By Bill May, Executive Director, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts –
As many of you know, the wildfires in Great Smoky Mountains National Park spread to the city of Gatlinburg and the Arrowmont Campus. We are beginning to understand the extent of the loss the community has experienced and that our friends across the country are concerned. We have received thousands of emails and phone calls, offering help and support. Thank you. Hopefully, this letter will clarify our situation at present.
On Monday evening, all Arrowmont staff safely evacuated and none lost their homes. Although we lost two dorms, Wild Wing and Hughes Hall, and the maintenance building with all the equipment, the core campus is intact—all studios including the wood studio complex, Red Barn, Pollard, Teachers, Staff House, and our main building, Turner, housing our gallery, permanent collection, library, supply store and staff offices were not affected by the fire.
At present, the City of Gatlinburg is closed and no one except emergency personnel, police and firefighters are allowed into the city. Our hearts are with the many friends and neighbors who have suffered unimaginable loss. But the people of this region are resilient and will pull together and move forward.
When we are allowed back onto the campus we will complete an assessment and a plan for going forward. In the short-term, this situation has necessitated the following changes in some of our immediate programming.
Bill Mize, Beth Bramhall and Boogertown Gap Holiday Concert – December 10th
Free to everyone
Reception 5:00 pm
Concert 7:00 pm
This Concert is a holiday tradition at Arrowmont and in our community. Although we are all still reeling from the magnitude of the losses the community has experienced, we want to continue the tradition and create an opportunity for everyone to come together, support each other and celebrate the season. This concert and reception is a gift from Arrowmont and the musicians to our wonderful community – open to everyone and free. We hope that you will join us for the reception and the concert.
Holiday Classes, originally scheduled for December 10th have been cancelled. Those individuals who registered for Holiday Classes will have the opportunity of participating in one of the Spring Holiday Classes. When we re-open, Arrowmont Registrar and staff will be in contact to let you know classes offered and availability.
Sevier County Biennial Juried Exhibition
As originally scheduled
Opening Reception January 20, 2017
Exhibition Opens January 21, 2017
In celebration of craft and talent in our community, the show will go on. All the artwork dropped off Monday for the Biennial is safe and undamaged. Our juror, Teri Alea, has not yet been to jury the exhibit but she will as soon as we are allowed back to town and have electricity. Emails will go out to all artists who dropped off work with more information about the exhibition and reception.
Important note about the Arrowmont Permanent Collection that houses over 1,000 craft objects: the Permanent Collection is safe. It is housed in Turner Building which was not affected by the fire.
ArtReach, our program for public school students, has been cancelled for the foreseeable future. When we are back on campus, we will evaluate our resources and be in touch with the school system. We hope to be able to reschedule.
Souper Bowl, Arrowmont’s fundraiser for the Sevier County United Way, will not be re-scheduled until fall 2017. We hope that record numbers of you will turn out to support this signature event. Later, we will have information for those with an interest in purchasing bowls.
To our vendors: We are unable to get into Arrowmont to access Accounts Payable and write checks. Please know that as soon as we are able to get onto campus and access our computer files, we will take care of our obligations to you. We appreciate your understanding and support.
Finally, to all – students, instructors, and supporters of craft education who have called, written, posted about Arrowmont, and offered help and support – thank you! We certainly appreciate the art and craft organizations in Tennessee and around the country who have offered encouragement and support. I wish we could reply personally to every individual; however, computer access is very limited and we are concentrating our efforts on resuming operations as soon as possible. Please know that I, the Arrowmont staff and our Board of Governors appreciate you and your concern and support. Next week, hopefully, we will be back on campus and can begin to determine what our needs are and be more specific about how you can help. We greatly appreciate the donations that have been made through our website.
We will try to keep you informed through our website and social media about our progress and how you might help. In the meantime, know that we appreciate each of you. Arrowmont will rebuild and continue to thrive because we have the support of our local and national communities.