Photo exhibit calls for artists

The Arts & Culture Alliance of Greater Knoxville announces a call for photographic works for its fifth annual Knoxville Photo 2017. The national call for entries is open to all artists. This juried exhibition was developed to provide a forum for artists to compete on a national scale and display their work. Approximately 40-50 photographic works from both emerging and established artists will comprise the exhibition in the main gallery of the beautifully-restored Emporium Center at 100 S. Gay Street, Knoxville’s downtown arts anchor location, from July 7-28, 2017. The Emporium is free and open to the public Monday-Friday, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM and additional hours for special events.

The deadline for entries to be received is Sunday, April 23, 2017.

Prizes include over $1,000 in cash awards, and exhibiting artists will receive a catalog of the exhibition.

Artists may view the information, complete the entry form, and/or download an application at

The call for entries is open to all artists. Entries must be original works taken within the last two years in the following categories: The Human Experience, Our Earth, Still Life, Travel, and Digital Imagination. The nonrefundable entry fee is $30 for up to three images ($20 for Arts & Culture Alliance members and students). Up to seven additional images may be submitted for $5/each ($4 for members/students).

Juror Baldwin Lee’s educational background includes an undergraduate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he studied with Minor White and a graduate degree from the Yale School of Art where he studied with Walker Evans. Lee’s work in photography has been shown widely including venues such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York. His work has been recognized by the award of a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. Lee teaches photography classes of all levels, spanning traditional silver-based image making through photography made by digital means. His efforts in the classroom have been honored with the University’s two highest teaching distinctions: the UT National Alumni Association Outstanding Teaching Award and the Chancellor’s Excellence in Teaching Award. For more information about Baldwin Lee, please visit

Knoxville Photo 2016 Best of Show – “Enigma” by Nathan Dean. Photo courtesy Arts & Culture Alliance. The Arts & Culture Alliance serves and supports a diverse community of artists, arts organizations, and cultural institutions. The Alliance receives financial support from the Tennessee Arts Commission, the City of Knoxville, and First Tennessee Foundation.

KKB presents 2017 Orchid Awards

Keep Knoxville Beautiful will host its annual Orchid Awards dinner on March 7, 2017 at 6:00 at The Standard, 416 W. Jackson Avenue. The evening will include live music, live painting by muralist Perry Dodson, a silent auction with complimentary beer and wine reception, dinner, and the awards ceremony. Gale Fulton, Director of the School of Landscape Architecture at the University of Tennessee, is the speaker.

Awards will be presented to winners in six different categories: Environmental Stewardship, New Architecture, Outdoor Spaces, Public Art, Redesign/Reuse, and Restaurant/Café/Bar/Brewery.

“Each year the list of nominees reveals a snapshot of the progress and values of our developing city,” stated Keep Knoxville Beautiful Executive Director Patience Melnik. “The Redesign/Reuse category continues to be our strongest, with projects exemplifying the continued rebirth of downtown Knoxville. We were also very pleased to see a big jump in the number of strong contenders for the Public Art award. And while there were only three Environmental Stewardship nominees, they are large or culturally significant projects. As an organization with an environmental mission, we are especially excited about these additions to our community.”

The nominees for New Architecture are the Local Motors Microfactory, the Market Square Restroom Facilities, Mountain Commerce Bank, the Natalie Haslam Music Center, and the Student Union at the University of Tennessee. The nominees for Outdoor Spaces are the Baker Creek Preserve, the Blueberry Falls Extension at the University of Tennessee, Hank Rappe Playground at Lakeshore Park, the Old City Gardens, the Secret Garden at the Knoxville Botanical Garden Arboretum, and Suttree Landing Park.

The nominees for Public Art are the Alliance Brewing Company mural, the Chilhowee Park mural, the Jerry’s Artarama mural, Pat Summit Plaza, The Emporium Center Underground Mural, and the Third Creek Greenway mural.

The nominees for Redesign/Reuse are Anderson and Rahman Dermatology, Geo Hair Lab, the Locust Street Pedestrian Bridge, Lululemon Athletica, Patricia Nash Designs, the Powell Airplane Service Station, the Depot at Powell Station, Premier Surgical Associates at Papermill, The Daniel, The Mill and Mine, the Kennedy-Walker-Baker-Sherill House, the 6th Avenue Warehouses, and the 1894 Saloon Building.

The nominees for Restaurant/Café/Bar/Brewery are: A Dopo Sourdough Pizza, Alliance Brewing Company, Balter Beerworks, J.C. Holdway, Juice Bar in Market Square, K Brew, Lonesome Dove, Remedy Coffee, Schulz Bräu Brewing Company, and Wild Love Bakehouse.

Additionally, The Mary Lou Horner Beautification Award will be granted to a former Orchid Award winner whose property remains Orchid-worthy.

Keep Knoxville Beautiful is honored to have the East Tennessee Community Design Center serve as judges of the dozens of award nominations.

The nominees for Environmental Stewardship are the Beardsley Farm Education Center, the City of Knoxville Public Works Complex, and the Joint Institute for Advanced Materials.

For tickets, please visit

All proceeds benefit Keep Knoxville Beautiful’s programs.

Dale Dickey to be awarded by CBT

Knoxville native and University of Tennessee alumna, Dale Dickey, will be awarded the CBT Artistic Achievement Award at the Clarence Brown Theatre’s annual Gala to be held Saturday, May 20, 2017 at 6:30pm at Jackson Terminal, 205 W. Jackson Avenue in Knoxville, TN.

Called the “reigning queen of Southern gothic,” Dickey began acting on the University of Tennessee stages at age nine, and participated in more than 20 productions before she became a theatre major at the University in 1979.

Maintaining her ties to the University and the Clarence Brown Theatre, she returned on multiple occasions to work directly with students and star in several productions, including “The Rainmaker,” “Steel Magnolias,” “A Streetcar Named Desire,” and “Sweeney Todd.”

She has worked on close to 50 television projects – guest starring on shows such as “Frasier,” “ER,” “The X-Files,” “CSI,” “The Closer,” and “2 Broke Girls,” as well as television films such as Disney’s “Princess Protection Program” and A&E’s miniseries “Bonnie and Clyde.” She is best known for her recurring roles on “Christy,” “My Name is Earl,” “Breaking Bad,” “Justified,” and as the grandmother wolf on “True Blood.” Most recently, she completed work on a series for HBO with Danny McBride, called “Vice Principals.”

With close to 40 film credits, Dale Dickey has worked alongside some of the most accomplished actors in the film industry including Jack Nicholson, Robert De Niro, Barbara Streisand, and Robert Downey Jr. in such movies as “The Pledge,” “Being Flynn,” and “Iron Man 3.” Most recently, she appeared in the Academy Award-nominated movie “Hell or High Water” with Jeff Bridges. She also appeared in several independent films, and won the Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female for her role in “Winter’s Bone.” Photo courtesy CBT.

“Dale Dickey is well-known to Knoxville audiences. Her professional success is matched by her professional generosity. And we are grateful for the many times she has shared her artistry on the CBT stage and shared with our students her inspiring talent,” said CBT Producing Artistic Director Calvin MacLean.

Tickets go on sale April 17. Visit us online at for more information.

Basketball Hall of Fame names finalists

Knoxville, TN – The Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame announced its 12 finalists for induction into the 2017 Hall of Fame; they are: Yelena Baranova (player), Rose Marie Battaglia (coach), Sally Bell (official), Evelyn Blalock (coach), Joan Bonvicini (coach), Nora Lynn Finch (contributor), Christine Grant (contributor), Rick Insell (coach), Louise O’Neal (veteran), Crystal Robinson (player), Sheryl Swoopes (player), and Kara Wolters (player).

The six-member Class of 2017 will be selected from the 12 finalists and announced on ESPN on February 12.

The Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Board of Directors serves as the selection committee in determining the individuals to be inducted each year. Voting is based on minimum candidate requirements, which include record of performance, national or international recognition, and contributions to the game of women’s basketball.

The mission of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame is to “honor the past, celebrate the present, and promote the future” of women’s basketball.

For information regarding the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame or the 2017 Induction Ceremony please visit

Poet Joy Harjo reads at UT

Internationally recognized poet, author, musician, and playwright Joy Harjo will read from her work on the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, campus as part of the Writers in the Library reading series. Harjo’s reading on Monday, January 23, 2017 will take place in the John C. Hodges Library auditorium at 7 p.m. The reading is free and open to the public.

