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Tennessee State University Department of Art and Design


Dr. Cynthia Gadsden

Art History


Lakesha Moore 

Art Education


Courtney Adair Johnson 

Gallery Director


We believe that students must have exposure to a broad range of studio experiences to develop first-hand knowledge of the creative process. The in-depth understanding that students acquire in the department, through authentic research compiled with historical study and critical analysis, develops the visual literacy necessary for successful artists, designers, and art teachers. In addition to the degree program, the department supports the cultural climate of the campus with a continuous program of exhibits and lectures in the Hiram van Gordon Gallery. 


Special thanks to the Dean of Liberal Arts Dr. Samantha Morgan-Curtis for supporting our vision to create an Art Writing Symposium along with Department Chair Kaleena Sales.

Thanks to John Burgher from the TSU IT Department for his assistance and support. 


Department of Languages, Literature, and Philosophy and their Chair Dr. Michelle Pinkard


Tennessee State University Department of LLP students explore creative aspects of language, literature and philosophy beyond the classroom.  They participate in events include publications, conferences, informal reading groups, spoken word events, public lectures, drama and film screenings. 


I Want to Write Initiative


I Want to Write is a new initiative in the LLP department to support creative writing, poetry and spoken word activities at TSU and beyond.  Through partnerships with local community organizations, area writers and poets, the department has started a series of exciting programs and workshops that explore the power of language in various mediums.  Ultimately, creativity in language makes for stronger writers and communicators; the power of language builds communities.


Number Inc.


Number: Inc, a non-profit, Memphis-based visual arts organization, provides coverage of the arts in Memphis and the South in order to support creatives in the region and foster dialogue about contemporary Southern cultural production. Published in print four times a year, Number: reports on art, people, and events shaping art in the South. In addition, Number: Inc fulfills its mission through digital publication on, an annual Art of the South exhibition, and Young Art Writers Project.


Mike Mitchell aka Mike Windy

Mt. Pleasant Schools Art Director 

Art Educator and Artist 



Nashville Scene

Nashville Scene is an alternative newsweekly in Nashville, Tennessee. 


Vanderbilt Press

Vanderbilt University Press extends the university's scholarly mission by publishing dynamic, well-researched books for a global audience of engaged readers.


Educators Cooperative


The Educators’ Cooperative is a professional learning community designed to support all educators in all sectors, disciplines, and stages in their career. Membership starts with a weeklong summer workshop where teachers join a cohort and learn best practices in teaching & learning, collaboration, and support. In the months and years that follow, member teachers have access to monthly meetings where teachers continue their collaboration and conversations, space online for sharing resources, participate in non-evaluative observation and feedback, continue to meet with their critical friends group, join book groups, record podcasts, and more!


Metro Arts


Metro Nashville Arts Commission or “Metro Arts” is the office of Arts & Culture for the city of Nashville and Davidson County. We believe that arts drive a more vibrant and equitable community. We strive to ensure that all Nashvillians have access to a creative life through community investments, artist and organizational training, public art, and direct programs that involve residents in all forms of arts and culture.



Music by Velvet Castlez, produced by Marlos E'van 

Song: Hussle Hearts


Maria Hamilton Abegunde


Omari Booker


Erica Ciccarone 

Nashville Scene Culture Editor


Ashley at Urbaanite


Tia Smedley


Bobbi Negrón


Supplies Needed for 

Art for Liberation

White paper

Drawing supplies (crayons, markers, pencils or pens)


Please send finished work to for the virtual art gallery. 


Thank you so much for joining us! 


Please submit FEEDBACK about the Symposium for a chance to win one of these five books from Vanderbilt Press.

Participants of the Art Writing Symposium can request a certificate showing participation for professional development hours that they complete (up to 6 hours) in the FEEDBACK form.

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