Nicole Brandt Minyard – Founder, Executive Director

Nicole Brandt Minyard is the Founder and Executive Director of Poverty and the Arts (POVA). She is an entrepreneur, advocate, animal-lover, and social artist. Nicole graduated Magna Cum Laude from Belmont University in May 2014. During her sophomore year of college, she began programs for POVA, and as a Junior she began the steps to file for 501(c)3 nonprofit status. Her senior year of college, Nicole interned at the Arts and Business Council and under the art therapist at Room in the Inn. POVA received official 501(c)3 nonprofit status in July 2014 and has since received numerous grants and awards including the Nashville Scene's "2015 Best Up-and-Coming Nonprofit" award and funding from Metro Nashville Arts Commission, Tennessee Arts Commission, and St. George's Episcopal Church's $25,000 Social Enterprise grant. The organization has also been featured in a variety of local media outlets including The Tennessean, Nashville Arts Magazine, Lightning 100, and News Channel 5.

Nicole started building relationships with people impacted by homelessness her senior year of high school in 2009 in Louisville, Kentucky. She has always been inspired by the creativity of those living on the streets and hopes to find ways to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor. When she’s not dreaming and planning for Poverty and the Arts, Nicole likes traveling, Indian food, going on adventures with her husband Josh and their rescue dog Max, and listening to the stories in her community.



Carolina Smith – Assistant Director

Carolina Smith is the Assistant Director at Poverty and the Arts (POVA). She was the Communications Intern with POVA in spring 2017 and after continuing to volunteer when her internship ended, she transitioned into POVA’s first part-time Office Manager to help with bookkeeping, data-entry, administrative tasks, and communication to artists. As the organization continued to grow, she became POVA's Assistant Director to help with communication with the added staff and coordination of volunteers.

Carolina graduated from Belmont University with a Bachelors of Social Work and a minor in English Writing. She is also the Vendor Program Manager at the Contributor Street Newspaper and was previously a Shelter Manager at Safe Haven Family Shelter. She is passionate about having an impact on issues related to poverty and homelessness and is thankful to have the opportunity to do so through her work at POVA. In her free hours, Carolina can usually be found laughing at her friends and trying to make them laugh at her, listening to good music, eating Mexican food, sipping black coffee, finding new treasures at a thrift store, or reading under a tree.


Jackie Tingle – Program Coordinator

 Jackie Tingle is the Program Coordinator at Poverty and the Arts (POVA). She helps with creating artistic curriculum for our artists, managing artwork and merchandise inventory and sales, processing art supply requests, tracking our artists’ progress, and providing additional artist support. Jackie grew up in the Nashville area. She received a bachelor of fine arts in art education from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2007. Subsequently, she returned to Nashville where she taught visual art in local public schools for eight years. As a teacher she enjoyed the challenge of making connections between the arts, other academic disciplines, and practical applications in our society. Her students experienced a high level of success participating in programs like National Portfolio Day, the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts, and the Scholastic Art and Writing contest.

Jackie obtained a master’s degree in art history from the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2018. In addition to being an art educator and historian, Jackie is an arts advocate and practicing artist herself. She has had work exhibited in juried exhibitions at the college level and in the Tennessee Art League gallery in downtown Nashville. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and passion for all things art related with the artists in the POVA Collective. She believes art can be a powerful agent in social change and is excited to help our artists learn and grow. In her spare time, Jackie enjoys relaxing with family and friends, traveling, learning French, playing competitive ultimate Frisbee, and making artwork.


Troy Dixon - Marketing Coordinator

Troy Dixon is the marketing coordinator at Poverty and the Arts (POVA). He has a heart for working with vulnerable populations as evidenced through his service as a volunteer leader in urban youth ministries and homeless outreach programs. Troy moved to Nashville from Los Angeles in 2011 and pursued his Master's Degree in Media and Communications at Middle Tennessee State University. Since coming to Nashville he he has worked as a freelance audio engineer while also using his communication skills to help nonprofits tell their story.

Troy's work at POVA encompasses all aspects of the organization's communications. His role ranges from setting up internal staff email services to drafting compelling Twitter messages to analyzing the data associated with sales and social media interaction. When he's not optimizing communications he likes to go disc golfing in Shelby Bottoms. He's also a cat person.