Joy Harjo is the author of fourteen books, including eight books of poetry and two chapbooks. Her most recent book of poems, Conflict Resolution with Holy Beings (W.W. Norton, 2015) won the Wallace Stevens Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Academy of American Poets. Other well-known volumes of poetry include How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems, The Woman Who Fell from the Sky, In Mad Love and War, and She Had Some Horses. A few of her many honors include a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, the New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas, and the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. For A Girl Becoming, a young adult/coming-of-age book, was released in 2009.

Harjo is currently working on a play, Wings of Night Sky, Wings of Morning Light, forthcoming from Wesleyan University, and Song Lines of Justice, a historical memoir, for W. W. Norton. Her musical play, “We Were There When Jazz Was Born,” has been commissioned by the New York Public Theater. Harjo has released five award-winning CDs of original music and in 2009 won a Native American Music Award (NAMMY) for Best Female Artist of the Year for Winding Through the Milky Way. Her most recent CD release is a traditional flute album, Red Dreams, A Trail Beyond Tears. She performs nationally and internationally with her band, the Arrow Dynamics. She has received a Rasmuson US Artists Fellowship and is a founding board member of the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation. Harjo writes a column, “Comings and Goings,” for her tribal newspaper, the Muscogee Nation News.

Harjo was appointed to a Chair of Excellence in Creative Writing at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in 2016. She brings to the Creative Writing Program and to the university expertise in Native American studies, as well as distinction in poetry, creative non-fiction, drama, children’s books, and music. Her public service is as extensive as her publications. Currently she is co-judging the 2015 National Book Award in poetry.

Writers in the Library is sponsored by the UT Libraries and the Creative Writing Program in association with the John C. Hodges Better English Fund. For more information, contact Erin Elizabeth Smith, Jack E. Reese Writer-in-Residence at the UT Libraries, at

Call for artists: Arts in the Airport

The Arts & Culture Alliance of Greater Knoxville and the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority (McGhee Tyson Airport) announce a call for entries for the 17th Arts in the Airport, a juried exhibition developed to allow regional artists to compete and display work in the most visited site in the area.

Approximately 40-45 fine art works encompassing all styles and genres from both emerging and established artists will comprise the exhibition in the secured area behind McGhee Tyson Airport’s security gate checkpoint from April 27 – October 18, 2017.

The deadline for entries to be received is Sunday, March 12, 2017.

Prizes include at least $1,000 in cash awards.

Artists may view the information, complete the entry form, and/or download an application at

The call for entries is open to all artists 18 years and older residing in the 33 counties of East Tennessee. Each artist may submit up to five entries which must be original works in the following categories: 2-D (painting, drawing, mixed media, printmaking, photography) and 3-D (sculpture of all media). The nonrefundable entry fee is $30 for up to five works (free for Arts & Culture Alliance members). The $30 entry fee includes a six-month membership in the Arts & Culture Alliance.

About the juror: Terri Jordan has been working in and with the arts for more than 20 years. She is the exhibits curator of the Customs House Museum in Clarksville, Tennessee, as well as a fine artist working in oils and acrylics. Ms. Jordan has been involved with nonprofit arts organizations, sitting on the Board of Directors for the Mid-Cumberland Arts League and the Tennessee Art League. Her narrative figurative paintings have been exhibited in group and solo shows throughout the country. She has won numerous awards for her paintings and is in collections from New York to California, Italy and England.

The current Arts in the Airport exhibition features the work of 40 artists in the East Tennessee region. Image: “Spring Morning, John Messer Cantilever Barn” (Oil on linen) by Mike Gaylon.

Knoxville Writers meet January 5

New York Times bestselling author Bob Mayer will talk about changes in the publishing industry at the 7 p.m., Jan. 5, 2016 meeting of the Knoxville Writers’ Guild. The public is invited to the program, which will be at the Fellowship Hall of Knoxville’s Central United Methodist Church, 201 East Third Avenue. Enter at the back, where parking is free and plentiful. Admission is a suggested $2. The building is handicapped accessible.

Mayer, author of more than 70 books including the #1 bestselling series Area 51, Atlantis, and the Green Berets, will help authors navigate through the latest information on various forms of publishing options.

“Publishing is changing exponentially, and today’s writer must be aware of these changes in order to succeed. This workshop is designed to help authors navigate through the latest information on various forms of publishing options,” he said.

He will talk about traditional, ePublishing, Print on Demand, self-publishing, vanity, and more. “We will cover the advantages and disadvantages all these venues to help you, the writer, decide what’s the best choice for you and your work,” he said.

Mayer is a graduate of West Point and a former Green Beret (including commanding an A-Team). Born in the Bronx and having traveled the world (usually not the tourist spots), he now lives peacefully with his wife and two Labs. His web site is

Orchid Award nominations sought

Keep Knoxville Beautiful is now accepting nominations from the public for its beautification awards, the Orchids. Since 1979, Keep Knoxville Beautiful has presented Orchid Awards to Knoxville and Knox County buildings and outdoor spaces that beautify and elevate the local landscape.

Orchid Awards will be granted in the following categories:

New Architecture



Outdoor Space (Parks, Patios, Rooftop Gardens, Neighborhoods, etc.)

Public Art (Murals, Sculptures, Signage, etc.)

Environmental Stewardship (Properties that incorporate renewable materials, energy efficiency, LEED certification and/or other sustainable building practices)

Anyone can nominate a location or outdoor public artwork by completing a simple online form on Keep Knoxville Beautiful’s website,, or by calling the office at 865-521- 6957. Private residences are not considered for this award. Properties that received an Orchid Award since 2007 are ineligible except in cases of major renovations. For a list of previous winners, visit the Keep Knoxville Beautiful website.

Nominations are due by Friday, December 16, 2016.

Keep Knoxville Beautiful is honored to have the East Tennessee Community Design Center serve as judges of the dozens of award nominations. Keep Knoxville Beautiful will announce the winners of the beautification awards at the annual Orchids Awards Dinner on Tuesday, March 7, 2017 at 6:00 at The Standard, 416 W. Jackson Avenue.

For more information, contact Keep Knoxville Beautiful at


Horror fest pays tribute to genre

by Laura Long. —Last night’s short films screenings for the Knoxville Horror Film Festival at Scruffy City Music Hall showed the growing popularity of the genre as well as increasing diversity among fans and participants of the festival. Organizers William Mahaffey, Nick and Kim Huinker, and volunteers scrambled to take care of the packed venue as attendance numbers exceeded expectations.

“We actually had to go downstairs to get more chairs, which was great,” Mahaffey said in a phone interview with Celebrate Knoxville. “Having the last night and awards at Scruffy City (which seats between 150 and 200 including the balcony) gave us greater visibility than we had before at Relix (Variety Theatre).”


Horror fans gather at Scruffy City Music Hall in downtown Knoxville for the last night of the Knoxville Horror Film festival held October 21-23, 2016. The evening screenings included eleven short films and the feature “Beyond The Gates,” which won the festival’s Special Jury Prize, Emerging Vision award. Photo by Laura Long.

Editor’s Note: “Beyond the Gates features an Elvira-ish performance by Barbara Crampton, known for her roles in Re-Animator (1985), Chopping Mall (1986), From Beyond (1986), Castle Freak (1995), You’re Next (2011), and We Are Still Here (2015).

Mahaffey said that Scruffy City Music Hall in Market Square also provides the event with better quality projection screening and sound, along with an on-staff technical person to help with challenges that sometimes occur with film festivals. Even though the submission requirements for format are specific, things happen. This year, there were some glitches, and Mahaffey said they rescreened a couple films on a different day once the problems had been worked out.

“We had 150 submissions for the festival this year, ten from Tennessee, with more female directors and more female involvement that ever before,” Mahaffey said, also acknowledging that Sunday night’s short film audience also had more people of color than in years past.


This year’s Knoxville Horror Film Festival also included an earlier screening of Phantasm 3, from the 1979 franchise and fan favorite that often lands on best-of lists. Here, a decorative take on the the well-known deadly orbs from the Phantasm films line the festival stage at Scruffy City Music Hall. Photo by Laura Long.

