Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Arrowmont to Remain in Gatlinburg

Future of the Nationally Recognized School Now Secure
(Gatlinburg, Tenn.) 08/23/10 – In a historic decision, the Board of Governors of the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts has voted to keep the nationally renowned center for contemporary craft education at its current location in Gatlinburg, Tenn. Arrowmont offered its first craft workshops in 1945.

Over the past two years the organization has been considering options for the future following a decision by the owners of the land to sell the property currently occupied by the school. A special task force was formed to evaluate options and possible new locations for the school and through their work the choices were narrowed to a site in Greeneville, Tenn. or remaining in the current Gatlinburg location. Since then, the Arrowmont Board has been working with officials from Gatlinburg and Greeneville to finalize proposals presented by both communities.

In making the announcement, Arrowmont Board of Governors President Mary Ann Hruska said, “After reviewing the proposals from Greeneville and Gatlinburg as well as numerous meetings with local officials, the Board decided that Arrowmont should remain in its place of founding. We look forward to working more closely with the local community regarding our future.”
The Gatlinburg community effort to retain Arrowmont was led by former Mayor Jerry Hays and City Manager, Cindy Ogle.

"I am extremely pleased with this decision to keep Arrowmont in Gatlinburg. I want to especially thank the Gatlinburg Arrowmont Work Group for their dedication during this process. A lot of hard work has gone into preparing for this day by representatives of the City, Sevier County, Sevier County School System, the Chamber of Commerce, and private citizens. From here, it is my hope that we can sit down together and map out how we will achieve the goals and dreams for Arrowmont’s future," states Jerry Hays.

Arrowmont’s Strategic Planning Committee, along with the Gatlinburg Work Group, will immediately
begin determining next steps including the orchestration of a capital campaign for funds to support the School’s future and exploring community partnership opportunities. The School’s on-going fundraising continues through the Friends of Arrowmont Fund. You may join by visiting our website or by calling 865- 436-5860.

“This decision ensures that the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts will continue to be a leader in
contemporary studio craft for many years to come,” said Hruska, adding, “Arrowmont provides the best in craft education in new and exciting ways while furthering our mission of enriching lives through art.”

About Arrowmont
Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts is a nationally renowned arts center that offers an artist in
residence program and one, two-week and weekend workshops in ceramics, fiber, metals, glass, painting, mixed media, and woodworking for the beginner to advanced artist. Students learn in professionally equipped studios on a 14-acre residential campus in Gatlinburg, TN. Five galleries, an art supply store, and artist resource center are open visitors year round. For more information about Arrowmont’s programs, visit www.arrowmont.org or call (865) 436-5860.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

I want a new Arrowmont mug!

In early spring of 1995 Steve Ford of Ford and Forlano taught a workshop in polymer clay and I was there. About Wednesday, during my lunch break, I visited the Arrowcraft Shop and bought two mugs. I still use the one above, and I pack it each time I spend a week at Arrowmont. They were made in 1994 by a potter named "Mangum." A quick consultation with Mr. Google brought me the Mangum Pottery website here: http://www.mangumpottery.com/ where I stayed a while and drooled over their current work.

I hear that Arrowmont mugs are frequently requested by new and returning students and I had an idea. What if students in pottery workshops made one mug per student just for Arrowmont and donated it to be sold in the Artists Outfitters Store or in a weekly or monthly mug sale to benefit the school or even specifically the clay studio? Clay instructors could get in on the project as well, with thrown and handbuilt mugs welcome. With or without handles, built large to hold a latte or tiny for espresso or right in the middle to hold the morning's first cup of black coffee or fragrant tea, the mugs could be used immediately and often.

A mug is an opportunity to try out a new technique on a small form and could spark some competition in making the largest or most beautiful or glazed with the most original glaze or the most humorous face or the most saleable...mmm. Options for mugs are endless. Mugs are a small investment that can grow into a collection; might be a collection of mugs or a more ambitious acquisition of fine ceramics. A mug is a wonderful gift for the person who has everything or for a father or husband or boyfriend who is difficult to shop for.

