In 2020, Arrowmont celebrates 75 years as a school of arts and crafts. ARROWMONT: 75 YEARS OF CRAFT EDUCATION presents archival images and articles to recognize this milestone. Add your memories to the collection – click here to send us your pictures and stories!
This was an important year of transformation at Arrowmont. 1967 marks the year that the Settlement School transitioned to a year-round craft education center, a new Board of Governors was created to steward the Arts and Crafts Center, and Marian Heard, 22-year director of the Summer Craft Workshop program, was named the first Executive Director.
From Settlement School, founded in 1912, to Arts and Crafts Center in 1967
Henrietta McCutchan Huff, a Pi Phi alumna who was one of the first teachers at the Settlement School and who married Gatlinburg native James N. Huff, wrote a short memoir looking back at the history of the School. She said, “I would say the most exciting and most satisfying changes are those made in our Craft Program. Now that our educational mission in this mountain community has been accomplished, we are now ready for our new philanthropy – which has an even greater prospect for mankind – the expansion of our Centennial project – the Arts and Crafts Center.
The Creative Arts are found to be most beneficial to everyone’s life. Not only can we go to the school for own enjoyment, but [students who attend] return to their own communities to help teach these crafts so that they may lead happier and more useful lives. The possibilities for helping people all over the world – not just in one small locality – is unlimited.”
“It is safe to assume no individual has had a more unseen but most effective role in shaping the dream of [Arrowmont] than its Craft Director, Marian Heard.
Marian Heard was the director of the Summer Craft Workshops since its establishment in 1945. At the time of her instatement as executive director, she was professor of Related Arts and Crafts at the University of Tennessee; was the first individual from the Southeast area to be elected a trustee of the American Craftsman’s Council; and had served two terms as president of the Southern Highlands Handicraft Guild.
Marian Heard envisioned the potential of a year-round craft school. She said, “We have an established reputation in an established center…we have a project of great vision which is built on the needs of our society…a project that is tailored to be of help to people of all ages, regardless of social, economic, and educational background…”
The 1967 Summer Workshop season saw another growth in enrollment.
“The Lolita Prouty Ceramic wing is a great satisfaction for those who use it, and a great source of pride for [the School]. Many of the workshop classes were filled. Imagine fifteen or more students learning to put on a warp on a floor loom, or a similar number making pots – turning on the wheel. One can readily see why such laboratory classes are limited in number. The standard of workmanship is high, and it is largely for this reason our students appreciate the school. Many reiterated their intention of returning next year.
Our Red Barn has become very popular when workshops are not in session. The kitchenette, Chaunticleer’s dining area, the Owls’ Nest for assemblies, twenty-nine single beds and eight portable cots provide housing for varied groups.” – Marion W. Prince
The new objectives of the School in its first year were laid out by Marian Heard, who said, “this would be a year-round center and educational facility… dedicated to the teaching of all native art and crafts.”
- To sustain and preserve the native American crafts which originated in the Gatlinburg, Tennessee area
- To pioneer in a program of teaching the arts and crafts to the greatest number of interested persons
- To provide University accreditation for courses in the arts and crafts [through participation by the University of Tennessee School of Home Economics]
- To train teachers in the field of art and crafts, preparing them to work either professionally or as volunteers in school and community programs
- To serve as an additional source of economic stability in the Gatlinburg area
- To provide local craftsmen with an outlet for the merchandise they produce