“Horror is huge right now, and indie horror is big, and I am amazed at the number and popularity of television programs available right now with horror themes, including The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, the Exorcist show, and Ash vs. Evil Dead,” Mahaffey said.

Fans of the Knoxville Horror Film Festival say one of the best features of the festival is the FREE monthly events that occur in other places around town that help promote the event. Attendance has grown, as well as the number of corporate sponsors. The Grindhouse Grindout local film part of the festival, which encourages local filmmaking, is one way that organizers hope to encourage local films. Utilizing the talents of local artist Adam Deal (who designs the T-shirts, swag, and web presence) helps to connect artists of all kinds to the event each year.

“We’ve grown a lot since that one night at Pilot Light (Venue in the Old City) eight years ago to the three-day festival we have now plus monthly events,” Mahaffey said. “I work on the festival year round.”

The Knoxville Horror Film Festival features awards for 2016 include:

Beyond The Gates

Fury of the Demon

Angela Trimbur, Trash Fire

Michael St Michaels, The Greasy Strangler

Bobby Miller, The Master Cleanse

Trash Fire

Trash Fire


Awarded to Cauchemar Capitonné and Death Metal

When Susurrus Stirs

Death Metal

Cauchemar Capitonné


Najarra Townsend, The Stylist

Pierre Teulières, Le Plan


The Call of Charlie


Bobby McGee, Ghost Hunter

Bobby McGee, Ghost Hunter


Toothless (There’s Something Wrong With The Power)

Operation (Iron Swann)

My Best Friend’s Husband And My Ex Diddled My Stepdaughter (Team Honey Cat)

Punk Rock Flop House Massacre (Bottomless Pit)

The ensemble in Teen Immortals vs The Nephilim (Fig City)

My Best Friend’s Husband And My Ex Diddled My Stepdaughter (Team Honey Cat)

Teen Immortals Vs The Nephilim

1. Teen Immortals vs The Nephilim (Fig City)
2. F***ed IV Death (70/30)
3. tied between Rip It (Mad House) & Punk Rock Flop House Massacre (Bottomless Pit)

The Two Sides of the Red Curtain (Skitchbook & Flashpoint Creative)


Cunningham wins state tourism award

The Tennessee Hospitality & Tourism Association (TnHTA) has named Jamie Cunningham, office manager for the Knoxville Civic Auditorium and Coliseum, statewide “Tourism Employee of the Year,” an award that recognizes exemplary professionalism and service by an employee whose outstanding performance goes above and beyond normal job responsibilities to provide excellent service to the property, guests and community. The “Stars of the Industry Awards” are presented to individuals, companies and industry partners whose commitment to hospitality and tourism has improved the overall industry statewide.

“Hospitality and tourism make up the state’s second largest industry,” TnHTA President and CEO Greg Adkins said. “The winners were selected to receive these honors by people who truly understand the level of commitment that is required to provide excellent service to customers on a daily basis – their peers. We’re honored to have them as part of our membership, and we congratulate them on a job well done.”


Jamie Cunningham received the 2016 Service/Supplier Employee of the Year Pauly Award from the Greater Knoxville Hospitality Association (GKHA) in May, 2016. Tennessee Hospitality & Tourism Association (TnHTA) recently named her statewide “Tourism Employee of the Year.” Photo submitted.

Both the GKHA and TnHTA awards recognized Cunningham for her initiative and ownership of any task assigned to her – even if they fell outside her job. Kristy Todd, human resources manager at the Knoxville Civic Auditorium and Coliseum, said Cunningham “walks into work with a smile and a positive attitude every day.”

“Jamie is an exceptional employee and well-deserving of this statewide recognition,” said Mary Bogert, general manager of the Knoxville Civic Auditorium and Coliseum. “Jamie always goes above and beyond with every task she is assigned and completes it with a smile. Our facility has the best employees and customer service, and it’s wonderful that the state association has recognized our team’s efforts.”

The Knoxville Civic Auditorium and Coliseum is conveniently located near the junction of Interstates 75 and 40 and sits downtown near the University of Tennessee campus.

Writers group names contest winners

The Knoxville Writers’ Guild is proud to announce winners from the 2016 Annual Writing Contest at the Thursday, Oct. 6 meeting. The meeting is open to the public and will begin at 7 p.m. in Central United Methodist Church’s Fellowship Hall at 201 E. Third Ave.

Attendees should enter off the large parking lot behind the church. A $2 donation is welcome at the door with free and accessible parking available.

This year, the KWG received more than 150 entries in the categories of poetry, creative nonfiction, novel excerpt, literary short fiction, and Young Writers. Several winners from these categories will read their winning entry at the meeting.

A complete list of winners will be available soon at

Carpetbag Theatre receives grant

The Carpetbag Theatre, Inc. is proud to announce the receipt of a major multi-year grant awarded from The Roy Cockrum Foundation in support of the organization’s 50th Anniversary Celebration Series.

The Carpetbag Theatre, Inc. will be utilizing the funds received to remount six of the most beloved plays from the theatre’s past, as well as supporting the future creation and development of Carpetbag’s newest original work currently entitled, “Bricks.”

With generous support from The Roy Cockrum Foundation, Carpetbag will be remounting these original works as fully produced performances at fully equipped Knoxville and Maryville, Tennessee venues. The performances will take place over the course of the three years leading up to the Anniversary celebration (2017, 2018, 2019) with two productions per year. CBT will invite former ensemble members who have remained in the professional field to return as guest artists and directors of the project.

The scheduled plays to be presented are as follows: Between A Ballad and A Blues, Nothin’ Nice, Dark Cowgirls and Prairie Queens, Ce Nitram Sacul, SWOPERA (a Spoken Word Opera), and Red Summer. The development of Carpetbag’s newest work, “Bricks” will trace the history of the African American brick making industry and its significance to the region.

The Carpetbag Theatre is a Professional African American Legacy Theater company with a rich history of service to diverse populations. As an intergenerational ensemble company, the company’s efforts are to engage communities of color and other disenfranchised communities. An ensemble company both artistically and administratively, CBT works collaboratively to fulfill this mission, to build communities and to develop social capital, emphasizing inclusion and cross-cultural dialogue.

The mission of The Roy Cockrum Foundation is to award grants to support world-class performing arts projects in not-for-profit professional theaters throughout the United States.

Knoxville Convention Center awarded

The Knoxville Convention Center has received a 2016 Prime Site Award from a national publication for meeting and event planners. The Knoxville Convention also is one of 18 facilities selected from the Southeast region and is the only facility being recognized in Tennessee. Prime Site award winners are the highest-rated facilities in the country as voted by the publication’s readers, who are promoters, planners and bookers of facilities and venues.

“We are particularly honored by this award because recipients are selected by the clients and industry partners that we work with every day,” said Mary Bogert, general manager for the Knoxville Convention Center. “Being voted a top facility by our clients and partners for the past decade demonstrates our staff’s commitment to excellent client and guest service.”

The Knoxville Convention Center is one of 33 SMG-managed facilities to earn the award this year. The awards were presented by Facilities & Destinations magazine.


The Knoxville Convention Center is located in downtown Knoxville adjacent to the Sunsphere. It boasts a 120,000-square- foot exhibit hall, 27,000 square-foot divisible ballroom and up to 25 meeting rooms. In 2013, the Knoxville Convention Center became the first LEED-certified convention center in the state of Tennessee for its green programs. Photo submitted.


HHS funding awarded to Knoxville area

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced nearly $156 million in funding to support 420 health centers in 47 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to increase access to integrated oral health care services and improve oral health outcomes for Health Center Program patients.

Cherokee Health Systems of Knoxville was among the seven cities in Tennessee receiving an award, and will be receiving $524,999.

This funding enables health centers to expand integrated oral health care services and increase the number of patients served. With these awards from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), health centers across the country will increase their oral health service capacity by hiring approximately 1,600 new dentists, dental hygienists, assistants, aides, and technicians to treat nearly 785,000 new patients.

“Oral health is an important part of our overall physical health and well-being,” said Secretary Burwell. “The funding we are awarding will reduce barriers to quality dental care for hundreds of thousands of Americans by bringing new oral health providers to health centers across the country.”


Covenant Health to award grants

KNOXVILLE, TN – Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon is currently accepting proposals for its Community Contribution Program, which will award funds for healthy living initiatives in East Tennessee. The deadline for the proposals is August 1, 2016.

