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Volume 26, Number 2 — February 2019

KingsportARTS provides workshops & grant funding

Piper and Jackson have fun at KingsportARTS Smart Start class.
Piper and Jackson have fun at KingsportARTS Smart Start class.
Additional photos below »

By Leslie Grace | A! Magazine for the Arts | December 31, 2014

KingsportARTS was established in 1968. Originally it was named the Fine Arts Center and encompassed the local theatre guild, symphony and art guild. When those organizations formed their own non-profits, the organization became known as the Arts Council of Greater Kingsport. In 2010, the name changed to KingsportARTS.

The organization's headquarters is in the Renaissance Arts Center and Theatre on East Center Street in Kingsport, Tennessee. Its mission is to support and promote the arts in order to enhance the cultural, social and economic climate in the community through facilitation, information, education and advocacy. It employs a full-time executive director and a part-time arts education director. A 15-member volunteer board oversees its activities.

The non-profit provides arts education workshops for children ages 3-18 in Kingsport and the surrounding area, including Southwest Virginia. One of these programs is Smart Start for preschool children ages 3 and up. This fun and messy workshop offers children and parents an opportunity to create hands-on art projects together that are designed to develop coordination and fine motor skills.

Arts4Kids for grades kindergarten through fifth and KEYPAD (KingsportARTS Empowering Youth to Participate in Arts Discovery) for grades six through 12, focus on particular artists or genres. The January workshops emphasize Pablo Picasso to illustrate abstract collage and paintings. In February, Georgia O'Keefe serves an example of larger-than-life paintings. The topics in March and April are sculpture and Alexander Calder, respectively. Arts4Kids is a two-hour workshop; KEYPAD is a four-hour workshop.

"We also have two weeks of Summer Camp in June," Cathie Faust, executive director, says. "One week is for age 3 through fifth grade, and one week is for grades six through 12. We also send artists into four underserved areas in Kingsport for monthly workshops at no cost to the children.

"Our biggest challenge at this time is getting teens to attend our workshops. Children are so busy these days, especially teens, that we just can't seem to find the ones who are interested in the arts. Our biggest reward is when the children in our Smart Start (formerly Kindergarten Readiness Program) go to kindergarten, and we hear that they have scored high on their pre-k testing."

Providing free programs to children, unfortunately, comes at a cost; and like many non-profits, KingsportARTS has to raise the funds.

"Being a non-profit arts organization, we all struggle with finding adequate funding and making people in the community aware that we are here and what we have to offer," Faust says.

The organization receives funding from the Tennessee Arts Commission, city of Kingsport, Eastman Chemical Company and Domtar, as well as income from grants, donations, sponsorships and workshops.

"Our next fundraiser is our Paint the Town 5K Run/Walk, Feb. 28, beginning at noon," Faust says. "The course starts on the Yadkin Street Side of the Renaissance Arts Center and goes through the neighborhoods behind the building, finishing on Yadkin Street. More information will be available soon on our website." The group also holds a second fundraiser in the fall.

KingsportARTS is a designated agency of the Tennessee Arts Commission to distribute Arts Build Communities grants to organizations in Sullivan, Hawkins and Hancock counties in Tennessee.

"We will have a grant writing workshop in the spring," Faust says. "Arts Builds Communities grant applications are due July 1. Non-profit organizations doing art projects, non-profit arts organizations and public schools and libraries are eligible." Information about applying for these grants is available on the Tennessee Arts Commission and KingsportARTS websites.

To learn more about KingsportARTS, visit its office in the Renaissance Center, call 423-392-8420, email or visit


>> Call for Arts Achievements Award nominations

Participants in KingsportARTS' KEYPAD 2014 summer camp.