Saturday, September 18, 2010

arrowmont stays put.

I seem to have come late to this news, but the Arrowmont Board of Directors has decided to keep the school in Gatlinburg, Tennessee on its current 14 acre site. It was being evicted by the Pi Beta Phi fraternity which after many years as host of the campus, had decided to sell to developers at a price Arrowmont could not match. It seems that hands-on learning was no longer an exciting enough service mission for the fraternity's current membership. The land had been given to the fraternity back when land in Tennessee was practically worthless and now it has become worth millions.

Fortunately, the residents of Gatlinburg decided that keeping Arrowmont in their own community was an important goal and a drive for community support by the mayor and city manager won the day as well as Arrowmont board support. They had been preparing to pick up lock, stock, and lathes and move to North Carolina. As a once in awhile faculty member I am relieved by this turn of events. Arrowmont's wonderful studios and a constant flow of newly energized hand work students will continue into the future, and donors can feel assured of their investment in hands on learning. Its woodworking studio shown in the photo above is among the finest in the world.

Staying put will not be an easy thing. Buying the property from the Pi Phis will add significantly to the usual fund raising challenge faced by every craft school. You can help. Or read about my own teaching experience at Arrowmont, Turning Left at the Hard Rock Cafe.

As you can see in the photo below, I am continuing my very friendly competition with the Chinese, by making things. The photo is filled with the lids for small inlaid boxes to fill holiday season orders. At the lower right are award bases for the Arkansas Governor's Award for Quality. I may not win the award, but I do get to make it. All this flurry of work is to get my usual production to the point that I can assemble, sand and finish small batches of boxes in my spare time without messing up too much else in the wood shop.


  1. Anonymous7:11 AM

    Selling Arrowmont's land? That would be a tragedy. I'm glad to hear that saner minds prevailed.


  2. Can you imagine that land being cleared of its beautiful buildings so that another theme development could be built in its place?