Eligible applicants include nonprofits with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status and regional government entities that are considered nonprofit and serve Knox County and/or one of its eight contiguous counties: Anderson, Blount, Grainger, Jefferson, Loudon, Roane, Sevier and Union.

Projects should represent unique ideas, methods and approaches that utilize physical fitness activities


Improve quality of life in the community

Promote healthy living practices

Promote healthy eating habits in relation to physical activity

Support current programs promoting physical activity (i.e. supplies, equipment, materials or other similar items)

A combination of all of the above

Applicants may submit proposals up to $10,000, and multiple recipients may be selected. Proposals must be submitted by Monday, August 1. The award date will be no later than September 30, 2016.

Application forms are available at

Two Knoxvillians win SBA awards

The Small Business Administration’s Tennessee District Office recently presented the Tennessee Small Business Week Awards in Nashville. Two businesses in Knoxville received awards this year.

Distinguished winners of the Tennessee SBA Small Business Awards for 2016 are:

Tennessee SBA Small Business Person of the Year
Terence Douglas, President, Alliant Corporation, Knoxville, TN

Women-Owned Small Business of the Year
Angel Carrier, Tennessee Pour House, Gallatin, TN

Rural Small Business of the Year
Cherry Rains, Recycle Aerosol, LLC, Bells, TN

Minority Small Business of the Year
Terrell C. Carpenter, Carpenter Primary Healthcare, PLLC, Memphis, TN

Family Owned Small Business of the Year
Josh Knott, Cindy Knott, Knott’s Fine Foods, Paris, TN

Veteran Owned Small Business of the Year
Dennis Crossett, Performance Running of West Tennessee, Jackson, TN

Small Business Exporter of the Year
Jorge Sanabria, President, Expoquip, LLC, Knoxville, TN

The U.S. Small Business Administration was created in 1953 and since January 13, 2012, has served as a Cabinet-level agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation.  The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow businesses.  Through an extensive network of field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations, the SBA delivers its services to people throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam.



Foundation honors fathering skills

The Beta Theta Boulé Foundation of Knoxville will host an inaugural Father’s Day luncheon to celebrate the contributions of eight Knoxville area men and present the first Zaevion Dobson Scholarship to a local high school student.

The event will be held June 19, 2016 from 1:30-4 p.m. at The Foundry On The Fair Site, 747 World’s Fair Park Drive, in downtown Knoxville. Proceeds from the luncheon will help fund future scholarships for meritorious high school students in the Knoxville area.

Each of the eight honorees who will be recognized have demonstrated strong “fathering” skills and modeled leadership, commitment to educational achievement and civic responsibility.

“We believe these fathers and mentors strive to teach youth about equality, mutual respect for others and a devotion to democratic traditions,” Foundation President Harold Hicks said. “That’s why the foundation will recognize them, along with our first Zaevion Dobson Scholarship recipient, at our Father’s Day luncheon and community celebration.”

The honorees include:

Daryl Arnold, pastor of Overcoming Believers Church

Charles Crowe, director of the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Offices Procurement and Contracts Division

Steve Diggs, president and CEO of the Emerald Youth Foundation

Valentino Jefferson, quality engineer in Knoxville

Todd Kelly Sr., businessman and former University of Tennessee Vol football player

David Rausch, chief of the Knoxville Police Department

Rick Staples, vice president of 100 Black Men of Greater Knoxville

The late George Williams, longtime Alcoa public servant and co-founder of the Richard Williams Jr. Leadership Development Academy

Tickets are available by contacting Nathaniel Foster at 865-386- 4867 or by June 1. Admission to the luncheon is $50, and a portion of the donation is tax deductible. Additional scholarship donations to the foundation are welcome and can be mailed to the Beta Theta Boulé Foundation at P.O. Box 23034, Knoxville, TN, 37933.

The Beta Theta Boulé Foundation is a nonprofit organization affiliated with the African-American professional fraternity, Sigma Pi Phi Incorporated. The Knoxville Chapter, called Beta Theta Boulé, was organized 20 years ago and has a notable record of community service.


TN watercolors on display

The 35th Juried Exhibition of the Tennessee Watercolor Society will be hosted by the Arts and Culture Alliance of Greater Knoxville this year in the Balcony Gallery of the Emporium Center, 100 S. Gay Street, from May 20 to June 24, 2016.

Regular business hours are 9 am – 5 pm Monday through Friday. Extended hours to 7 pm on Friday, May 20, and 11 am to 3 pm on Saturday, May 21 accommodate the exhibition opening weekend activities. An early preview is available after the show is hung on May 13. Entrance into the Emporium is free and open to the public.

The Tennessee Watercolor Society (TnWS), founded in 1972, has represented the finest artists in the state for 44 years, having yearly juried exhibitions and more recently, biennial exhibitions. The 2016 Exhibition showcases 55 watermedia paintings chosen from close to 200 entries selected by the distinguished juror, John T. Salminen who is a signature member of numerous art societies, including the American Watercolor Society, the National Watercolor Society, and the Transparent Watercolor Society of America. He has won more than 220 national and international awards. His work is included in permanent collections in Asia, Europe and the United States.

His Life in a Song by Brenda Mills

His Life in a Song, by Brenda Mills. Watercolor on display for the 35th Juried Exhibition of the Tennessee Watercolor Society will be hosted by the Arts and Culture Alliance of Greater Knoxville this year in the Balcony Gallery of the Emporium Center, 100 S. Gay Street, from May 20 to June 24, 2016. Photo courtesy the artist.

Premier wins motorcoach award

Knoxville’s Premier Transportation, a market leader in customer safety and driver welfare, has been named 2016 Operator of the Year by the Tennessee Motor Coach Association (TMCA).

“At Premier Transportation, customers and employees are our top priorities,” said Nick Cazana, owner of Premier Transportation. “We use safety features and the latest technology to make our customers’ trips the best they can be. Our driver programs ensure that our employees are rested, alert and ready to complete their routes.”

With Tennessee operations in Knoxville, Chattanooga and Greeneville, Premier Transportation’s fleet is 100-percent seat belt-equipped, which will become federal law for all buses and coaches by the end of 2017. Premier’s buses have GPS tracking systems so administrators can locate them in the event of an emergency. The tracking system encourages a proactive safety environment for the Department of Defense-certified fleet.

Premier Transportation is a charter motor coach company, headquartered in Knoxville, Tenn. With additional offices in Greeneville and Chattanooga, the company has a fleet of nearly 40 motor coaches, each seating from 14 to 81 passengers and including various amenities.

For more information, visit

Berean seeks award nominations

Knoxville, TN – Berean Christian School is seeking award nominations for students, staff, and alumni who serve in the greater Knoxville area community. The public is invited to nominate any member of Berean who they think has stood out in the school or community through service, academics, or athletics.

Persons already nominated include Coach Chris Lindsay who was named TSSAA District 2 Coach of the Year, and Brianne McGill, a senior invited to teach English as a second language (ESL) in China this summer. Other nominees include student playwrights, basketball players who earned district honors, and an 8th grader who will be competing in the state Geographic Geography Bee.

Berean offers a wide variety of ways that students can get involved through clubs, volunteer opportunities and extracurricular activities. These experiences help to foster leadership.

To nominate a student, staff/faculty or alumnus for a Shine Brightly award, visit and click on the Shine Brightly tab to complete the form. Submissions will be featured on Berean’s blog and social media with the hashtag ‪#‎shinebrightlybcs.

Deadline for submissions is May 1, 2016.

Cat fanciers in Knoxville

KNOXVILLE – More than 200 feline competitors will gather at the Jacob Building in Chilhowee Park on Saturday, March 26, 2016 for the 39th Annual Tennessee Valley Cat Fanciers Association Cat Show.

Cats representing approximately 40 longhaired and shorthaired breeds will compete from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in three different categories: kittens between 4 and 8 months old, championship cats and premiership class. The championship and premiership classes are distinguished by whether or not a cat has been spayed or neutered (with the spayed or neutered cats competing in premiership).

“Cats are judged against physical characteristics that make up breed standards,” said Pennie Pendleton, show secretary for the Tennessee Valley Cat Fanciers Association. “There is a standard written by a national breed council for each cat breed. Those standards change over time, and new breeds are being recognized and added to competition.”

