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Who Needs Art?

Arts in the Burg is located at 207 South Cedar Ave. in South Pittsburg. Photo by Dale Woodfin. 

As a local artist, art volunteer and graphic designer, I need art and I am so honored to have the opportunity to write a weekly article for Sequatchie Valley Now about the Arts in our communities. I hope, each week, you will enjoy reading and learning more about art and opportunities to support and take part in art activities in our communities. And, in doing so, I think you will discover, like me, you need art as well.

In my first article, I will discuss the importance and value of Art as well as introduce you to a local Arts incubator where I am currently a resident artist.

As most of you know, art is an important part of any community, but what you may not know is that Art can be especially vital in small communities. Small towns across America are realizing how art can help to build a sense of community, attract visitors, and boost the local economy. It just so happens that we have a great example of this type of revitalization effort going on right here in the Sequatchie Valley; Arts in the Burg.

It all started with an art festival launch party in June of 2021. Since then, Arts in the Burg has renovated a 3,000 sq. ft. historic building on the main street of downtown South Pittsburg, originally built by the Gentry Chevrolet dealership. In this repurposed facility, they have developed a unique space for artists to work and create. Arts in the Burg is a bright spot offering a variety of programs and services for artists and the entire community.

Here are a few of the things you can expect when visiting Arts in the Burg.

  • Working studio space: Affordable studio space for resident artists of all disciplines. Stop in and hang out with the resident artists, talk about art, buy something for your collection or a gift for friends and family.
  • Classes and workshops: Serving a diverse population by offering a variety of classes and workshops for artists of all skill levels and interests. Painting, jewelry making, cake decorating, art journaling and so much more. They also help aspiring instructors by providing paid opportunities to teach.
  • Gallery exhibition opportunities: Regular exhibitions featuring an eclectic showing of artwork by local and regional artists. Are you an emerging artist looking for your first gallery opportunity?
  • Community events:  A variety of community events, such as concerts, festivals, markets, speakers, movies, parties and more.
  • Art equipment: 3D printers and other equipment often inaccessible to artists. The equipment is free to use for the resident artists, utilized in classrooms and will soon be made available to the public through memberships.


Artists at work in the Arts in the Burg workspace. Photo by Dale Woodfin.

If you are interested in supporting the Arts in the Burg, there are a number of ways you can get involved. You can volunteer your time, lease a space, be an advocate, donate money, or sponsor or attend events. Your support will help to ensure that Arts in the Burg can continue to provide its valuable services to the community.

Visit their website or contact us via email: Arts in the Burg is a nonprofit program of South Pittsburg Area Revitalization Quest (SPARQ).

Here are a few more examples of how art can benefit small communities:

  • Builds a sense of community. Art can help to bring people together and create a sense of shared identity. When people come together to create or enjoy art, they are building relationships and forming bonds that can strengthen the community.
  • Attracts visitors. Art can be a major draw for tourists, which can help to boost the local economy. Visitors come to small towns to experience the unique culture and history, and art is often a big part of that.
  • Boosts the local economy. The arts industry can create jobs and generate revenue for small communities. In addition to the direct benefits to artists and arts organizations, the arts also support other businesses, such as restaurants, hotels, and shops.
  • Educates and inspires. Art can be a powerful tool for education and inspiration. It can teach people about different cultures, history, and the human experience. It can also inspire people to be creative and to think outside the box.

Of course, art is not just about economic benefits. It is also about beauty, creativity, and expression. Art can enrich people’s lives and make them more fulfilled. In small communities, where there may be fewer opportunities for cultural experiences, art can be especially important.

So, who needs the art? We all do. Get out there and discover or create some art of your own! Oh and, be sure to share your art, art organization/effort and experiences with me using the contact information below. It might just end up in a future Sequatchie Valley Now article.

Support the Arts in TN when you buy any specialty license plate:

Information on how you can support the author and the local arts in the author bio below…