When I get to Arrowmont in September for Cynthia Toops' class in polymer clay I'm going to see if I can find a 2010 Arrowmont mug to add to the crowd.

Mugs by (left to right) Anna Silver, Kathleen Horst, J.R. Cooper, Joel Plum, unknown potter, Don Penny.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A new art raffle at Arrowmont!

This time the artists in residence at Arrowmont are holding a raffle to fund a catalog of the Residents' Exhibit at the end of the residency year. They have a modest goal of $1,250 and have already met 20% of that amount. Each of the residents is already accomplished in his/her medium and each has produced an original and well-made piece for the auction. Click on the links to see a close-up image of each item to be auctioned.

Andrea Moon's figure of stoneware, slip and fiber can't quite look you in both eyes:
http://arrowmontresidents.blogspot.com/2010/08/andrea-moon-you-are-here-stoneware-slip.html .

Shawn O'Connor's stoneware teapot appears to have been kissed by the fire in the wood-fueled kiln: http://arrowmontresidents.blogspot.com/2010/08/shawn-oconnor-teapot-wood-fired-stone.html .

Jennifer Wells has made her copper bowls with patina glow from within by lining them with gold leaf: http://arrowmontresidents.blogspot.com/2010/08/jennifer-wells-golden-bowls-copper-gold.html

Wyatt Severs has embellished his turned maple bowl with milk paint, acrylic paint and black ink: http://arrowmontresidents.blogspot.com/2010/08/wyatt-severs-learn-to-swim-turned-maple.html

Just as the sign says, you get one ticket for $5.00 and five tickets for $20.00. It's an opportunity to pay a small amount for what could be a big reward. And even if you don't win one of the works of art, a catalog of their final exhibit will make winners of these four residents providing documentation of an event that lasts only a month.

You have until 1 PM on Friday, August 6, to purchase your chances to win one of the pieces made "before" a year in the Tennessee mountains changes the vision and experience of these artists forever. Git 'em while you can!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Oh, no! My class has been canceled!

It doesn't occur frequently, but it recently happened to a friend: his workshop at Arrowmont was canceled nearly a month before its scheduled start date because of insufficient student registration. He was very disappointed in the situation,because he really wanted to learn the skills taught by the instructor who was not teaching any more workshops this year.

My friend was able to schedule another class at Arrowmont that sounded vaguely interesting but he recounted an incident that got us thinking about filling classes rather than canceling them. A week or so ago he saw a buddy in the barber shop and the conversation came around to the canceled class. "Nuts!" said the buddy. "I wish I'd known about that class; I would have signed up for it and my son would have been interested, too!"

So instead of canceling unfilled classes maybe Arrowmont should enlist the aid of media-savvy volunteers to spread the news of classes with vacancies to local people and prospective students at a distance as well.

First of all a page on the Arrowmont website could list unfilled classes starting in the next four weeks, with a link to that list on the website's front page. The list could be updated as frequently as necessary as vacancies decrease. There is a blog written by Arrowmont Artists in Residence; why not have an Arrowmont blog for news - the writing could be shared by several staff members or volunteers who post five days a week. A blog post can frequently be written more quickly than updating the website every day.

Arrowmont offers discounts on tuition to residents of Blount, Cocke, Jefferson, Knox and Sevier Counties; each county boasts at least one newspaper that publishes in print and online. How about sending a weekly media release to each area newspaper listing classes with vacancies?

Many craft and art supply companies send an online newsletter to subscribers once a week on a specific day; readers could subscribe on the front page of the Arrowmont website to receive news of class vacancies, special events, promotions at the Artist Outfitters Store - whatever is going on at the school currently. A volunteer could publish the newsletter with information shared by staff members.

And OMG! Don't forget Twitter and Facebook - volunteers who are active in these media could use them to highlight those classes that need students.

