Enriching lives through art and craft

ArtReach on the Road

Appalachian Arts and Crafts Education for 4th – 12th Grade Students

Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts is expanding its iconic arts education program

to schools and arts organizations across Central Appalachia

Artreach Serves Youth In Six States In The Central Appalachian Region

ArtReach on the Road is offered free to participating schools and arts organizations.
There is no charge, either to the school, participating organization, or students.

“I made it out of felt.”  Hudson, student, Jefferson County

“I will wear it all the time.”  Halie, student, Swain County

“It made me feel happy and made me push myself until I got it right.”  Dreydon, student, Graham County

“I got to be creative all day and it’s a good feeling.”  Ava, student, Swain County

“Block printing was my favorite!”  Emily, student, Hamblen County

The words leap off the page as students tell us about their ArtReach on the Road experience.

ArtReach, Arrowmont’s local community outreach program, provides a full day of arts and crafts instruction to students 4th through 12th grades. Since its establishment in 1992 as a rural arts outreach initiative, over 25,000 Sevier County school children have participated in the program. Some ArtReach students have gone on to become working artists, others have become teachers, business owners, doctors, lawyers, elected officials, and most important, contributors to our communities. Previously limited to Sevier County Schools, ArtReach has expanded to school districts and arts organizations across six Central Appalachian states.

ArtReach on the Road is designed to help modern students in Central Appalachia learn about and appreciate their culture and the importance of craft in their daily lives. It also addresses the preservation of traditional craft knowledge — connecting traditional practitioners with future generations, through immersive instruction.

The program offers workshops in a range of media such as wood, clay, sculpture, needlecraft, basketry, weaving, leather, and many others that have a significant history in Appalachia.

Research shows that exposure to arts and crafts education is more than learning to appreciate beauty — arts education has an impressive impact on students’ cognitive, social, and emotional development. They develop essential thinking tools — most important, students exposed to arts education develop strong problem-solving skills.

Here’s what local teachers have to say about ArtReach.

“It is very difficult if not impossible for me as an art teacher to fully engage my students in the creative process with the schedule and resources I have to work with. Bringing deserving students to Arrowmont for a day not only enhances my relationship with them but allows them the opportunity to engage and fully experience the creative process…I feel [ArtReach] balances out our curriculum by offering experiences we do not and would love to. Students are grateful for this opportunity and return to school excited to share their experience to whomever will listen.”
Karen Byars, art teacher, Sevier County Schools

“The experience was so fulfilling for me. I saw several students advance from “I can’t do this” to being confident in their abilities to perform even advanced projects. It is so wonderful to see that transformation in just a few hours.”
John Polly, ArtReach on the Road instructor, Campbell County


Whether you are an administrator, community member, teacher or parent, we are looking for ways we can find partners for this exciting initiative. If your school, arts organization, or institution is interested in partnering or helping with ArtReach on the Road, you are a Central Appalachian artist interested in being an ArtReach on the Road instructor, or you would like more information about the program, please contact Katie Sharpe, ArtReach Program Manager, at ksharpe@arrowmont.org.


North Carolina: Graham, Swain
Ohio: Gallia, Vinton, Jackson
Tennessee: Campbell, Hamblen, Jefferson, Sevier
Virginia: Lee, Russell, Scott
West Virginia: Kanahwa, Lincoln
Kentucky: Harlan

ART WORKSTENNESSEE ARTS COMMISIONTENNESSEE FOR THE ARTSTennessee Specialty License PlatesEAST TENNESSEE FOUNDATIONWindgate Foundation Arrowmont is being supported, in whole or in part, by federal award number SLFRP5534 awarded to the State of Tennessee by the U.S. Department of Treasury.

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