralizing the knowledge of the many organizations that exist to express art in the Knoxville community. Members are able to connect with the community through advocacy activities and meet public officials. These connections support the importance of the arts community in Knoxville, according to Suzanne Cada, deputy director of the Alliance.
"Instead of performing in arts, I wanted to serve the field by supporting other artists and what they're doing," Cada said. "We're working to protect culture – not just art, but also history. I worked for this organization after I graduated [with my MFA] and wanted to do everything I could so that other people can continue enjoying the arts."
Founded in 2001, the Alliance replaced the Arts Council of Greater Knoxville. The Alliance hopes to unite and represent the arts and culture community to every facet of the community such as public officials, the private sector and media.
The Arts and Culture Alliance is a unique arts service organization to the Knoxville community because it is the only one of its kind to connect its artists and organization to other artists, organizations and supporters. Most of the individual members are visual artists. There are currently 350 members.
Cada said she got involved in the organization after growing up surrounded by art and music.
"I've always been a part of arts, ever since I was young," Cada said. "My parents took me to see performances, and I played piano, flute and tuba."
In 2012, the Arts and Culture Alliance received a $23,200 grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission. The Alliance redistributes this money to members, according to the website.
"I think it would be beneficial so that you can have that community and see what's going on," said Josie Henry, senior in graphic design.
Cultural organizations have a wide range from the University's Clarence Brown Theatre to Historic Homes of Knoxville. More than 100 organizations are listed on its website.
Artists and organizations hear of commission opportunities through its individual newsletters. Members also enjoy the benefit of assistance with contacts to help members with marketing.
Some perks of membership include professional development seminars, classes and monthly series featuring member artists. The Arts and Culture Alliance of Greater Knoxville extends membership to artists, cultural organizations and civilians who want to promote the future of East Tennessee.
Penny4Arts is an example of educational art organization. It intends for every child in Knox County to gain an opportunity to attend arts and culture events and activities for one penny so long as they are accompanied by an adult.
Arts funding has declined since March; sequestration reduced the National Endowment for the Arts from $147 million to $7.3 million. This pattern in art service organizations has been mimicked across the nation.
According to Cada, this makes what the Alliance does even more important.
"The Alliance creates an environment for support," Cada said. "The public gets excited about the arts and brings about more support."