All purebred competitors are registered with the Cat Fanciers Association, a nonprofit organization that holds the world’s largest cat registry. The association also presents a household pet competition event for cats that are not documented as purebred.

“As breeders and fanciers, one of our goals is to help the public understand the proper care for their cats,” Pendleton said. “We showcase shelter groups and foster groups and invite them to bring cats for adoption. Shelters can enter their kitties who are looking for forever homes in our household cats’ events.”

The Tennessee Valley Cat Fanciers Association is affiliated with the international organization, which hosts more than 400 cat shows each year across the world. Competition rules are set by the international CFA organization, and judges are internationally certified by the CFA.

The event is open to the public. Tickets are $6 at the door for adults, and $4 for seniors and students.


Park and non-profit jointly awarded

GSMNP – Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Great Smoky Mountains Association (GSMA) were jointly awarded a prestigious national award during the recent Public Lands Alliance annual convention and trade show in Spokane, WA.

Superintendent Cash and Exec Dir Laurel Rematore

Park Superintendent Cassius Cash and GSMA Executive Director Laurel Rematore were recently awarded the Public Lands Partner Award which recognizes achievement to protect and preserve our country’s public lands. Photo submitted.

Judges placed special significance on GSMA and the park’s more recent effort in 2014 to open the Swain County Visitor Center in Bryson City, N.C., along with other partners including the Swain County Chamber of Commerce, Tennessee Valley Authority, and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

“Great Smoky Mountains Association supports us year after year in providing new products and services that help visitors better understand and enjoy the park,” said Park Superintendent Cassius Cash. “Through our partnership, we are inspired to continue developing unique opportunities to engage with our visitors as we celebrate the National Park Service Centennial and move into the second century of service.”

Formerly known as the Association of Partners for Public Lands, the Public Lands Alliance works to build and elevate effective nonprofit organizations and exceptional public-nonprofit partnerships for the benefit of public lands and their users.

Support for GSMA is derived primarily from visitors to the national park, center sales of ranger-approved educational products and membership dues.


Knoxville to name Orchid winners

Knoxville, TN. – On March 1, 2016 Keep Knoxville Beautiful will announce winners of its 34TH annual Orchids Awards Dinner, 6 p.m. at The Standard, 416 W. Jackson Ave.

The 2016 Orchids Awards will be presented to winners in three legacy categories (New Architecture, Redesign/Reuse, and Outdoor Space) and three new categories (Restaurant/Cafe/Bar/Brewery, Environmental Stewardship, and Public Art). The East Tennessee Community Design Center served as judges for the awards.

Additionally, The Mary Lou Horner Beautification Award will be granted to a former Orchids Award winner whose property remains Orchid-worthy. “As a founder of our organization, and a significant leader in improving the Knoxville community, Ms. Horner worked tirelessly to continue making Knoxville environmentally beautiful,” said Keep Knoxville Beautiful Executive Director Patience Melnik. “This award is a tribute to her pursuit of our mission.”

Also new in 2016 is the selection of a Community of the Year, which will be announced at the 2016 Orchid Awards Dinner. Keep Knoxville Beautiful supports all of Knoxville in its efforts but will provide enhanced beautification projects to the selected community in 2016.

Attendees will enjoy music by the Old City Buskers, a silent auction with complimentary beer and wine reception, dinner, and the awards ceremony.

Keep Knoxville Beautiful is a 501(c)3 organization that promotes litter eradication, recycling, and beautification efforts in Knox County communities using education, events, and volunteer engagement.

History awards nominations sought

The East Tennessee Historical Society (ETHS) invites the public for nominations for this year’s Awards of Excellence in the field of history.  These awards recognize individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the preservation, promotion, programming, and interpretation of the region’s history.

The deadline for nominations is April 8, 2016.  Winners will be recognized at the Society’s Annual Meeting held on May 3, in Knoxville.

Awards are in four categories:

The Award of Distinction recognizes a special project, such as publications, building preservation, or special program, such as a conference, heritage event, publication, lecture series, or other.

History in the Media Award is presented to someone in the field of television, radio, newspaper, magazine, or Internet, for outstanding contributions to the promotion of our region’s history.

Teaching Excellence Award is for outstanding or innovative teaching of history at any level, grades one through adult education.

The Society’s most prestigious recognition is the Ramsey Award for Lifetime Achievement. This award is reserved for one who, over the course of a lifetime, has made outstanding contributions to the understanding and preservation of East Tennessee history.

To request a nomination form, call 865-215-8824.

Knoxville seeks Poet Laureate

The Arts & Culture Alliance of Greater Knoxville invites 2016 nominations for Poet Laureate for the City of Knoxville.

Knoxville has a long and rich literary heritage. George Washington Harris’s Knoxville-based tales of Sut Lovingood were an influence on Mark Twain, William Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor. Frances Hodgson Burnett, author of The Secret Garden, wrote her first novel in Knoxville based on her experiences as an adolescent here. Pulitzer Prize winners James Agee and Cormac McCarthy both grew up in Knoxville, and the city figures prominently in their works. Poet Nikki Giovanni is a Knoxville native who attended Austin High School and has often written about her memories of the city.

The City of Knoxville Poet Laureate Program aims to extend and build on this heritage by recognizing and supporting citizen poets of exceptional talent and accomplishment.

The Poet Laureate shall serve a term of one year with an optional one-year renewal, beginning in the Summer of 2016, during which they shall serve as a public voice of Knoxville, creating city-specific works and participating in literary outreach and educational programs. The Poet Laureate will receive an annual honorarium of $3,000; the award should be considered honorific. The City of Knoxville shall retain license to use, reproduce, and compile the work created for the City by the Poet Laureate in his/her official capacity, but the Poet shall retain all other rights to the work.

The deadline for nominations to be received is Friday, April 1, 2016.

Legal residents of the corporate limits of the city of Knoxville may nominate a poet for the Poet Laureate position. Poets may not self-nominate. Those submitting nominations must be at least 21 years old.

Nomination forms, conditions for eligibility, and instructions for submission of nominations may be obtained from the Arts & Culture Alliance’s website at, or send an SASE to Liza Zenni, Arts & Culture Alliance, PO Box 2506, Knoxville, TN 37901.

About the Arts & Culture Alliance

The Arts & Culture Alliance serves and supports a diverse community of artists, arts organizations, and cultural institutions. The Alliance receives financial support from the Tennessee Arts Commission, the City of Knoxville, and First Tennessee Foundation.

Artists sought for Dreams exhibit

KNOXVILLE – Artists are invited to submit 2-D or 3-D works for Fountain City Art Center’s themed exhibit, “Dreams,” scheduled for January 15 through February 25, 2016.

Entries must reflect the theme, “Dreams,” and this year’s judge will be Dr. Chad Airhart of Carson Newman College.

The entry fee for non FCAC members is $20 per entry, $15 for FCAC members, with a limit of two entries per person whether 2-D or 3-D or one of each. One entry is allowed if 36” x 36” or larger, including the frame.  Works entered in a prior judged FCAC show are not accepted.

Work must be original. Parodies of famous artwork, if proper credit is given to the artist, will be accepted.

Awards will be: Best of Show, $150; First, $100; 2nd, $75; 3rd, $50; 4 Honorable Mentions, $25 each.

The Fountain City Art Center is located at 213 Hotel Avenue in Knoxville.

For more information, call 865-357-2787.




Nominations sought for Orchid awards

Keep Knoxville Beautiful is now accepting nominations from the public for its beautification awards, the Orchids. Since 1979, Keep Knoxville Beautiful has presented Orchid Awards to Knoxville and Knox County buildings and outdoor spaces that beautify and elevate the local landscape.

Orchid Awards will be granted in the following six categories:

  1. New Architecture
  2. Redesign/Reuse
  3. Restaurant/Cafe/Bar/Brewery
  4. Environmental Stewardship
  5. Outdoor Space
  6. Public Art

“This year we revamped a few of the categories to reflect some of the changes happening in our dynamic city,” said Patience Melnik, executive director of Keep Knoxville Beautiful, “We added the restaurant/brewery, environmental stewardship, and public art categories to celebrate these growing elements in our community.”

Anyone can nominate a location or outdoor public artwork by completing a simple online form on Keep Knoxville Beautiful’s website,, or by calling the office at 865-521-6957.

