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July 15, 2009

Arts Billboards Going Up Across Tennessee

Billboards promote arts education in state's schools

NASHVILLE - - Tennesseans cannot travel any distance without seeing the value of the arts. Billboards are beginning to appear across the state promoting arts education in Tennessee schools. Made possible through a partnership between the Tennessee Arts Commission (TAC), Tennesseans for the Arts (TFTA), and the Outdoor Advertising Association of Tennessee (OAAT), the billboards encourage Tennesseans to become involved in supporting the arts on our schools. Twenty-five billboards are being strategically placed in Knoxville, Chattanooga, Nashville, Memphis, Jackson, and the Tri-cities area, with more to be added.

“The billboards are being installed now and will be up for at least a year, with some rotating to different locations,” says Sameera Lowe, executive director of TFTA. “Working with the Outdoor Advertising Association of Tennessee, they are placing our billboards in high traffic areas. The bonus for doing this project at this time is the availability of billboard space due to the economic downturn. Companies are not selling space as they normally would, and they prefer to see the board space being utilized.”

The billboards are approximately 14’ x 48’ and made of vinyl so they can be moved and relocated to other areas. Graphic design was completed by Powell Creative of Nashville. “The value of this type of advertising exposure would run close to half a million dollars if we had to pay for this type of exposure,” adds Lowe.

“We are pleased to help promote this arts initiative across Tennessee,” said Barry Asmann, president of OAAT. “Our member companies all agree in giving back to every community in which we operate. Billboards are the most visual of all advertising mediums, so there is no better way to promote the arts. We look forward to our continued partnership with Tennesseans for the Arts and the Tennessee Arts Commission in 2009.”

The billboards are actually just part of the bigger picture. The Tennessee Arts Commission launched an ambitious public awareness campaign in 2008.  Based on the Commission’s five-year strategic plan, the campaign seeks to emphasize the value of the arts to all Tennesseans. The first step of the campaign included a new logo design, and the introduction of the Tennessee Advocacy Toolkit which provides practical ways to communicate the importance of the arts.

“The public awareness campaign focuses on arts education this year, and the billboards will send a very important message that the arts are important part of the education curriculum,” says Rich Boyd, executive director of the Tennessee Arts Commission. “The billboards will serve as a visual reminder to make the arts central to learning in Tennessee schools, and to encourage parents to demand them if school systems are not including them. The arts change lives.”

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