Advisory groups for Civic Arts Center announced

As the steel structure that will become the Civic Arts Center (CAC) takes shape on the Maryville College campus, the structures that will guide and support it are also being put into place.

Memberships of the 30-member Civic Arts Center Advisory Board and the five-member Executive Committee of the Advisory Board were recently finalized, according to Civic Art Center Executive Director Robert Hutchens.

A major performing arts facility, which is being constructed through a partnership between Maryville College and the cities of Maryville and Alcoa, the CAC will celebrate the art and culture of the Appalachian region by serving as a venue for local musicians, performers and artists. Its design will also accommodate plays and musicals, concerts by touring musicians and orchestras, traveling art exhibits, film series, children’s plays and presentations by nationally recognized speakers.

The price tag of the CAC is expected to be around $47.3 million. Partnering with the cities of Maryville and Alcoa and state and federal government, Maryville College committed to working with Clayton Homes CEO Kevin Clayton and other members of the CAC fundraising committee to raise the necessary dollars, in addition to donating the land where the facility will be located.

The creation of the Advisory Board and Executive Committee was outlined in the bond document approved by the Industrial Development Board of Blount County. According to that bond document, the purpose of the Advisory Board is to “assist with efficient operation of the [Civic Arts Center] for the benefit of the public.”

Ten members of the Advisory Board are appointed by the College, eight are appointed by the city of Maryville, and four are appointed by the city of Alcoa. The remaining eight members are jointly appointed by all three bodies. Terms are expected to last three years.

The CAC Advisory Board members representing the city of Maryville include:

Joy Bishop

Heath Claiborne

Ed Harmon

Fran Leonard

Amy Morton

Doug Overbey

Bill Robinson

Tom Taylor.

The city of Alcoa will be represented by:

Mary Elizabeth “Beth” Green

Cathy Hammon

Caroline Tate

George Williams.

Maryville College’s representatives on the board include:

Wilson Borden

Starr Bragg

Nancy Cain

Mark Cate

Randy Massey

Ellie Morrow

Kevin Painter

Kim Slater

Steve West

Joe Zappa

Members jointly appointed are:

Rob Britt

Bill Clabough

Ibby Davis

Rachel Ford

Carolyn Forster

Terry Wilson

Jim Woroniecki

Lisa Zenni

Cate, Forster, Hammon, Painter and Robinson make up the Executive Committee, which has the authority to act for the Advisory Board as needed “to consider issues in a timely manner between regularly scheduled meetings of the Advisory Board.”

Hutchens said the Executive Committee held its first meeting at the College on Dec. 19. He expects the first meeting of the full Advisory Board to be held early in the new year. Although the Board is required to meet only once a year, he expects additional meetings will be called as the CAC nears completion and prepares for a public opening.

“These members are going to have much to say in defining the mission and operation of the CAC,” he explained. “They will be ambassadors to the community on behalf of the Center, but they will also serve the reverse function of communicating community wishes and expectations back to the administration.

“I also believe they will promote the activities of the Center, bring people to it and help make people feel a part of it,” he added.

Hutchens said he’s looking forward to beginning work with both the Advisory Board and Executive Committee.

“I have met with some of the members individually to become familiar with their assumptions and expectations, but I’m eager to begin regular meetings with the groups,” he said. “I believe we have pulled together people who love the arts but see them through different lenses - as performers, educators, businessmen and civic leaders. Those different perspectives will be invaluable as we determine the policies and procedures for this new venture.

“I’m grateful to these people for agreeing to serve the Center and our community,” he added.

To date, funds to construct the CAC campaign total more than $40 million.

Starting in January, the College will turn its efforts toward a community-wide, broad-based campaign effort, said Holly Jackson-Ludlow, interim vice president for advancement and community relations.

“I feel confident that our Advancement Team, along with the strong leadership provided by the Friends of the Civic Arts Center and chairpersons Kevin and Amanda Painter, will successfully meet our fundraising goals,” Ludlow said. “We realize the economy is an issue; however, the time has come for our region to have a state-of-the-art facility, and I believe this community will make it happen.”

To make a gift to the CAC, contact Ludlow at 865.273.8884 or

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