Nashville International Airport > Art & Music > Exhibits > Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts: A Transformative Experience

Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts: A Transformative Experience

Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts
Clockwise from left: Kim Eichler-Messer, Helen Worrall, Robert Winokur, Virginia McKinney, Alicia Boswell
December 10, 2013 - March 2, 2014
Art Case, Concourse A/B Meeter-Greeter Lounge and
Art Case, Concourse C Meeter-Greeter Area
Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts is a nationally recognized center for contemporary and traditional arts and crafts education. It is located on 14 acres outside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Gatlinburg, Tenn. In 1912, the Pi Beta Phi women’s fraternity arrived in Gatlinburg to open a settlement school in honor of the fraternity’s 50th anniversary, which eventually evolved into Arrowmont. With the goal of bringing education and healthcare to the children and families of the region, the Pi Beta Phis were also instrumental in reviving interest in and developing a market for handcrafted items made by the people living in the mountains. Throughout the first half of the 20th century they helped to establish one of the largest cottage-weaving industries of its time, and opened the Arrowcraft shop in 1926 to provide an outlet for the promotion and sales of these traditional crafts.

These crafts lived on during the summer workshops that the settlement school began offering to the public in 1945 in partnership with the University of Tennessee. The settlement school and its properties grew into Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts when the county assumed control of public education. Building upon the legacy of the Pi Beta Phis in the early 20th century, Arrowmont has continued to foster traditional crafts while expanding the school’s focus. Teaching myriad workshops, hosting numerous conferences and symposia, and presenting a wide range of exhibitions, Arrowmont explores and celebrates the trajectory of contemporary arts and crafts while continually recognizing the importance of tradition. Working with world-renowned artist instructors from the United States and abroad in different capacities allows Arrowmont to offer transformative experiences to individuals from near and far during their time on campus. Participants leave re-energized with new techniques to incorporate into their handmade practice. In 1991, Arrowmont began an artist-in-residence program to foster and advance the careers of emerging artists. Over one hundred individuals (and counting) have participated in this year-long program that provides both housing and studio space on campus along with opportunities to work with and support the surrounding community.

Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts: A Transformative Experience
The works in this exhibition are from Arrowmont’s permanent collection, which was established in 1970. Works represent current and past instructors, individuals from the Pi Beta Phi’s settlement school cottage-weaving industry, as well as past Artists-In-Residence. Appreciated as a whole, they illustrate the timelessness of handcrafted artwork and represent the history and future of Arrowmont. With the mission of enriching lives through art, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts is committed to offering transformative experiences for all.

Arts at the Airport receives funding for the visual arts from the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority (MNAA) and the Tennessee Arts Commission (TAC). The Flying Solo Exhibition Series is funded under an agreement with TAC. For more information about Arts at the Airport, please call (615) 275-1614 or send email to