Clay Foster Reporting on Arrowmont

An informative update. .
Dear Friends,

With a year's experience under my belt as a member of the Board of Governors of Arrowmont School of Art and Craft, I want to give you a report on what has happened in the past year, what plans are being made for the future, and the current status of the school. All the board members and Arrowmont staff agree that open, transparent communication is an essential course of action, and we will do our best to achieve that goal.

The most important change that was made last year was hiring Bill May as the Executive Director. Board members, Arrowmont staff, and students have all been very impressed by his diligence, integrity, enthusiasm for the school, and his wisdom in making some hard decisions. Under his leadership, Arrowmont is in the best shape it has been in for the last 10 years. You can learn more about Bill at this media release.

Another excellent addition to the staff is Deborah Johnson, Director of Development and communications. Deborah has been an Arrowmont student, staff assistant, and board member. With many years of experience as a public relations director, university library director, and her own consulting firm for nonprofit organizations, Deborah will be filling a vital need at Arrowmont. Deborah says,"I am delighted and honored to be able to return to Arrowmont. The experiences I've had here helped frame my world view—how I see things and what I value. It is wonderful to be able to identify pivotal points of influence in one's life, and Arrowmont has indeed been one for me."

On the organizational front, Arrowmont becoming legally and financially independent of Pi Beta Phi is a change of historical proportions for them both. Negotiations are still underway on Arrowmont acquiring the school property from Pi Phi. The city of Gatlinburg, the Sevier County school district, and the citizens of Gatlinburg have been very supportive of Arrowmont staying in Gatlinburg at the schools current location. A letter issued by the presidents of Pi Phi and Arrowmont is available here .

Other news of note:

Over $100,000 was raised at Arrowmont's first Art and Wine auction.

An anonymous donation of $40,000 was made to Arrowmont with this simply stated purpose: "To honor the work of Bill May and Bill Griffith in this exciting time for Arrowmont." Director of Programs Bill Griffith marks his 25th anniversary this year of guiding and creating programs at Arrowmont.

A Meet the Artists dinner and auction at the DeBusk Lodge raised $55,000 for Arrowmont.

There a lot of good things planned for the future as well.

This will be the 20th anniversary of the Artists-In-Residence Program. To celebrate this milestone, a retreat reunion for the 91 early career artists who have participated in the program is planned. The celebration will include studio sessions, panel discussions and programs, a traveling exhibition, catalog, and national research endeavor. Celebrating 20: Building and Maintaining a Community would not be possible without the generous grant support from the NEA and Windgate foundation.

Arrowmont will continue its educational programs with the local community, including the one day ArtReach workshop for students in grades 4-12, a program for 8th grade students selected through an application process to spend 2 days on campus receiving instruction in different art mediums, and in December the Holiday Family Classes for parents and children.

All this news and more can be read in greater detail at the Newsletter pages of Arrowmont's website.

In conclusion, I believe Arrowmont has a renewed spirit in fulfilling its mission to enrich lives through art. New Executive Director Bill May has the skills and desire to move Arrowmont forward during this time of change. Under his direction, Arrowmont is financially stable with a sound and sensible budget. Student enrollment is up. The Board of Governors has more diversity than ever before, with several prominent local citizens as members. Arrowmont will have a much stronger presence at symposiums and art events such as SOFA. When I visit the campus, I can feel a new spirit of hope and enthusiasm from the staff and volunteers who want to see Arrowmont become a place and a time that makes a difference in people's lives.

Lest you began to dread seeing an Arrowmont report from me in your mailbox, I'm not going to make an impassioned plea for money. If you think Arrowmont is on the path to a good place and want to make a monetary contribution, you can do so here . We appreciate it.

You have received this message because of prior association with Arrowmont or some its instructors. If you would rather not receive any more report, please let me know.

If you have any questions about Arrowmont School of Art and Craft, feel free to email me or give me a call at 317 319 5883.


Clay Foster