Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville

The Arts & Business Council leverages and unites the unique resources of the arts and business communities to create a thriving, sustainable creative culture in Greater Nashville.

Host Jeremy C. Park talks with Jill McMillan Palm, Executive Director of the Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville, who highlights their mission and efforts as a community and economic development nonprofit to leverage and unite the unique resources of the arts and business communities to creating a thriving, sustainable creative culture in Greater Nashville. During the interview, Jill discusses some of their programs, which include Volunteer Lawyers & Professionals for the Arts, Arts Board Matching, and Periscope. She also talks about some of the lessons learned and how the community can get involved, including their Nash Art Bash on October 1, 2021 and Arts Immersion in the spring.

Core Values/Key Messages: The Arts & Business Council is a community and economic development nonprofit. We are the hub for building more sustainable arts businesses and creative enterprises, keeping and making Nashville a great place to create and enjoy art. Investing in artists is central to the Arts & Business Council’s vision of a community where artists (of all genres – music, painting, dance, theatre, literary, fashion, culinary, etc.) are valued as critical assets to be engaged, supported, and empowered. A strong sector of creative businesses enhances the overall economic profile of the Greater Nashville area as studies show a thriving arts community 1) attracts businesses to Nashville, 2) makes for a happy, healthy population, and 3) creates strong, innovative solutions to complex social, business, and civic challenges. The Arts & Business Council is the only nonprofit that exists to cultivate this region’s creative community through arts service, business engagement, and cross-sector partnerships.


1) Volunteer Lawyers & Professionals for the Arts (VLPA) provides pro bono legal and business assistance to income-qualified artists and emerging nonprofit arts organizations of all disciplines. Clients must be based in Tennessee and have an arts-related question or issue. Primary legal services include drafting and reviewing contracts, protecting intellectual property with copyright and trademark, resolving arts related disputes, and nonprofit formation. Business volunteers with expertise in accounting, finance, information technology, and human resources provide consultation on best practices in those content areas.

2) Arts Board Matching promotes dynamic leadership in the arts by cultivating the skills needed for individuals to be effective, engaged board members, and making matches between business professionals seeking board membership and arts organizations in need of adept board members. Business participants gain extensive and diverse exposure to the arts industry, opportunities to network with arts organizations and other professionals across industries, and the chance to work in a visible role with other community leaders.

3) Periscope: Artist Entrepreneur Training is a year-long training opportunity that empowers pre-professional and professional artists to see their creative practice through an entrepreneurial lens. Through an intensive business development curriculum, small group work with peers, and one-on-one mentoring with a business expert, participants prepare to take their career to the next level. At the culminating event, Periscope Pitch, participants have the opportunity to present their business plans to the public and to win funding for their project.

4) Creative Exchange is an annual, day-long professional development conference tailored to artists and creative entrepreneurs of all genres, as well as arts administrators and organizations. The conference is designed to spark innovation, build social and professional networks across genres, address common challenges in the creative industries in Nashville, and inspire attendees to tackle those challenges head-on.

5) Education Seminars are provided in partnership with a variety of Nashville businesses and organizations with the goal of helping the creative community master the business of art and organizations master the art of business. Ranging from an hour to a half-day, these drop-in workshops and panel discussions cover topics of broad interest to the creative and business communities.

6) Fiscal Sponsorship acts as an incubator for the arts and provides structure for arts groups and individual artist projects that do not want (or are not ready) to become tax-exempt nonprofit organizations. The Arts & Business Council makes it possible for Tennessee-based arts groups to receive tax-deductible grants and donations through our nonprofit status, and offers additional management, administrative, and marketing support as the projects grow.

7) Creative Advantage enhances a business’s competitive advantage by providing artistic workshops that build a more engaged, innovative, and productive workforce via the purposeful melding of art and business. Through music, visual, and performing arts-based workshops, our facilitators engage employees in hands-on, creative experiences that teach tangible leadership skills for effective business growth. Attendees learn how to solve complex problems, collaborate with others, and improve communication across teams and the entire workplace.

8) Nash Art Bash, Arts Immersion, and other special events. Nash Art Bash is our fall fundraiser (October 1), Arts Immersion is our spring fundraiser in partnership with the Young Lawyers Division of the Nashville Bar Association (Spring 2022).

Ways to get involved: Lend your business expertise as a volunteer through VLPA (volunteer form on our website), support your company’s community involvement by having employees participate in Arts Board Matching (two cohorts, Fall and Spring), sponsor an education seminar if your company has expertise in a topic that creatives need to know, bring a Creative Advantage program to your workplace, invest in Nashville’s creative community by becoming a corporate member of the Arts & Business Council (some levels of membership offer complimentary participation in Arts Board Matching, comp tickets to special events, etc.)

Learn more:
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