Private residences are not considered for this award. Properties can win only once except in cases of major renovations. Nominations are due by Friday, January 8, 2015.


Student art on display at KMA

The Knoxville Museum of Art and the Tennessee Art Education Association celebrates the 10th anniversary of the East Tennessee Regional Student Art Exhibition Friday, November 27, 2015 through Sunday, January 10, 2016.

Now in its tenth year, the exhibition offers middle and high school students from around East Tennessee the opportunity to participate in a juried exhibition and to display their talents and be honored for their accomplishments in a professional art museum environment.

Students, family, friends, and the public are invited to a reception and awards ceremony Tuesday, December 8 from 6 to 8pm at the Knoxville Museum of Art. The event is free and open to the public.

The East Tennessee Regional Student Art Exhibition is open to students in grades 6-12, attending public, private, or home schools in 32 counties across East Tennessee.

Since 2005, the East Tennessee Regional Student Art Exhibition has presented the work of nearly 3,000 students who have competed for a total of $7 million in scholarships made available to eligible juniors and seniors by colleges and universities from around the nation.
The Knoxville Museum of Art celebrates the art and artists of East Tennessee, presents new art and new ideas, serves and educates diverse audiences, and enhances Knoxville’s quality of life. The museum is located in downtown Knoxville at 1050 World’s Fair Park and is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday 10am–5pm, and Sunday 1pm-5pm. Admission and parking are free.

Best in Show, 2015, Esther Stiver,  12th Grade, Bearden High School, 'Trolls'

Best in Show, 2015, Esther Stiver, 12th Grade, Trolls, Bearden High School, Art Teacher Anna Halliwell Boyd. Image courtesy Knoxville Museum of Art.

Hedstrom wins design awards

The Tennessee Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (TNASLA) presented Knoxville’s Hedstrom Design with three honor awards this month at the 2015 awards. The juried awards are presented to a limited number of projects throughout the state deemed to display superior professional accomplishment.

Hedstrom Design - Armature Building Courtyard

Hedstrom worked with developer Dewhirst Properties on the design of this urban courtyard that serves the building’s residents. Hedstrom Design’s award-winning projects include the Twin City Nissan courtyard in Alcoa; the outdoor classroom and study area at the Lower School for Webb School of Knoxville; and the Armature Building courtyard in Knoxville. Photo submitted.

“I’m thankful for and very proud of the talented team of professionals at Hedstrom Design,” said Sara Pinnell, founder and director of design. “We share a passion for maximizing the function, value and beauty of open spaces. And we appreciate our clients that allow us to do what we love.”

Hedstrom Design is a full-service landscape architecture firm based in Knoxville, Tenn., with projects throughout the Southeast. The firm’s services range from small permit plans to large master plans and highly detailed construction drawings for custom residential, commercial, hospitality, mixed-use, retail, health care and senior living projects, along with urban design and planning projects; gardens and courtyards; and streetscapes and public spaces. Its client base comprises architects, engineers, developers, municipalities, agencies and individuals.

KWG names 2015 writing awards

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The Knoxville Writers’ Guild is excited to announce the winners of its annual writing contest. Out of the many entries received, 14 writers were selected for recognition in the 2015 Knoxville Writers’ Guild Contests. Winners for each category are listed below:

Leslie Garrett Award for Literary Fiction
First Place: “An Encounter with Yesterday” by Susan Lindsley
Second Place: “An Immodest Proposal” by Jane Sasser
Third Place: “Living in Shitsville” by Amber Hart

Genre Fiction
First Place: “The Old Lady and the Coyotes” by Susan Lindsley

Novel Excerpt
First Place: “Return to Taylor’s Crossing” by Janie Dempsey Watts
Second Place: “Prosperity” by Gerhard Schneibel
Third Place: “Our Little Domestic Heroine” by Carol J. Luther

Creative Nonfiction
First Place: “Hangin’ at the Dump” by Linda Myers
Second Place: “Accommodation” by Stephanie Levy
Third Place: “At the Clinic” by Diane Montgomery

Libba Moore Gray Award for Poetry
First Place: “Learning to Mother” by Connie Jordan Green
Second Place: “Flesh and Blood” by Carlos Andres Gomez
Third Place: “Migraineur” by Jane Sasser

Young Writers
First Place: “At the End of Tornado Alley” by Delaney Thurston

KWG congratulates the winners and expresses its thanks to all who participated. For more information about future contests and events, visit


FilmMakers blend real with imaginary fears

Looking to find an authentic, blood-curdling good fright for Halloween, five friends set off on a road trip in an RV to track down underground Haunted House attractions. That’s the basic plot of The Houses October Built, an American found footage horror film showing on Netflix (at the time of this writing). With autumn in the air and Halloween on the horizon, spoke with the director Bobby Roe and producer Zack Andrews about the movie, which is actually multiple projects.

The first project is a real documentary about haunted house attractions in the U.S. that was produced in 2011. The second is a horror movie made in 2014, a fictional account of a group of people visiting those same haunted attractions and includes footage from the first project.

Confused yet? That’s part of the plan. As the lines between real and imagined horrors becomes more blurry in modern society, Roe and Andrews are making the most of mixing it up for horror fans in a way that is fresh and unique. Both the documentary and the fiction story are packaged together on the Blue-Ray of The Houses October Built, so that fans can see behind the scenes of actual places and learn more about the inspiration for the movie.


The movie is the directorial debut of Bobby Roe, who also starred. It was produced by Zack Andrews (who also starred) and Steven Schneider, whose hits include Paranormal Activity, Insidious, and The Devil Inside. The film was given a limited theatrical release on October 10, 2014 and was released to home video on January 6, 2015.

“I think the quote at the beginning of the film, of how the real horror is what humans do to other humans, that explains our approach,” Roe said. “These are real locations, real scare actors. People can visit these places and talk to the same people we talked to when we made the movie. We wanted to make it as organic and real as possible.”

Real performances by great actors also make this film memorable, and Brandy Schaefer already won the award for Best Actress in The Macabre Faire Film Festival for her performance in The Houses October Built. The only female included on the RV trip, Shaefer’s descent from confidence into shock is crucial to the story and ties the other characters together. Fears mount up as it becomes obvious that the hauntings are getting out of control.

“It was a balancing act,” Roe said. “We asked ourselves ‘can we take (Brandy) to the breaking point without having the audience turn on the other characters?'”

Online reviews of the film describe the story as ‘a slow burn,’ with an emphasis on character development and not body count. Both Roe and Andrews say that is intentional and acknowledge that (Producer) Steven Schneider also used a slow burn with his Paranormal Activity movies, to much success.

Even with a slow build to a horrific ending, the movie is not without comic relief, however, and one scene with Zack Andrews features a cannabis-smoking-donut-eating-crying fit with infectious laughter.

“People ask me if I was actually high during that scene but I was not,” Andrews said. “We were just joking around on the set one day and decided to make the most of that moment.”

Cinematographer Andrew Strahorn does an excellent job of making this movie feel like a nightmare, blending real action with staged action. Some of the movie takes place during Mardis Gras, with even more masked characters and performance art adding to the atmosphere of weirdness.

“It was always our plan to include that in the story,” Andrews said. “Mardi Gras is a unique atmosphere and you just can’t fake that.”

This movie won the Carnet Jove Jury Award for Best Feature Length Film from the Midnight X-Treme Category from the Sitges Film Festival, but perhaps the most exciting news for horror fans is that the story of Houses That October Built continues: Roe and Andrews have recently returned from Scotland and other haunted places in the U.K. and plan to return again in the Spring. Roe said some of the haunted attractions there rival the best and most extreme in the United States, and they plan to make the most of what they have learned for another movie.

“Let’s just say that what you’ve seen of The Houses October Built is more of an intermission than an ending,” Roe said.
—Laura Long,, Sept. 16, 2015.

Free presentation on Jackie Kennedy

The East Tennessee Historical Society and the Bijou Theatre in Knoxville will commemorate the 55th anniversary of the John and Jackie Kennedy’s 1960 presidential campaign visit on Monday, September 21, 2015 at 6:30 p.m.

Tina Santi Flaherty, author of What Jackie Taught Us: Lessons From the Remarkable Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, will give a presentation on the public and private life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis–her glamour and style, men and marriages, motherhood, vision, and courage.

