Nicole Brandt Minyard – Founder, Executive Director

Nicole Brandt Minyard is the Founder and Executive Director of Poverty & the Arts. She is an entrepreneur, advocate, animal-lover, and social artist. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Belmont University in May 2014 . In Fall 2011, She started the programs of Poverty & the Arts through an on-campus work-study job in Belmont’s Center of Service-Learning. As a Junior, in Spring 2013, she began the process to file for 501(c)3 status. Her senior year of college, Nicole interned at the Arts and Business Council and under the art therapist at Room in the Inn. Nicole started working with the homeless her senior year of high school in 2009, beginning in Louisville, Kentucky. She has always been inspired by the hearts of the homeless and hopes to find ways to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor. When she’s not dreaming and planning for Poverty & 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.


Micah James – Program Coordinator

Micah James is the Program Coordinator at Poverty & the Arts.  She helps with tracking our artists’ progress, managing the artwork and merchandise inventory and sales, processing art supply requests, and providing additional artist support.  She’s a Nashville native with an Art Education degree from MTSU.  Her passion for impactful community based arts programs makes POVA the perfect place for her to learn and grow.  In her free time Micah loves reading, gardening, petting cute dogs, exploring Nashville’s ever-growing food scene, and, of course, making art.


Carolina Smith – Office Manager

Carolina Smith is the Office Manager at Poverty & the Arts. She was the Communications Intern with Poverty & the Arts in spring 2017 and after continuing to volunteer after 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. She 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 Poverty & the Arts. 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.