By AL HANSEN
For The Vista
The Art Guild at Fairfield Glade is a 501(c)3 non-profit that provides a venue for creativity and expression, as well as engendering a richness and depth to the culture of Eastern Tennessee — and those are its goals.
The $300,000 Plateau Creative Art Center is the only facility in Cumberland County exclusively devoted to fine visual arts. Completed in January 2008 with a mission to serve the East Tennessee region, this handicapped accessible Center has 2,842 square feet of gallery, classrooms, public meeting room, and includes a 600-book library (the best between Knoxville and Nashville).
Winding through the property’s easily accessed wooded area is a newly improved sculpture trail. The Art Guild currently has 170 members from Cumberland and surrounding counties (one member is from South Carolina!). All work is voluntary.
Throughout the year classes are available in watercolor, oil, pastels, acrylic, colored pencil, pen and ink, drawing, beading, jewelry-making, clay, or other media. Classes are publicized throughout the region and are open to all.
It is a tradition in The Art Guild that students use their new knowledge and progress to become teachers themselves. The Guild now schedules more than 150 classes a year and most are conducted by Guild members. Monthly critique sessions improve how we see art.
The Plateau Creative Art Center’s has three annual awards shows, which may draw art from beyond the county’s boundaries. One brings nationally known artists to judge entries for the shows, critique and conduct workshop classes.
The Art Guild partners with art teachers in local schools to promote art, assisting with donations of art supplies and attracting students through a unique program featuring famous artists.
All Cumberland County elementary schools are invited to participate with us to reinforce each school’s own program. Guild members also play a major role in the annual Cumberland Artisans for Creative Expression’s Youth Expo. And at the Art Center you will find weekly summer “Artie” classes specifically for youth.
The Art Guild uses every opportunity to partner with local, neighboring, and national organizations. As examples, the Guild is a member of the eastern Tennessee Arts & Cultural Alliance and conducts excursions to galleries throughout “Third Tennessee.”
Knowing that public recognition for individuals and organizations in media and events conveys the significant value of art to the community and for those who achieve in art, we have an aggressive schedule of articles and ads that reach beyond the community.
Each year The Art Guild provides a $2,000 scholarship to a deserving high school graduate to be used for tuition in furthering their art education. Additionally, our programs reach senior centers, Kids On The Rise, nursing homes, and battered women’s shelters to aid those groups.
It is difficult to quantitatively evaluate the impact of public art on a community and its visitors; yet our experience is that our programs help engender a sense of identity, quality, and meaning in people, enriching their lives.
They show the value the community puts on art and demonstrate commitment to positive attitudes for the present and future. Residents and visitors have come to identify art with this place and think of it as a unique symbol of the spirit of the community.
Visitors often are pleasantly astonished at the quality of art they find here –— realtors bring clients to tour our Center!
Fairfield Glade is a residential, retirement and resort community open to all ages. Last year 19,000 one-week visitors came here, many of whom return to live permanently in Tennessee.
So our Center sees visitors from all over the U.S. The Art Guild hosts weekly receptions in summer and fall for these visitors.
This is a very active organization in the community, with effects beyond the boundaries of Cumberland County, third largest county in the state.
The Crossville Chronicle stated, “Established in 1978, the Art Guild is one of the most influential groups of its kind in East Tennessee.”