The Tennessee Archive of Moving Image and Sound will also show vintage film clips of past presidential visits to Knoxville.

The event is free and open to the public.


Tina Santi Flaherty is the author of What Jackie Taught Us: Lessons from the Remarkable Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. The Memphis native arrived in New York with $100 in her pocket and not knowing a soul and went on to become the first female corporate vice president of three of America’s largest corporations: Colgate-Palmolive, Gray Advertising, and GTE (now Verizon), earning her a Business Week recognition as One of America’s top corporate executives.

Her many awards and honors include an honorary doctorate from St. John’s University, an Equal People Award from the United Nations Decade for Women, and an Extraordinary Woman of Achievement Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews.

Ms. Flaherty’s books will be available for purchase and signing following the lecture.

YWCA awards women leaders

The YWCA has announced the finalists for the 2015 Tribute to Women awards. All finalists will be honored and the winners will be announced at the Tribute to Women event on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015, in downtown Knoxville.

Throughout the past 30 years, the YWCA Knoxville has recognized the contributions, leadership and community impact of women in East Tennessee. The 31st YWCA Tribute to Women finalists for each award category include:

Arts and Innovation

Girls Rock Camp

Jacqueline Shipwash, quality manager and project manager, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Marcia Goldenstein, professor emeritus, University of Tennessee School of Art

Melanie Mayes, staff scientist and team leader, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Business and Professional Leadership

Cindy McConkey, consultant, Effective Communication and Organizational Development Strategies

Debby Saraceni, vice president of marketing and physician services, Covenant Health

Jennifer Caldwell, group leader of technology commercialization, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Tammy White, president and CEO, Leadership Knoxville

Civic Service, Government and Education

Christi Branscom, deputy to the mayor/COO, City of Knoxville

Janet Gurwitch, retired assistant district attorney, Knox County District Attorney’s Office

Julia Hopper Daniel, president, Mayme Carmichael School Organization, Inc.

Lillian Burch, executive director, disABILITY Resource Center

Health and Human Services

Carolyn Pointer Neil, regional director of clinical services, Asbury Place, and owner, Elder Advocates

Mary Nelle Osborne, manager of recovery services, Peninsula, a division of Parkwest

Nancy Christian, president and CEO, Florence Crittenton Agency

Pam Wolf, founder and CEO, Harmony Family Center

Young Female Impact

Emily Skaar, director of entrepreneurship, Knoxville Entrepreneur Center

Leah Scruggs, customer relations specialist, Varsity Knoxville

Christa Hammaker, Refugee Ministry summer intern, Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church

Spirit Award

Lynn Talley, attorney, Social Security Administration Office of Disability Adjudication and Advocates Medical Center

Lifetime Achievement Award

Sherri Parker Lee, author, benefactor and entrepreneur
“Even in our 31st year, we are humbled and amazed by the number of hardworking and generous women working, serving and leading here in East Tennessee,” YWCA Knoxville CEO Marigail Mullin said. “We look forward to honoring these women for their achievements and sharing their stories to help encourage others in our community.”

Knoxville Chamber honors Propel grads

The Knoxville Chamber’s Propel Mentor Protégé program recently honored 6 protégés who represented the fifth graduation class of the program. During graduation, 22 new protégés were inaugurated into the program.

Propel matches small businesses with large successful firms to assist them in business growth.

The graduation and new class presentation featured an overview of the program featuring Hallerin Hilton Hill as the emcee. Vol football legend Inky Johnson gave the keynote address to the entrepreneurs and spoke about the integrity that small business owners should be concerned with as much as sales and revenues.

“The Mentor/Protégé program has helped me grow my business and the Chamber has helped me meet so many individuals who I can help as well,” said Delnise Moore of Always Moore Janitorial Services.

Currently, there are 32 small businesses in the program which is the largest class of mentoring teams since inception in 2009. Propel is funded as part of Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley, a regional economic development initiative.

Propel candidates must have an established business for three years or have ten years expertise in their field and must agree to maintain Knoxville Chamber membership for three years.

KWG welcomes Jason Sizemore

Thinking about dipping your pen into the genre writing pool? The Knoxville Writers Guild welcomes Jason Sizemore, three-time Hugo Award nominee and editor-in-chief of Apex Publications, as featured speaker on August 6, 2015, at 7 p.m. at the Laurel Theater.


The Knoxville Writers Guild welcomes Jason Sizemore, three-time Hugo Award nominee and editor-in-chief of Apex Publications, as featured speaker on August 6, 2015, at 7 p.m. at the Laurel Theater.

Apex Magazine is an online prose and poetry magazine of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and mash-ups of all three. Each month the magazine brings a mix of originals and reprints, interspersed with interviews and nonfiction.

Apex Magazine received a Best Semiprozine Hugo nomination in 2012, 2013, and 2014. The publication placed two stories in the 2010 Nebula Award category of Best Short Story, and Apex stories won the category in 2014 (“If You Were a Dinosaur My Love” by Rachel Swirsky) and again in 2015 (“Jackalope Wives” by Ursula Vernon. Dozen of stories have been selected for the annual Year’s Best anthologies over the past five years.

Attendees of the speaking engagement will be given an overview of genre market information, guidelines, and resources to help writers find homes for science fiction and fantasy manuscripts.

On Saturday, August 8, Sizemore’s follow-up seminar will cover more in depth which publishers to target, what to avoid in cover letters, tips on surviving the slush pile, popular agents, and a handful of insider tips from an experienced editor that might help give you a slight edge over other writers.

Both novel and short fiction markets will be covered in the seminar and cost is $40 to attend.

To register for the workshop, Email


Grants available for healthy projects

Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon is accepting proposals for its Community Contribution Program, which will award funds for healthy living initiatives in East Tennessee. The deadline for the grant program, now in its second year, is July 31, 2015.

Projects should represent unique ideas, methods and approaches that utilize physical fitness activities to improve quality of life in the community.

Eligible applicants include nonprofits with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status and regional government entities that are considered nonprofit and serve Knox County and/or one of its eight contiguous counties: Anderson, Blount, Grainger, Jefferson, Loudon, Roane, Sevier and Union.

Applicants may submit proposals up to $10,000, and multiple recipients may be selected. Proposals must be submitted by July 31, and the award date will be no later than September 30, 2015.

The Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon is a premier event organized by the Knoxville Track Club, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the encouragement of physical well being through running, jogging, competitive road racing, racewalking, fun runs, cross-country and track and field.

For more information, call 865-805-2476.

Firefighters honored for saving dog

Young-Williams Animal Center recently presented a brick that will be installed on its Walkway of Life path that leads into the shelter in honor of two local heroes. Knoxville Fire Department Capt. Robby Copas and firefighter Jeff McSwain saved Bella the boxer from a house fire in North Knoxville on April 30, 2015.

2015-05 YWAC Firefighters

Young-Williams Animal Center honored Knoxville Fire Department Capt. Robby Copas and firefighters Jeff McSwain for the lifesaving care they provided Bella the boxer during a house fire on April 30, 2015. Pictured from left: Copas, Ariona Thomas, Julyan Thomas, Cherie Cuervo, Bella the boxer, Dr. Jen Armstrong, Jeff Ashin and McSwain. Photo submitted.

“We felt it was important to recognize these two firefighters for the lifesaving care they provided to Bella,” said Jeff Ashin, CEO of Young-Williams Animal Center. “There are so many people in our community who do great things for animals, including these rescuers, and individuals and families who adopt from our shelter and donate time and money to animal welfare organizations. We are grateful to be able to honor Robby and Jeff with a brick of recognition on our pathway.”

When Copas and McSwain responded to the call on April 30, they found Bella unconscious on the bathroom floor. Upon removing the dog from the house, the firefighters gave Bella oxygen and cooled her body temperature with water from a booster tank.

“It is our responsibility to save any living being in danger when we respond to calls,” Copas said. “This time, it happened to be a dog, but the priority of saving her life never changed.”

Cherie Cuervo, Bella’s owner, thanked Copas and McSwain for their quick response and thoughtful care for Bella the boxer.

“Bella is my best friend,” Cuervo said. “I’m so thankful that they were able to respond to the call quickly and provide the care that was needed to save her life.”

Copas and McSwain appreciated the recognition from the shelter and the opportunity to reconnect with Bella.

