Smoky Mountain Pottery Festival receives grant from Arts Build Communities program

For the second year, the Smoky Mountain Pottery Festival was the recipient of a grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission. The $1,425 grant will help the festival support its featured guest potter and its educational demonstrations for the 2010 festival, which will be held June 4-5, 2010 at the Townsend Visitors Center.

The Arts Build Communities, a program funded by the Tennessee General Assembly and administered by the Tennessee Arts Commission and the Arts & Culture Alliance of Greater Knoxville, awarded the funds to the Blount County Chamber of Commerce Foundation and Smoky Mountain Convention and Visitors Bureau (SMCVB) in order to continue the arts-based project.

“The pottery festival is a way for us to bring Tennessee’s potters together in one location with potters from around the region to share their talent and art with our community and visitors,” said Herb Handly, executive vice president of tourism for SMCVB. “We hope to educate people and encourage the next generation of artists and potters to explore the craft and carry on this wonderful Appalachian tradition.”

At the 2010 festival, Cynthia Bringle will be the featured potter. Born in Memphis, Tenn, Bringle has spent the last 30 years in Penland, North Carolina, home of the Penland School of Crafts. She is the recipient of the North Carolina Living Treasure Award and North Carolina Award for Fine Art, and she is a Fellow of the American Craft Council, a life member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild and she received her honorary Doctorate from the Memphis College of Art.

The annual pottery festival is hosted by the Blount County Chamber of Commerce and the SMCVB, and it highlights the finest pottery available in Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains, providing an opportunity to educate others about the long-time tradition of pottery and the various styles and methods used by potters in the past and the present. It is a juried show, where a jury of skilled and experienced potters handpick the artisans chosen to represent the craft at each festival.

The 2010 festival will include 35 pottery booths, wheel-throwing and hand building demonstrations, as well as an education and children’s tent with Carol Ware, allowing attendees to get their hands in the clay. Returning festival favorites include JoeFrank McKee of Dillsboro, NC and Peter Rose of Knoxville, Tenn. performing Raku firings, and Hugh Bailey with his unique animal creations.

For more information on the Smoky Mountain Pottery Festival, please call the Smoky Mountain Convention and Visitor’s Bureau at 1-800-525-6834 or (865) 448-6134, or visit smokymountainfestivals.org.

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