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!
In the fall of 1968, the name of the new year-round craft school established as “Arrow in the Smokies” in 1967 officially became “Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts.”
On July 13, 1968, a “shovel, gilded and with wine and blue-colored ribbons,” was used to break ground for the new Pi Phi Mall in Gatlinburg designed to exhibit and shelter craft demonstrations for the new craft school.
This was the ‘first step in establishing a year-round Arts and Crafts School in Gatlinburg which will be called Arrowmont.”
During the 1968 Craft Workshop season, 72 students were enrolled in each of the three workshop sessions. Their ages ranged from 16 – 80, and the student body was composed of “teachers, vocational rehabilitation workers, mental health therapists, senior citizens leaders, graduate students, regular college students, and then citizens and senior citizens.”
Visions for the future of the year-round craft school included additional housing, a Woodworking Studio, a modern kitchen for Staff House, and an enlarged Arrowcraft Shop.
Jessie Clarke Daniels, president of Grace Richey Clark, Inc – a Texas-based interior design & handwoven blinds firm, attended her fifth-straight year of summer craft workshops. She wrote of her experience,
“When I arrive in Gatlinburg for the Summer Craft Workshop (now Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts)…the ideas seem to spring from everywhere – chance remarks, instructor’s suggestions, roommates’ wisecracks, trial and error – it just goes on and on. I love every minute of it! Another thing that impresses me so much each time is the professional feeling that prevails in each class – the quality of the instructors and their insistence on good design and good craftsmanship. And then Open House comes along and I am amazed anew at the excellence of the students’ work from all areas and the beauty of the entire display.
After four summers, I seem to get more excited every year. Now with Arrowmont becoming a year round program, many more will have the opportunity to have this great learning experience. To me, the close association here of people of all ages and from all backgrounds – all of whom are most interested in the creativity of various handcrafts, is one of the most exciting things about it. I love being with the young people who come with fresh enthusiasm and who have an experimental approach. I enjoy being with the older people with all the wide and varied backgrounds of experience. Even those who are rank amateurs in crafts want to do something better than make toy poodles from plastic sheets or they wouldn’t be here. I look at some who are in their seventies and sixties – and then all those in their fifties with me and clear on down to the college kids (who get younger every year) and there really doesn’t seem to be any generation gap. Every year I make new friends and happily greet the older friends I made the year before or the year before that. And now I look forward to next year to the changes that I will find, and am confident that some of Marian Heard’s dream is coming true.”