Tennessee Arts Commission seeks Traditional Arts Specialist

The Tennessee Arts Commission seeks a fulltime Traditional Arts Specialist. Under the supervision of the Director of Folklife, this position works to cultivate the arts for the benefit of all Tennesseans with a focus on sustaining and documenting Tennessee’s multiple heritages and traditional art forms. Specifically, the position manages grants, programming, research, and special projects associated with traditional artists and organizations, traditional material cultural practices, cultural sustainability, and arts infrastructure development.


  • Collaborates in agency work to identify, document and sustain Tennessee’s multiple heritages and traditional art forms through outreach and fieldwork, cultivating relationships with traditional artists and organizations, developing arts infrastructure and strategic partnerships, and program planning, budgeting, reporting, and evaluation
  • Manages grants to arts organizations, non-arts organizations, individuals, and group artists producing traditional arts projects and apprenticeships, and participates in agency-wide grants allocation and management duties
  • Provides content advice and technical assistance to organizations, traditional artists, researchers, and communities creating traditional arts programs, festivals, concerts, heritage tourism activities, exhibits, publications, and related projects
  • Generates public support for traditional arts through facilitation of workshops, meetings, conferences, as well as through online, audio, video, multimedia, written and other communications content
  • Represents the Commission at local, state, regional, and national meetings
  • Acts creatively as part of the Commission team to identify and implement strategies to further the cultivation of the arts for the benefit of all Tennesseans

Skills and Knowledge Required

  • Has a broad base of knowledge in the field of Folklore. Expertise and experience with traditional cultural communities and art forms based in the Southeastern United States and Tennessee, in particular, is desired
  • Master’s Degree in Folklore or a related field and significant professional experience in public folklore work (traditional arts programming, fieldwork documentation and cultural surveys, artist assistance, heritage tourism development, and related arts administration or non-profit management) is desired. Bachelor’s Degree and 3 years’ experience in arts administration and/or nonprofit management required. Pertinent graduate coursework may substitute for required experience up to 2 years
  • Specialized knowledge in the study and practice of traditional material culture is desired
  • Fieldwork skills and experience in photography, audio recording, and media production and archiving are desired
  • Experience with grants and budget management, traditional arts apprenticeship programs, and community scholars programs is desired
  • Understanding of state and national policy and research trends in the traditional arts and folklife, professional development for artists, and nonprofit management
  • Exceptional organizational skills, attention to detail, and oral and written communication skills
  • Spanish speaking proficiency is preferred
  • Ability to work independently, manage multiple priorities and complete projects successfully
  • Licensed to operate a motor vehicle and available for travel
  • Knowledge and ability to utilize office equipment and software including Microsoft Office

Other: Salary based on experience. First step of range: $38,460. Works in non-smoking state office in downtown Nashville. To Apply: Email cover letter and resume to Applicant screening begins June 26, 2017.

Pursuant to State of Tennessee policy of nondiscrimination, no person on the ground of race, color, national origin, disability, age, religion or sex shall be excluded from participation in, or be denied benefits of, or otherwise be subject to discrimination of services, programs and employment provided by the Commission and its contracting agencies. Persons with disabilities who require special accommodations or an alternate communication format should so request.