Enriching lives through art and craft

ArtReach 2024: Harlan & Hazard

ARTREACH was founded in 1992 with the mission to bring traditional Appalachian crafts and culture to underserved communities where funding in arts education is limited. Central Appalachian students, 4th-12th grade, receive immersive instruction from artists through in-person and virtual learning opportunities. 

ARTREACH ON THE ROAD directly connects rural communities with arts and crafts artists for 1–2-week hands-on sessions in local schools and community centers. In March, our team of Arrowmont staff and artists travelled to Hazard, Kentucky providing instruction in jewelry making, weaving, clay, printmaking and needle felting. 166 students from schools in Harlan and Perry County were introduced to folk arts and crafts by a professional instructor.  

The day-long classes not only taught students new skills, but also gave them newfound confidence in their artistic abilities and a sense of pride and accomplishment. Student responses from post-workshop surveys best illustrate the experience: 

“I thought it was really fun…I liked learning how to weave and about some of the history.” – Daria 

“It was super exciting and I appreciate it very much.”  – Kaylee

“[The] class is amazing…you got to use different tools that are so cool.”  – Kerrigan  

“I liked [ArtReach] because it can calm you down and enjoy with friends.”  – Beatrix 

The artist-instructors also feel the impact of this work: 

“This has been the highlight of my year. The kids have imagination and inquisitive minds that are perfect for art making.”  

– Richard Kirk Banks, Ceramist & ArtReach Instructor 

In many cases, ArtReach is the students’ first experience with hands-on learning. The format physically connects them to the rich heritage of Appalachian arts and crafts, fostering a desire to do and learn more. The power of touch creates a reverberating impact on the community for years to come.   

Since its inception, over 25,000 school age children have participated in ArtReach, and the program now serves 3,900 students annually. ArtReach graduates have gone on to become working artists, teachers, business owners, doctors, lawyers, and most importantly, contributors to our greater society. 

HELP US GROW ArtReach on the Road heads to Morriston, TN (Sept. 8-14) and Robbinsville, NC (Sept. 29 – Oct 11)  this fall, reaching an additional 1,000 students. Imagine the impact doubling or tripling the number of ArtReach students could have on Central Appalachia. The demand is there, and we are ready to respond.  

Be a part of expanding this vital community program by supporting ArtReach in 2025 and beyond. Donate Today. 

Carla May Paré, Director of Institutional Advancement 
[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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