Celebrate Knoxville is now closed

The Celebrate Knoxville web site and related social media accounts are now closed. It was a great five years, but it’s time to move on to the next adventure.

Thank you to all our writers, photographers, sponsors, editors, and friends who supported us in many ways, big and small. We could not have done this experiment in online-only publishing local arts and entertainment without you.

Our new adventure is one that relates to our new passion: food and farming in Tennessee. There is so much more interest in local food sources, great restaurants and great chefs, sustainable farming methods and permaculture, homesteading, livestock and gardening, home brewing and home wine making, the list is so long.

So whether you’re just interested in how to mill and bake sourdough bread, or make your own kimchi, or brew your own beer, or if you think you might be raising grassfed beef or sheep or goats someday,  join us on the farm at TNFoodandFarm.com.

Alanna McKissack joins KKB

Knoxville, Tenn. – Alanna McKissack has been named the new executive director of Keep Knoxville Beautiful and will lead the organization beginning January 2, 2018. McKissack rejoins the organization where she served as an AmeriCorps member and program coordinator in 2015. Most recently, McKissack served as the executive director of Keep Blount Beautiful, where she managed the Keep America Beautiful affiliate. Keep America Beautiful champions programs to help beautify local communities through recycling education, litter clean-ups, murals, among others.

Alanna McKissack

“We are extremely excited about Alanna joining Keep Knoxville Beautiful to lead the next chapter of the organization,” said Tommy Smith, the non-profit’s board president. “We have been blessed with superb leadership from our outgoing executive director, Patience Melnik, and we are thrilled to support Alanna in the positive momentum of the organization.”

Keep Knoxville Beautiful’s mission is to promote litter eradication, recycling, and beautification efforts in Knox County communities using education, events, and volunteer engagement.

“I am excited to be back with Keep Knoxville Beautiful as the executive director,” said McKissack. “I have a passion for community improvement and environmental sustainability, and I am looking forward to sharing that passion with the great communities of Knox County and building on the amazing work that KKB has already achieved.”

Melnik, the executive director of Keep Knoxville Beautiful for the past two and half years, has been hired by the City of Knoxville to manage its Office of Solid Waste.

“I am thrilled that Alanna will be KKB’s next executive director,” added Melnik. “Her experience as an affiliate executive director and her hands-on knowledge of KKB make her the perfect person for the job. I’m excited to watch the growth of the organization under her excellent leadership.”

About Keep Knoxville Beautiful

Founded in 1978 to help “clean up” prior to the 1982 World’s Fair, Keep Knoxville Beautiful is a local non-profit with a mission to promote a cleaner, greener, and more beautiful community.

Emporium features new works

KNOXVILLE – The Arts & Culture Alliance is pleased to present five new exhibitions at the Emporium Center in downtown Knoxville from January 5-26, 2018. A reception will take place on Friday, January 5, from 5:00-9:00 PM as part of First Friday activities downtown to which the public is invited to meet the artists and view the artwork. Knoxville jazz musicians Will Boyd and Kelle Jolly will perform during the reception, and Juice Bar – Market Square will provide tastings of their juice, smoothies and food. Most of the works are for sale and may be purchased through the close of the exhibition.

Genevieve S. Byrd: Pour L’amour des Chevaux in the lower gallery. Photo courtesy the artist.

Genevieve S. Byrd specializes in equestrian paintings and will display artwork created with pencil, oil, watercolor and acrylic in this solo exhibition. An avid equestrian herself, Byrd has worked with horses for her entire life. As a child, she rode on her family farm and competed for East TN Hunter/Jumper Association, and then she continued to ride for the Intercollegiate Equestrian Team at the University of Tennessee. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in Drawing from UT-Knoxville, graduating in 1999. Specializing in pastel, watercolor and oil paint, her works include a variety of mediums. Some of her current work is featured in veterinary hospitals, art galleries, restaurants, private collections and various businesses throughout Georgia, Maryland, California and Tennessee.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Commission Gallery of Arts Tribute in the Balcony gallery
The MLK Gallery of Arts Tribute will kick-off the 2018 King Week Celebration (January 10-15, 2018). The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Commission is partnering with the Arts & Culture Alliance of Greater Knoxville to provide this annual exhibition. The Galley of Arts Tribute is a juried exhibition developed to recognize local artists and most importantly honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The exhibit will feature works by local artists reflecting the 2018 theme, Transforming the Community by Committing to Service, attributed to the Dream and the Dreamer who affirmed, “Everybody can be great because everybody can serve.” Works in the exhibitions may also be a reflection of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and have pertinence to the themes of Unity, Community, Love, Reconciliation, Social Justice, and Civil Rights.

