Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Great Loss?

Will we, the national art community, suffer a devastating loss?
From their site:
"The Latest News:
Statement of the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts Board of Governors
September 7, 2008

For Immediate Release:
Members of the Board of Governors were unaware of the plan for Pi Beta Phi Fraternity to sell the property on which Arrowmont is located until late July 2008. In mid-August, the Board of Governors engaged an attorney to investigate every possibility related to the sale of the land, which is currently leased to the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts through 2011.

The Arrowmont Board of Governors is fully committed to the ongoing success of Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts. However, the sale of the land on which the school is located represents a major threat to the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts. While Arrowmont could be relocated and rebuilt elsewhere, the cost of doing so would greatly exceed the amount of money that Pi Beta Phi Fraternity has suggested it might offer. The Arrowmont Board of Governors believes that losing the historic campus and the professional craft studio facilities and dormitories would be devastating to the school, not only in the short term, but also because it would sever its long-lasting ties to the early heritage of Pi Beta Phi in Gatlinburg. Of additional concern is the fact that the immediate loss of revenue and constituents (both local and national students and conference attendees) while the new facilities are being built could prove catastrophic. "

My grandmother arrived in 1932 (?) to Arrowmont as a teacher. She was called by the Pi Beta Phi's from the dustbowls of Oklahoma to come to the mountains of Tennessee and teach children. She and my mother took me to Arrowmont after it had become an art school when I was in 3rd grade. My other grandparents lived around the corner and my grandfathers church where he officiated for 35 years was across the street from the Arrowcraft Gallery. To me Arrowmont became a symbol of what artists do. It was an icon for me my entire life. My life's dream was to eventually teach workshops there. I have taken two workshops and a conference there. Recieved a scholarship for one, attended auctions and assisted two workshops there, and underwent one of the most transformative experiences of my art career there. I have sat on the patio until 3am with Keith LoBue there, talking and sharing and watching the stars. Arrowmont is my artistic womb manifested as a place.
When I heard this news I cried so hard my eyes swelled for the next day. Robert didn't speak. He didn't know what to say.
My only hope is that somehow someway Arrowmont can morph and change and be reborn just a special in another place.
Maybe even a better place. Were I a millionaire....

The porch of Teacher's Cottage.

metals studio

The picnic tables outside the cafeteria.

The fountain outside metals. I have soaked my tired feet in this many times!

1 comment:

Jamie said...

That's incredibly sad news and I'm sorry to hear it. I hope that the fraternity can come to some sort of agreement with the school.