Dogwood Arts promotes & celebrates the art, culture and natural beauty of our region.

History of Dogwood Arts

In 1947, New York newspaper reporter John  Gunther, came into town, checked out the area, then returned to New York and wrote “Knoxville is the ugliest city I ever saw in America, with the possible exception of some mill towns in New England. Its main street is called Gay Street; this seemed to me to be a misnomer.”  Thus, in 1955, members of the Knoxville Garden Club, led by Betsey Creekmore, Martha Ashe and Betsy Goodson, along with a group of concerned citizens with a vision began a civic beautification project… the Dogwood Trails.

Some Dogwood Arts milestones:
1955:  Dogwood Trails are established
1961:  First Dogwood Arts Festival
1970:  Bob Hope appears at Festival
1972:  Elvis Presley performs at Stokley Athletics Center
1977:  First Limited Edition Print
1978:  House & Garden Show established
1979:  A Very Special Arts Festival established
2009:  Bazillion Blooms and Chalk Walk established
2010:  Dogwood Arts Festival celebrates 50 years
2014: 60th Anniversary of the Dogwood Trails
2018: 40th Anniversary of the House & Garden Show
2018: 10th Anniversary of Chalk Walk

Letter from our Executive Director

A servant-leader acknowledges that his own healing is sometimes his motivation. Something positive is communicated to one being served if, it is understood that the search for wholeness is something they share. – Robert Greenleaf

Sixty-one. A memorable number. Roger Maris hit 61 home runs to break Babe Ruth’s record … in 1961. Bob Dylan made Highway 61 famous with his album “Highway 61 Revisited.” And in 1961, Market Square provided the backdrop for the first Dogwood Arts Festival.

Sixty-one years after the start of the Dogwood Trails, we are now simply Dogwood Arts. We changed our name to reflect and support our mission and our goal to be more than just a festival, but rather to be a year-round celebration of art, culture and natural beauty in our region.

Volunteers are vital to our mission – Thank you, each of you, who attended, supported and celebrated all that this region has to offer in artistic talent, culture, innovation and natural beauty.

All of us at Dogwood Arts — staff, board and sponsors — want to shout from the highest of dogwood trees, “Thank you!” to all the volunteers over the last 61 years who have provided the sweat equity that cannot be measured in dollars and cents. Please excuse perhaps one of the most over-utilized of “thank you” clichés, but no truer words have ever been written: We could not do it without you. Period. End of story.

Tom Cervone, Executive Director

 2017 Board of Directors

Janet Testerman, President
Shanna Browning, President Elect
Brandon Parks, Past President
Jill Neace, Treasurer
Eric Botts, Secretary
Mike Mangione, At-Large

2017 Dogwood Arts Co-Chairs:
Dino Cartwright
Jennifer Holder

Colin Anderson
Jim Biggs
Jessica Brock
Lindsay Cates
Jim Dodson
Erin Donovan
Holly Hambright
Chuck Henry
Nancy Howard
Sherry Jenkins
Bob Thomas
Ned Vickers
Bart Watkins

Advisory Board

Patrick Birmingham
David Butler
Lanis Cope
Betsey Creekmore
Joan Cronan
Mike Edwards
Sam Furrow
Dale Keasling
Lloyd King
Bill Lyons
Eddie Mannis
Mike McClamroch
Alvin Nance
Brandon Parks
Sharon Miller Pryse
Rhonda Rice
L. Caesar Stair, III
William B. Stokely, IV