Bonnaroo Works

Beth Thames, Tullahoma Art Center painting instructor, shows the room at the center that will be transformed into a pottery studio in February, thanks to a Bonnaroo Works Fund grant. The Tullahoma Art Center has been awarded $5,000 and is one of several local nonprofits that has received grants from the Bonnaroo Works Fund this year.

Several local nonprofits will expand their programs, thanks to receiving grants from the Bonnaroo Works Fund.

The recipients were announced last week. Among them are the Tullahoma Art Center, Tullahoma Parks and Recreation, Millennium Repertory Company and Highland Rim Habitat for Humanity.

Coffee County Central High School and the Coffee County Child Care Center will also see a boost in funding, thanks to Bonnaroo Works Fund.


Tullahoma Art Center

According to Beth Thames, painting instructor at the Art Center, this is not the first time the center has received the Bonnaroo grant.

This year, the center was awarded $5,000.

“The funds will be used to update and stock the downstairs classrooms and pottery studio with an emphasis on the after-school children’s program,” Thames said.

The classroom used for the after-school program will be stocked and ready to go for next year, said Thames. The money will provide the supplies necessary to do all updates, repairs and restocking necessary to enable this program to continue without the “week-to-week struggle” of securing funding for supplies and snacks for the participating children.

Additionally, there are two other rooms in the downstairs area that need fresh paint, new storage options and general maintenance.

Thames hopes to open a pottery studio at the center in February.  

The pottery studio needs a new kiln and the accessories needed to function for classes.

Thames said supporting the arts is important “for so many reasons and our community greatly benefits from programs like the after-school program.”

“This grant will ensure that we can continue our mission and help to engage our youth in a wide variety of offerings and activities.”



Parks and Recreation

The Tullahoma Parks and Recreation Department hosts an annual Earth Day Celebration with the goal to create a culture of environmental stewardship in the community, according to Tullahoma Alderman Robin Dunn, who heads the city’s Earth Celebration program.

This is the first time the program has received a Bonnaroo Works Fund grant, said Dunn.

“We received a grant of $5,000 from the Bonnaroo Works Fund to make this year’s event even better than last year,” Dunn said. “This funding will allow us better promote Earth Day to attract more visitors so that [the event] can become a standing tradition in our community.

“Our objective is to increase the public’s understanding of ‘all things green’ while having a good time. Folks can expect to celebrate with us at this family-friendly event in April.”

Supporting this initiative is growing more important by the day, as people are generating more waste than ever before, said Dunn. 

“We have to promote creative solutions to the problems that we have made,” Dunn said. “Earth Day is a celebration of this creativity as we re-evaluate how to be good stewards of this planet. We want to invite people to come and see how they can take small steps to do the right thing in their own homes.”

Visitors of the upcoming Earth Day event can expect 30 Earth-friendly vendors, live music, organic food and children’s activities.

“We expect 2,500 visitors to be educated about environmental sustainability in a family-friendly environment,” Dunn said.


Millennium Rep

The goal of Millennium Repertory Company (MRC) is to expand arts opportunities to area teenagers.

The grant will allow the program to do that with free monthly Saturday workshops in theater and performing arts, weekend play festivals and informal open mic nights.

The goal is to reach the many teens who have grown up exposed only to athletics and video games as activities, and open new horizons for them, according to MRC Managing Director Joel Longstreth.

MRC was awarded $3,300 this year.

This is not the first time the organization has received a Bonnaroo Works grant. It 2016, MRC received $2,500.

Longstreth said supporting the arts can enrich a community.

“The arts represent the soul of a culture or community,” he said. “Organizations such as Millennium Repertory Company provide children and young adults a place to explore and expand their world views and to learn skills of confidence and independence through teamwork and public speech, while allowing adults to rediscover the freedom in expression and the power of the human connection.”


Habitat for Humanity

Highland Rim Habitat for Humanity helps families build and improve homes in Coffee and Franklin counties.

“We have been notified to receive $5,000,” said President Terrie Quick. “The monies received will either be used to help develop a playground area for the youth on Rotary Drive in Winchester or will be placed into a ‘build account’ established for our next new house build.”

Habitat for Humanity is an international non-profit organization that assists “hard-working people gain decent, affordable housing,” added Quick.

A part of Habitat for Humanity International, which has more than 2,300 affiliates worldwide, the local organization has helped people become homeowners since 1992.

To fulfill its mission of building homes for low-income families, the nonprofit partners with volunteers.


Coffee County Child Care Center

The child care center in Manchester will use the funds to improve the playgrounds for the children by installing rubber interlocking tiles.

By creating music and art centers, the child care center would be promoting the arts. Adding new and updated toys would also allow more creative thinking and imaginative play.


About Bonnaroo Works Fund

Bonnaroo Works Fund (BWF) is the charitable arm of Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. This year, BWF awarded $236,000 to 40 nonprofit organizations that spearhead Tennessee-based initiatives that support the fund’s mission of advancing arts, education and environmental causes.

The Bonnaroo Works Fund is a nonprofit organization that supports organizations advancing the arts, education and environmental sustainability, with a focus on local reinvestment and asset building in the communities.

Since the inception of the festival, Bonnaroo and the BWF have awarded more than $7 million in funding to deserving organizations.

The BWF is a joint effort between Bonnaroo organizers and attendees, with a portion of ticket sales allocated to the BWF. In addition, proceeds from festival activities, such as the Silent Auction, Root for Roo, the Bonnaroo 5K Run, and the Les Paul Spirit Awards all benefit the Bonnaroo Works Fund and, in turn, its grant recipients.


Full list of recipients

Artist Residency Chattanooga; Backfield in Motion; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee; Big Ears Festival; Bijou Theatre Center; Coffee County Central High School; Coffee County Child Care Center; Communities In Schools of Tennessee; Free for Life International; Friends of the Hendersonville Arts Council; Friends of the Warner Parks, Inc.; Frist Center for the Visual Arts; Global Education Center; Habitat for Humanity of Rutherford County; Harpeth Conservancy; Highland Rim Habitat for Humanity; Historic Tennessee Theatre Foundation; Humanities Tennessee; Joy of Music School; Land Trust for Tennessee; Life Under the Wheel, Inc.; Lutheran Services in Tennessee Inc.; Main Street McMinnville; Millennium Repertory Company; Musicians on Call; Nashville Ballet; Nashville Children’s Theatre; National Museum of African American Music; Notes for Notes, Inc.; Project C.A.M.P., Inc. (The Center for Courageous Kids); Rocketown of Middle Tennessee, Inc.; Tennessee Environmental Council; Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation; The Conservancy for the Parthenon and Centennial Park; The Nashville Food Project, Inc.; Tullahoma Fine Arts Center; Tullahoma Parks and Recreation; Upper Cumberland Broadcast Council/WCTE-TV; VH1 Save The Music Foundation.

Elena Cawley can be reached via email at