Instructors work hard to prepare lesson plans for a week's worth of classes, schedule the time to be at Arrowmont and hate to have a class cancel. Students take vacation from work, prepare (and pay!) for travel to and from the school, frequently need specific skills to complete a project or start a new one. And Arrowmont loses the revenue from a class that is canceled. I think with some work by staff and volunteers that Arrowmont could vastly reduce the disappointments of a canceled workshop.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Art 4 Art's Sake Auction

is being held at Arrowmont tomorrow evening, June 24, 2010. You'll find the particulars on the Arrowmont website and if you live within driving distance of Gatlinburg you should go there for the fun, excellent food and the opportunity to acquire a wonderful piece of art. And oh, yes, the purchases benefit the scholarship fund and allow even more students to learn skills at the school.

Here's a little preview of the artists who have very generously donated works to be included in the auction:

April Flanders makes monotypes and collographs; you can see her work at her website.

Frank Saliani, who is a former Arrowmont resident artist, works in colored cast porcelain which can be see at his website here.

Mary Todd Beam, a mixed media artist, teaches to quickly-filled classes at Arrowmont and has a following eager for her latest pieces. See her work and get a link to her blog here.

Jeweler Deb Karash's necklace is seen in the graphic at the top of the post and other pieces on her blog and her website.

Another former Arrowmont resident artist, Damon McIntyre, is a woodworker; see his gallery on his website.

Make your dinner reservations today and by all means, for a good time, show up at Arrowmont for the Art 4 Art's Sake Auction tomorrow evening!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

You will see Elaine and Stan Fronczek

on the Arrowmont campus attending meetings, helping to count inventory at the end of the fiscal year, manning the Arrowmont booth at east Tennessee fine craft fairs, bidding (and winning) during the Art 4 Art's Sake auctions and showing up for action any time there's a volunteer opportunity. Elaine is a fiber artist who professionally creates felted pieces for wearing and for interiors.

She frequently uses a garden theme and her color sense includes many palettes; while this scarf blends subtle shades, her sixteen inch tall vessel uses bold contrast for a strong statement.
Elaine teaches workshops in felting at Arrowmont and expands her skills by taking courses as well. Her scientific background keeps her on the move researching dye reactions and tool sources and both her students and her classmates benefit from her enthusiasm. Elaine's felted pieces can be seen at the Art Market Gallery in Knoxville.
Stan Fronczek is an accomplished woodworker with an eye for elegant design and a flawless surface. His "Urban Forest" contrasts with his table (with its top of bloodwood and legs of mirapixum) to enhance the simplicity of the sculpture and the sophistication of the polished furniture.

Stan makes smaller sculptures as well as furniture, such as his current project, a rocker.

Elaine and Stan will be attending the June 24 Art 4 Art's Sake Auction and Elaine will have a piece in the September 23 auction. They are good examples of the many generous artists who give art, cash, time and energy to Arrowmont to benefit its students and the school's community.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Steppin' out with Bonnie Allen

I met Bonnie last summer in Elizabeth Barton's dyeing/art quilt class early in July. Bonnie had taken a course in dyeing with Elizabeth before and knew what to expect from the class. We had no idea, though, how creative Bonnie could be with low-water immersion dyeing techniques and what visions she could capture in planning her quilt.

Over the fall and winter she and I kept in touch; in Georgia, I was making a large quilt for a friend from hand dyed fabrics and in Indiana she was dyeing with ice, and using the photographs she had taken at Arrowmont to make wonderful notecards and constructing one of a kind purses with the hand dyed scraps we just can't discard. This spring she sent me some photographs of her garden stepping stones made with stained glass and concrete. She tumbles and grinds the glass so that the mosaics are not only beautiful but also safe to step on without cutting feet.

She's developed several techniques to enhance the appearance and longevity of the stones and she's building a market in Evansville for her one of a kind designs. She donated a group of her stones to a fundraising auction at her church and was astonished and pleased to find that they sold for nearly a thousand dollars.

Bonnie will be returning to Arrowmont this year and when she does, she'll be bringing a stone or two for the Art for Art's Sake Auction in September. If you can attend the event in Gatlinburg, you might just be fortunate enough to have the winning bid on one of her artworks for your garden!