Jo Marie Brotherton has been passionate about glass her entire life, and the fascination has gotten more intense. The orb is the unspoken visceral shape to which humanity is drawn. Held, it allows the viewer to have ownership in the exploration of visual absorption. Her work forces the viewer to engage in rotating it to explore. In creating a finished piece, there is a peace coupled with challenged anxiety when she is sitting at the flame. Both have drawn her into pushing herself and her work.

Renee Mathies is a glass and metal artist that loves to play with fire. She is a member of the International Society of Glass Beadmakers, the Smoky Mountain Firecrackers, and The Creative Hands Street Team which is an East Tennessee group of Etsy sellers. She loves to sell her work in person at shows because it gives her a chance to show people the craft and work it requires. Her media include handmade glass beads, acid etched copper, forged copper, and bronze and sterling jewelry components. Every piece comes out unique. Teaching glass beadmaking (lampworking) and metalsmithing have become her passion.

Cheryl Prose will display encaustic wall art, handmade books, artist jewelry featuring wire work, lampwork beads, and mixed metal. Prose is a bookbinder and mixed media artist. She is a co-founder and coordinator of the Knoxville Book Arts Guild. She frequently serves as a studio and instructor’s assistant at Penland School of Arts and Crafts, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, and John C. Campbell Folk School. Her work has shown in numerous group exhibits in Knoxville and Lenoir City as well as Shelby, NC and Asheville, NC. Her work is published in Eco Books: Inventive Projects from the Recycling Bin by Lark Press. She has worked as an assistant binder at The Gilded Leaf Bindery: Fine Bookbinding and Restoration in Maryville since 2013.

Sam Stapleton: Stilled Life on the North Wall
As the son of a 40-year employee of Eastman Kodak, photography seemed ordained to be a meaningful part of Sam Stapleton’s life, if not his livelihood. His first camera, a Kodak Brownie, was purchased with money earned at Eastman, and among his first images were photos of the smoke plume rising from the 1960 Eastman plant explosion that killed 16 employees including one of his neighbors. Through the years, his dedication to the varying pursuits of rock concert photography, color landscape imagery, magazine collaboration with his freelance writer/wife, Patricia Hudson, as well as black and white portraiture arising from the births of two daughters, have led inexorably to the maturation of his photographic vision. “I now see myself engaged in a continual search for beauty in the hidden recesses of nature,” says Sam Stapleton.

Carol Robin King: Jewelry For The Walls in the Atrium
Tennessee artist Carol Robin King was born and raised in Argentina as a daughter of foreign missionaries. She remembers loving drawing as early as the age of three. While in Argentina, she attended a professional art school for several years and continues learning through workshops, books and videos. King has had opportunities to paint commissions and create illustrations as well as teach art classes for children and teens in a private school setting. King works in various mediums including watercolor, acrylics, and pastel and she recently began working in bas relief 3D art with drywall. She currently resides in Kodak.

The exhibitions are on display at the Emporium Center, 100 S. Gay Street, in downtown Knoxville. Exhibition hours are Monday-Friday, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM. Please note, the Emporium will be closed on Monday, January 15. For more information, please contact the Arts & Culture Alliance at (865) 523-7543.

Gerdau helps warm the holidays

KNOXVILLE, TN – In a tradition dating back to December 2000, Gerdau helped “warm up” the holidays and the cold winter months for 401 Lonsdale Elementary School students at its 18th Annual Mitten Tree held Dec. 4, 2017. Through the event, Gerdau provides hats, mittens, holiday treats and a visit from Santa for each child at the school. The gathering is a highlight for both Gerdau employees and Lonsdale staff and students.

“The Mitten Tree is something our students look forward to and truly appreciate,” Lonsdale Principal Wendy Hansard said. “Gerdau brings in the perfect hats and mittens, and we enjoy seeing our kids wearing them as they walk to school each day and pull them back out again to enjoy the playground.

“It’s fun to see the children’s faces light up as they talk with Santa before selecting their mittens. We appreciate the men and women at Gerdau for bringing this celebration to our school year after year.”

Gerdau Knoxville Vice President and General Manager John Miller (center) is joined by, from left, Lonsdale Elementary School kindergarten students Mare’Anna McCord and Ana Juan Pascual after the children made their selections at the steel recycling company’s annual Mitten Tree event at the school Dec. 4. Gerdau has provided hats, mittens, holiday treats and a visit from Santa to the school’s students each year since 2000. Photo submitted.

Gerdau enjoys celebrating with the students who live in the community near the steel recycler.

“The Mitten Tree provides a meaningful way to celebrate the holidays by supporting and spending time with the students in our own backyard,” Gerdau Vice President and General Manager Johnny Miller said. “I particularly enjoy the kids’ smiles as they tell their wishes to Santa.”

