Bill May featured in The Knoxville Ledger

“Bill May, executive director of Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, has been a businessman and artist. Arrowmont is his passion project.”

Bill May took an extra-ordinary path to becoming a craftsman and leader. “I never was too interested in doing what everybody else was doing anyway,” he says in Nancy Henderson’s feature for The Knoxville Ledger, “Arrowmont’s best friend…again. May’s Mission.”  Henderson outlines Bill May’s history, how he became involved with Arrowmont, his recollections of the 2016 wildfires, and his vision for Arrowmont’s future.

Click here to read the full article.

Since purchasing the campus in 2014, Bill May, the Arrowmont staff, and Board have worked diligently and collaboratively to build an institution that you can be proud to support. A new scholarship endowment, the Bill May Scholarship for Extra-Ordinary Artists, recognizes and honors Bill May for his 30-plus years of service to Arrowmont, the local community, and the worldwide community of artists.

You might be one of these unique individuals or know someone who is an extra-ordinary artist and can benefit from this scholarship.

Right now, all gifts to the scholarship are tripled through a matching challenge grant. For more information, visit No gift is too small – every gift, regardless of size – is valuable. Donate today!


The Bill May Scholarship provides an opportunity for artists who are not formally trained and often self-taught. The goal is to provide individuals who haven’t had the opportunity of formal education to learn from others, build a network, and perhaps experience arts instruction/skill building for the first time. The extraordinary artist is an artist who has through circumstance or inclination followed their own path, not listening to anyone else’s traditions but inventing their own. They may use the same materials and methods as a more traditionally educated artist, but the process and the end result may be radically different. They hear their own inner voice so strongly that they may not even think of what they do as art. First and foremost, they are visionaries. It is fitting that this scholarship created for those who have not yet had the opportunity to explore more formal arts education and instruction be named for Arrowmont’s executive director. Bill said, “During my time at Arrowmont, I have seen remarkable work created by those who might not consider themselves ‘artists,’ but who make important contributions to the field of craft.” Whether they are young emerging artists or those seeking fulfillment in retirement, these voices deserve to be heard and given the opportunity to both grow and contribute. This scholarship recognizes Bill as an “extraordinary” artist and honors his leadership and commitment to Arrowmont.

To discuss your options and make arrangements for a planned gift, contact Fran Day, director of institutional advancement, at 865.436.5860 or


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