Area schools, artists participate in Arrowmont event

Local schools and artists are coming together at Arrowmont School of Arts in Sevier County this week for art education.

This week, the school day will begin as usual for more than 350 students in Hamblen and Jefferson County school systems.

The difference is that they will participate in Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts educational outreach program, ArtReach on the Road. They will go to Rose Center in Morristown for a day of workshops in traditional Appalachian craft.

ArtReach on the Road offers workshops in a range of media that have a significant history in Appalachia, led by local artists and craftspeople. Hamblen and Jefferson County students who have never been in a studio setting will experience an immersive day of arts education this week through August 23.

Participating schools include Dandridge Elementary (5th grade), Meadowview Middle School, Piedmont Elementary (4th and 5th grade), and Rush Strong School (5th grade).

Five working, professional local artists will provide traditional Appalachian arts and crafts instruction:

• Lauren Houser will focus on the resourcefulness of Appalachia’s residents, who used every-day “found” items to create both necessities and art, in her needlecraft workshops. Houser is a self-taught seamstress, currently enrolled in the small business management program at Northeast State Technical Community College in Blountville. She creates women’s clothing, bags, aprons and accessories and sells them at various arts and crafts events in the community and online. She loves to use repurposed materials and search second hand shops, estate sales, and vintage markets for unique fabrics and findings.

• Susan Parry will lead her workshop on basic ring making, using silver plated wire wrapping techniques and agate beads. Agate is the state stone for Tennessee, and serves to juxtapose Tennessee heritage with ancient artisans since wire wrap jewelry dates to the time of the Egyptian pyramids. Parry earned an Associate Degree in Fine Arts from Chattanooga State Community College, a bachelors of arts in English and American Language and Literature from Cornell University and and masters of arts in English and American Language and Literature from the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. Parry has taught in museums, art camps, high schools and universities. Parry represented Tennessee in 2012 for the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. She is a full-time working glass jewelry artist, and a featured artist on “Tennessee Crossroads,” aired on the PBS network.

• John Polly will emphasize the importance of wood crafted products in the early Appalachia homestead in his woodworking classes. Polly was taught basic woodworking skills by his dad at a very early age. He learned a true appreciation of how to work wood with limited tools, and has made countless pieces of furniture, odds and ends, and turned wooden bowls through the years. He enjoys teaching woodworking basics to adults and kids.

• Deborah Rule will use Appalachian quilt patterns as inspiration for designing and printing personal patterns in her linoleum printmaking workshops. Rule received her BFA in Studio Art/2D from the University of Tennessee in 2015. Upon graduation, Rule was awarded a Studio Assistantship with Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, where she continued to expand her studio practice. Rule currently lives and works in Knoxville, where she is a participating artist in The Vacuum Shop Studios.

• Christal Yost will introduce students to wet felting using wool sourced from a local farm in Tennessee. Felt was an integral part of the everyday life of nomadic herding cultures, and examples of felted objects dating back thousands of years. Yost has been painting, sculpting, and working with textiles and fiber for more than 45 years. Degrees and work in the area of biochemistry and big data analytics inform her work in the arts. International travel and a deep respect for cultural diversity are also important influences. Training in the arts over the last 40 years has been a combination of courses at universities, regional art schools and private lessons. Yost operates a fiber studio in Knoxville, offering private and group lessons to children and adults.

ArtReach on the Road will be directed by Kelly Hider. Hider is excited about her new role working on the ArtReach on the Road initiative.

For more information about ArtReach on the Road, visit or email Kelly Hider, youth education program manager,