Gerdau has a robust social responsibility program that focuses on providing community support in the locations where it operates.


Santa visits Knoxville Zoo

Knoxville, Tenn. – Santa Claus is coming to Zoo Knoxville and will be in residence at Santa’s Village this Thursday, Dec. 14 through Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017, from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. daily. Santa Claus will be listening to Christmas wishes and available for photos in the festively decorated Santa’s Village, located in the zoo’s Kids Cove area. Guests will have the option to purchase portraits taken by a professional photographer and can take their own photos.

Complimentary event activities included with general admission are a visit with Santa Claus, reindeer games, holiday crafts and a story time each day at 12:30 p.m. Kids can also write a letter to Santa and they will receive a personal reply from Santa himself in the mail after their visit. For an additional ticket, rides will be available on the “Polar Express” train and kids can opt for a face-painting session for some holiday flair.

All activities take place in the enclosed and heated Kids Cove tent for guests’ comfort. Now through February 28, 2018, zoo admission tickets are $5 off during Kroger Discount Days.

Zoo Knoxville is a nonprofit entity situated on 53 wooded acres just east of downtown Knoxville. Visit zooknoxville.org.

Big Ears Fest announces line-up

Regarded as one of the most unique, boundary-defying and eagerly anticipated cultural gatherings in the world – “a music festival with a rare vision” (The New York Times) – the Big Ears Festival returns in 2018 with perhaps its most multi-faceted and diverse line up to date. Spanning four days – Thursday, March 22, 2018 through Sunday, March 25 – the festival will again feature over 100 performances in venues throughout downtown Knoxville, Tennessee, from the city’s historic theaters and churches to clubs, galleries, warehouses and listening rooms, along with some surprise locations.

As always, the Big Ears Festival experience is curated to lure audiences into an unfolding, kaleidoscopic musical adventure. Swinging traditional jazz, mesmerizing fiddle tunes, plaintive ballads and rousing spirituals will be heard alongside atmospheric orchestral textures, hypnotic electronics, North African trance music and bold flights of sonic imagination.

“I think this year’s festival may have more depth and breadth than ever before,” says Big Ears Founder and Artistic Director Ashley Capps. “Some powerful themes emerged during the planning process – there’s a deep spiritual thread running through much of the music, along with some brilliant work that is especially potent in our current political climate. There continues to be a strong female presence in the festival. Perhaps most importantly is a very dynamic interaction between the global – the internationally acclaimed artists – and the local – our own indigenous culture and sense of place and community. That’s especially exciting to me.”

Big Ears 2018 lineup:
Abigail Washburn & Wu Fei
Aine O’Dwyer performs William Eggleston’s “Musik”
Anna & Elizabeth
Anna Thorvaldsdottir: “In The Light Of Air” performed by International Contemporary Ensemble
Anoushka Shankar: “Land of Gold”
Arto Lindsay
Bang on a Can All Stars celebrate their 30th anniversary with works by David Lang, Michael Gordon and Julia Wolfe
Bang on a Can All Stars perform Julia Wolfe’s “Anthracite Fields”
Bang on a Can All Stars “Field Recordings”
Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn
Béla Fleck & Brooklyn Rider
Bonnie “Prince” Billy
“Brimstone & Glory” live score performed by Nief-Norf and Wordless Music
Brooklyn Rider
Cleek Schrey & David Behrman
Craig Taborn Quartet
Cyro Baptista & The “Banquet of the Spirits”
Cyro Baptista presents “Vira Loucos”
Diamanda Galás
Duet for Theremin & Lap Steel
Evan Parker’s Electro-Acoustic Ensemble
Four Tet
GAS (Wolfgang Voigt)
Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Innov Gnawa
International Contemporary Ensemble
Jaga Jazzist
Jaga Jazzist featuring Ståle Storløkken & Jon Balke
Jason Moran Duo with Milford Graves
Jason Moran presents Fats Waller Dance Party
BANGS (Jason Moran, Mary Halvorson and Ron Miles)
Jenny Hval
Jenny Scheinman presents “Kannapolis: A Moving Portrait”
Jenny Scheinman’s “Mischief & Mayhem” with Nels Cline & Scott Amendola
Juana Molina
Julie Byrne
Kelly Lee Owens
Kid Koala’s “Satellite” Turntable Orchestra
Knoxville Symphony Strings performs “Were You There” with baritone Davone Tines
Laurel Halo (Live with Eli Keszler)
Lightning Bolt
Medeski Martin & Wood
Milford Graves
Nels Cline: “Lovers” with the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra and guests
Peter Evans Ensemble
Rocket Science (Peter Evans, Sam Pluta, Craig Taborn, Evan Parker)
Roscoe Mitchell Trios
Rova: “The Sound in Space Project”
Rova Channeling Coltrane: “Electric Ascension”
Sam Amidon
Steve Gunn
Stian Westerhus
“Go Dig My Grave” featuring Giovanna Pessi, Frode Haltli, Cheyenne Mize and Susanna
Tal National
The Black Twig Pickers
The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitanda performed by The Sai Anantam Ashram Singers
The Jerry Douglas Band
The Thing
Tyshawn Sorey Trio

Visit BigEarsFestival.org.

