Marc Burnett’s talent and passion for painting is being recognized on a state level. Tennessee Tech’s vice president for student affairs and chief diversity officer has been named to the Tennessee Arts Commission as a representative of the 6th Congressional District.

“It’s quite an honor,” said Burnett. “I take art very seriously, so I really appreciate this opportunity.”

Burnett has been appointed to a five-year term to the commission that was created in 1967 by the Tennessee General Assembly with the special mandate to stimulate and encourage the presentation of the visual, literary, music, and performing arts and to encourage public interest in the cultural heritage of Tennessee.

Each year, the Commission helps fund the arts activities of more than 700 organizations and artists in Tennessee. Over the past five years, more than 6,450 grants totaling more than $30 million have been invested in communities across Tennessee.

“In the thorough, aggressive search for candidates, your individual characteristics and professional qualifications were exceptional among the number of nominees who expressed interest,” said Gov. Bill Lee in a letter to Burnett. “I consider it very important to ensure that Tennessee’s boards and commissions are filled with the most dedicated and qualified citizens. I believe your participation is certain to leave a positive impact on this board and the work it does.”

Burnett started out painting as a way to relieve stress while recovering from a serious car wreck. Because painting helped him, it inspired him to help others as well.

“To have the opportunity to help somebody else and maybe achieve what they want to artistically through grants, is a big responsibility,” said Burnett. “We have this opportunity to help people.”

From an artistic standpoint, Burnett has a lot going on. He has finished up a purple and gold sunset painting of Derryberry Hall, and is still diligently working on his Hannah’s Horizon project which was inspired by a 19-year-old basketball player from his hometown of Alcoa, who died of cancer. He has more than 100 pieces of completed works at his home and several more in the works.

“Maybe there are some budding artists out there whose art helps other people,” said Burnett. “I take this pretty serious by virtue of the art projects that I am involved in.”

For more information on the Tennessee Arts Commission, go to