Learn at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts on Vacation!
While you can find several stores that offer unique handmade regional crafts on your vacation (particularly in Wears Valley and Gatlinburg's Glades Community), there's only one place in the area where you can learn Smoky Mountain Arts and Crafts - Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts!
Here you can learn crafts that have been passed down from generation to generation. The skilled instructors at this school will give you the insight to gain mastery over your chosen craft. Whether it's basket-weaving or woodworking, you can take a weekend workshop on your Smoky Mountain vacation and embrace your inner Appalachian artist. Vacationers staying in Gatlinburg cabins can take advantage of the weekend workshops or week-long retreats for a art-filled vacation.
A History of Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts
This national art education center which rests on a 14-acre residential campus in Gatlinburg, TN offers weekend, one week and two week workshops, as well as weekly classes for the surrounding community. At this facility, guests can take workshops in ceramics, fiber, metals/jewelry, painting, drawing, photography, warm glass, woodturning, woodworking, mixed media, books and paper, as well as other specialties that are offered periodically.
However, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts hasn't always been an art school. The school started back in 1912 as a Pi Beta Phi Settlement school. Here the once remote community of Gatlinburg received education as well as medical care since it was also the site of the first medical clinic in the area. However, folk art was still present during this era in the gifts of weavings, baskets, and woodcarvings brought by students and parents to teachers.
In 1926, Arrowcraft Shop opened. Now the beautiful, carefully-crafted wares of the Appalachian people could be sold. In 1945, the first summer craft workshops were taught with by faculty from the University of Tennessee. As the success and enrollments in the school increased, the School’s name was changed to Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts and a new studio complex was constructed in 1967.
In 2014, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts is internationally recognized as visual art education center and provides workshops throughout the year. The School also serves as a cultural center in the community offering adult and children’s community classes, including ArtReach which impacts 1,500 local school children throughout the year. Throughout the years, this Smoky Mountain Arts and Crafts school has maintained traditions and enriched the lives of all who have journeyed to it.
The Arrowmont School of Arts Experience
As stated previously, Arrowmont offers workshops in different specialties throughout the year. However, two weekend workshops might fit the busy schedules of travelers staying in the Smokies for a short time.
- The Legacy Weekend- This interdisciplinary program offers nightly speakers, musical performances, social gatherings, gallery openings, and off-campus explorations.
- The Master Weekend- Master teachers contribute their skills and knowledge to experienced students who seek intense studio time, enlightening discussions and critiques, and risk-taking. The focus of this workshop includes developing one's voice through readings, drawing modeling, and discussion.
Though these are by no means the only offerings of the Arrowmont School, they are some of the favorites among visitors to the Smokies.
Shop for Unique Gifts at the Arrowmont Store
You don't have to take a class to enjoy all the Arrowmont School has to offer. Vacationers can browse through the carefully crafted items that students and teachers at the school have made. Additionally, guests can even observe weavers, potters, and painters as they create their crafts.
There is also a gallery which features pieces from artists of Arrowmont School of Arts and Craft and offers permanent and temporary exhibits of paintings, pottery, and more.
So, come enjoy on of the longest running art schools in the region and learn the tradition of Appalachian art yourself!
Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts
Gatlinburg, TN 37738
Written by Brittany Tipton