Fountain City Arts Center needs your help

Betty BeanFeature, Fountain City

The Fountain City Art Center is a gem in the heart of its community and has had just one executive director in its 14-year existence. So, the business of looking for a new one will be a brand-new experience for its board of directors. Whomever they hire will have big shoes to fill.


Founding director Sylvia Williams, who has been having some health problems, will be leaving at the end of the month, and the board is accepting resumes until July 27.

Bob Meadows, board vice president, said he and president Ken Clayton will chose finalists for the position, and the board will conduct the interviews. He said the new director’s duties will include bookkeeping, grant writing, publicity, scheduling exhibits and classes, collecting membership and class dues and more.

Williams said the art center has generational problems.

“Our original charter members have started to pass on and we don’t seem to be appealing to a younger audience,” she said. “In 14 years you make a lot of friends and it’s so hard to lose people like Sue Lane and Liz Curry and Mary Wilbourn. All volunteers. All dedicated to the art center. Those things were really hard blows.”

But she has faith that there are better days ahead.

“I wouldn’t have known any of these wonderful people if I hadn’t started the art center,” she said. “And that’s the greatest gift of all. I’m delighted that they’re going to keep it going. When somebody new and fresh comes in, people will pay attention.”

The art center is tucked into the corner of Fountain City Park in the former Fountain City Library building and offers classes in oils and watercolor as well as exhibitions and contests. Master musician Eddie LeGrand subleases space to teach guitar, piano, voice, violin, dulcimer, banjo, mandolin and various horns. LeGrand Music Studio showcases students and instructors in concerts and recitals and offers concerts featuring internationally renowned musicians.

The art center is also home to Parkside Open Door Gallery, an art market that exhibits a wide array of paintings, photographs, prints, hand-crafted jewelry and other art for sale.

Here is a partial list of FCAC’s accomplishments over the years:

  • 1,012 art exhibits free to the public, serving over 3,700 artists
  • 55 art exhibits, displaying artwork by over 4,000 Knox County Schools’ students.
  • At least two judged shows a year open to all area artists (both two-dimensional and three-dimensional) with cash awards.
  • 135 art classes and 15 workshops per year, serving over 900 students.
  • 12 years of Summer Art Camp Scholarships for FCAC classes specifically for underserved and disadvantaged youth, providing free art classes for 550 students.
  • A Neighborhood Achievement Award from the Metropolitan Planning Commission.

Resumes may be submitted at the art center or addressed to Fountain City Art Center, 213 Hotel Avenue, Knoxville TN. 37918.

Ready to Jump. Photo by Jamie Rowe

Dragonfly by Dawn Hawkins

Spring Pour by Penny Berridge

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