State Sen. Steve Southerland, R-Morristown, and state Rep. Rick Eldridge, R-Morristown, have released a list of grant award recipients from the Tennessee Arts Commission for fiscal year 2019-2020.

This is the first of a series of grants that will be made throughout the fiscal year, which starts June 1.

These recipients include:

• Encore Theatrical Company (Rural Arts Project Support) $6,120

• Rose Center Council for the Arts (Partnership support) $21,580

• Rose Center Council for the Arts (Arts Build Communities Designated Agency) $11,280

• Walters State Community College (Rural Arts Project Support) $1,000

The total amount of the grants is $39,980.

“We are very pleased to announce these investments in arts programming for Tennessee’s communities and schools,” Southerland said.

Eldridge agreed.

“Across Tennessee we have seen the arts drive activity in and add value to communities including those located in our district, by promoting and increasing quality of life, economic development, tourism and education,” Eldridge said.

Both legislators agreed when the Tennessee Arts Commission hears from local communities statewide, that the arts are a vital tool for attraction and retention of businesses and creatives alike, they work diligently to ensure they get help to continue their outreach.

“Tennessee is fortunate to have elected leaders who understand the positive impact the arts and culture have on Tennesseans and their communities,” said Ann B. Pope, executive director for the Tennessee Arts Commission. “The arts are a vital tool to help build stronger communities by enhancing the distinctive character of Tennessee places.”