Enriching lives through art and craft


Founded in 1992, ArtReach brings Appalachian crafts and culture to rural Central Appalachian communities where funding in arts education is limited. The program provides 4th-12th grade students the opportunity to learn about and appreciate their culture, incorporating 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.

Originally established to serve Sevier County Schools, ArtReach has expanded to school districts and arts organizations across six Central Appalachian states. The program now offers both in-person workshops through ArtReach On the Road and virtual workshops with pre-packaged supply kits for students.

Workshops cover a wide range of media including wood, clay, sculpture, needlecraft, basketry, weaving, leather, and many others that have a significant history in Appalachia.

Since its inception, ArtReach has provided arts & crafts education to over 25,000 school age children and now reaches 3,900 students annually through our combined in-person and virtual workshops. ArtReach graduates have gone on to become working artists, others have become teachers, business owners, doctors, lawyers, elected officials, and most important, contributors to our communities.


I recommend ArtReach because it calms you down and you get time to enjoy with friends.
Beatrix, Perry County Student

I thought it was really fun and I liked learning how to weave and about some of the history.
Daria, Harlan County Student

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

ArtReach Instructors

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, Woodworker, ArtReach instructor

This has been the highlight of my year. The kids have imagination and inquisitive minds that are perfect for art making. It gave me great joy to pass along some of the craft and to hopefully interest the kids in art.
Richard Kirk Banks, Ceramist, ArtReach Instructor


ArtReach is offered free to schools and arts organizations in participating counties. There is no charge, either to the school, participating organization, or students. If your school, arts organization, or institution is interested in partnering or helping with ArtReach on the Road or Virtual ArtReach please contact Katie Sharpe, ArtReach Program Manager, at [email protected].

If 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 [email protected].


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

If you are interested in sponsoring ArtReach or donating to this amazing program please contact Carla May Paré, Director of Advancement at [email protected].

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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