“It’s so great to see her happy and healthy,” McSwain said. “We’re grateful to Young-Williams Animal Center for reuniting us with her and honoring us in this special way.”

To learn more about Young-Williams Animal Center, visit

Bailey wins Doris Duke Artist Award

The Carpetbag Theatre, a Knoxville-based regional theatre company, will be awarded Theatre Longevity Award at the upcoming 2015 National Black Theatre Festival, Aug. 3-8, 2015, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

The award is for contributions to Black and American Theatre for over 40 years. Executive/Artistic Director Linda Parris-Bailey was also awarded the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation’s Doris Duke Artist Award.


Linda Parris-Bailey

The Doris Duke Artist Awards program supports individual artists in contemporary dance, theatre and jazz. Each recipient of a Doris Duke Artist Award receives $275,000 and opportunity to participate in professional development activities, financial and legal counseling, and regional gatherings—all designed to help them personalize and maximize the use of their grants.

Ben Cameron, program director for the arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, said, “We are tremendously proud to announce to the world the fourth class of Doris Duke Artists. This year’s class is particularly notable for their collective, strong and consistent commitment to touring and working in multiple communities, enabling them to have enormous impact on artists and audiences in every corner of the country. We are thrilled to recognize the accomplishments of such an influential and talented set of artists, and to make a substantial investment in their continuing work and well-being as they forge into the future.”

The Carpetbag Theatre, founded in 1969 and chartered in 1970, is a professional, multigenerational ensemble company dedicated to the production of new works with the mission to give artistic voice to the issues and dreams of people who have been silenced by racism, classism, sexism, ageism, homophobia and other forms of oppression.

CBT serves communities by returning their stories to them with honesty, dignity, and concern for the aesthetic of that particular community, helping culturally specific communities to re-define how they organize.

The company works in partnership with other community artists, activists, cultural workers, storytellers, leaders and people who are simply concerned, creating original works through collaboration in a style based in storytelling and song.

Linda Parris-Bailey’s works are primarily story-based plays with music focusing on themes of transformation and empowerment. The October premier of her most recent work, Speed Killed My Cousin, was featured as the opening event of the Network of Ensemble Theaters’ Micro-Fest in Appalachia. “Speed” has received a 2014 New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA), National Theater Project Award. Her play, Dark Cowgirls and Prairie Queens is considered the company’s signature work and continues to tour and be produced nationally.

Knoxville hosts 2015 PAULY awards

The Greater Knoxville Hospitality Association will hold their annual Stars of the Industry Awards and Scholarship luncheon on Thursday, May 7, 2015, 11 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park, 501 Henley Street, Knoxville.

This is the 11th year to present the prestigious PAULY Awards to celebrate the brightest stars of the Greater Knoxville hospitality industry.

National Travel and Tourism Week is celebrated during the first week of May as a way to shine a light on the industry. During this week, the Greater Knoxville Hospitality Association recognizes the “Stars of the Industry” who excel in providing customer service and are shining examples of hospitality. The awards were named in memory of Paul Sherbakoff who, for years, was a mentor and leader in the Knoxville hospitality industry.

Hallerin Hilton Hill, talk show host, motivational speaker and trainer will be the special guest speaker. The scholarships are presented to students who are furthering their education in hospitality, tourism or culinary arts.
Greater Knoxville Hospitality Association is a not for profit organization for hotels/motels, restaurants, venues, attractions, service and suppliers of the hospitality/tourism industry-dedicated to enhance the economic, legislative and social interest of its members throughout the Greater Knoxville area.

For more information, contact Jill Thompson, Executive Director, Greater Knoxville Hospitality Association, 865-567-6325.

Sasser receives community service award

Knoxville, TN – Messer Construction Co. recently named craft force manager Todd Sasser its Knoxville Region 2014 Community Service Award recipient in recognition of his volunteer work throughout East Tennessee. The annual award is given to one employee in each of the company’s nine regions in recognition of outstanding community service and a demonstrated commitment to advancing the communities where those employees live and work.

Along with the Community Service Award, Messer donated $500 to Shriners Hospitals for Children in Sasser’s honor.

Sasser’s connection to Shriners Hospitals is a result of his participation in an annual motorcycle ride supporting the hospital. He and his wife are active in numerous charity rides throughout the region, such as the Tennessee School for the Deaf Charity Ride, a Memorial Day ride honoring fallen military heroes, two separate Toys for Tots runs, the annual Shannon and Chris Charitable Ride, and the Blue Knights 911 Remembrance Ride.

Sasser also serves on the Knox County Foster Care Review Board, an all-volunteer group that meets monthly to hear case updates for foster children across Knox County. The group ensures that foster children are in positive environments and makes recommendations for action to the County Court system.

Messer - Todd Sasser

Todd Sasser is heavily involved with Rebuilding Together Knoxville (RTK), an affiliate of a national organization that brings together volunteers and communities to rehabilitate the homes of low-income homeowners.

Messer Construction Co. is a construction manager and general contractor providing leadership for complex commercial building projects.

Sevierville hosts vocal contest

Sevierville, Tenn. – To honor the incredible songwriting of Dolly Parton, her hometown will once again host the Mountain Soul Vocal Competition, now in its 11th year. This year’s competition will be sponsored by Sound Biscuit Productions and will feature contestants who are asked to sing a song written by Dolly in the style of his or her own choosing (country, rock, rap, bluegrass, etc.). Contestants may enter in the 13 and up age division or the 12 and under division for this competition.

Dolly - Mountain Soul

Born Dolly Rebecca Parton on January 19, 1946, in Sevierville, Tenn., Dolly drew much inspiration from her “Tennessee Mountain Home” and wrote about the beautiful scenery and Appalachian culture that surrounded her. After graduating from Sevier County High School, she moved to Nashville, where her prolific career as a songwriter and performer would blossom. Now, more than 3,000 songs later, Dolly continues to create wonderful music for people all over the world to enjoy. Photo courtesy SCOC.

“This competition is truly unique and draws competitors from all corners of the United States,” said Amanda Marr, Sevierville Chamber of Commerce marketing director and event organizer. “Since Dolly Parton is Sevierville’s hometown girl, holding a competition that honors her songwriting ability is a natural fit for us.”

As far as event organizers know, this is the only vocal competition in the world that specifically honors the songwriting of Dolly Parton. Winning competitors will take home cash and prizes including a recording session in Nashville, Tenn.

Audition tapes, sent by mail, will be judged by a panel of entertainment professionals who will then identify 30 finalists in two separate divisions – ages 13+ and ages 12 and under. The entry deadline for the preliminary round of the competition is April 8, 2015.

Those finalists will then perform on the Sound Biscuit Productions Stage during the Mountain Soul Vocal Competition finals at the Bloomin’ Barbeque & Bluegrass event on May 16, 2015.

For a complete list of Dolly’s songs, competitors should visit It is not necessary, nor is it encouraged, to impersonate Dolly Parton, either physically or vocally.

Interested vocalists may obtain an application online at or by calling the Sevierville Chamber of Commerce at 1-888-889-7415. Return the application and entry fee along with an audition tape, CD, DVD, or Digital File on Jump Drive / Thumb Drive of the contestant singing a song written by Dolly Parton in the style of his or her own choosing, to the Sevierville Chamber of Commerce. Entries must be postmarked by Wed., April 8, 2015.

The Mountain Soul Vocal Competition is part of Sevierville’s 11th Annual Bloomin’ Barbeque & Bluegrass event May 15-16, 2015. For more information about the Mountain Soul Vocal Competition or Bloomin’ Barbeque & Bluegrass, visit

Knoxville historic homes receive award

The Historic Homes of Knoxville were honored by the Tennessee Association of Museums at the recent 2015 TAM Annual Conference held in Jackson, Tennessee.

The homes received an Award of Excellence for their collaborative brochure which provides information on each of the seven historic sites. The brochures are available at each of the seven sites and at the Knoxville Visitors Center. The Historic Homes were selected for this honor by a committee of museum professionals and TAM board members who evaluated nominees against museums of comparable budgets.

The Historic Homes of Knoxville is a successful partnership between seven historic homes that offer guided tours throughout the year.

The seven historic homes are Blount Mansion, Crescent Bend House & Gardens, Historic Ramsey House, James White’s Fort, Mabry-Hazen House, Marble Springs State Historic Site, and Historic Westwood.