Knoxville TN invaded by elves

The concept of having an elf on your shelf is nothing new, but downtown Knoxville has taken the playful idea and transformed the city into a giant Elf on the Shelf Adventure for the holidays now through January 7, 2018; This event is a fun-filled holiday scavenger hunt for the young and young at heart as they search for Santa’s magical helpers in downtown Knoxville.

Scout Elves have already been sent from the North Pole by Santa to more than two dozen Knoxville businesses. Participants may visit any of the participating locations and pick up an Elf on the Shelf North Pole Pass. Then, participants collect a store stamp at each Scout Elf sighting…and continue the adventure throughout downtown Knoxville.

Diligent seekers collecting twenty or more stamps will be entered to win grand prizes of downtown merchandise and gift cards. There will also be lots of fun, treats, and additional prizes along the way.

Visit downtownknoxville.org.

Holiday Market is December 9-10

Broadway Studios and Gallery, located at 1127 N Broadway in downtown Knoxville will host their Holiday Art Market Sale Saturday Dec. 9, 2017, from 10am-6pm and Sunday Dec. 10, from 12-5pm.

“All 11 of our artists have taken over every inch of our collective space to present one of a kind gifts for your Christmas shopping list,” says organizer Jessica Gregory. “Don’t settle for a mundane gift when you can find great deals on original art and customs products with us.”

The 2017 Holiday Market at Broadway Studios and Gallery will feature jewelry, paintings, ornaments, art prints, corn shuck dolls, greeting cards, handmade soaps and beauty products, sculpture, photographs, totes, stained glass, coasters, and sculpture made from recycled materials. Photo submitted.

Visit: www.BroadwayStudiosAndGallery.com

Push-ups for Pennies raises $15k

KNOXVILLE, TN – Push-ups for Pennies, a fundraiser sponsored by Pilot Flying J, has raised more than $15,000 for Knoxville Challenger Sports, an organization that provides sports opportunities for children and young adults with special needs. Team members participated in the first annual Push-ups for Pennies event by securing monetary pledges for each push-up they could complete during a week-long span in November. Pilot Flying J also sold T-shirts as part of the fundraiser, which the company plans to host annually each November.

“We launched Push-ups for Pennies to show support for an organization that gives back to our community beyond measure,” said Josh Perrin, director of Operations Support for Pilot Flying J. “Knoxville Challenger Sports makes a tremendous impact in the lives of people with special needs by helping them come together and enjoy fun sports activities, and our team was proud to push our abilities to the limit to raise funds for them.”

Knoxville Challenger Sports provides participants opportunities in baseball, basketball, golf, swimming and bowling. In addition to the monetary donation, Pilot Flying J provided sports equipment to the organization.

Nic Arning of Knoxville Challenger Sports (center) and Pilot Flying J team members celebrate the donation of more than $15,000, along with new athletic equipment, with participants of Knoxville Challenger Sports and their families at Pilot Flying J headquarters on Nov. 17, 2017. The money was raised through Pilot Flying J’s “Push-ups for Pennies” program. Photo submitted.

Kroger sponsors Zoo discount days

KNOXVILLE, TN – Zoo Knoxville is offering $5 off admission tickets during Kroger Discount Days, December 1 through February 28, 2018. During these Kroger Discount Days, guests can discover why winter is an enjoyable time to visit the zoo. Many animals, including red pandas, river otters, elephants, gorillas, red wolves, lions and tigers, enjoy the cooler temperatures. On days when the temperature drops below 40 degrees, some animals will be moved indoors, but visitors can still see many in their indoor viewing areas.

The Pilot Flying J Wee Play Adventure is a popular indoor area that’s an entertaining stop for creative play during visits as well. A December trip to the zoo may even include a visit to Santa’s Village, a special holiday encounter and photo opportunity with Santa Claus. Santa’s Village will be open for holiday photos and Christmas wishes December 14 through 17, from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. each day in the heated Kids Cove tent.

Discounted tickets can be purchased at the zoo ticket window during regular zoo hours and online at zooknoxville.org. Discounted admission tickets must be used by Feb. 28, 2018, and cannot be combined with any other promotion, discount, or coupon. Photo: Hamadryas Baboons, Zoo Knoxville.