Call for Volunteers!
We can’t do it without you – Thanks in advance for donating your time in order to help us further our mission of promoting and celebrating our region’s art, culture, and natural beauty.
A note from Dogwood Arts’ Executive Director:
Sixty-One Years and Counting
By Tom Cervone, Executive Director of Dogwood Arts
In 1955, three proud and aggravated women from the Knoxville Garden Club – Martha Ashe, Betsey Creekmore, and Betsy Goodson – along with a group of annoyed and proactive citizens, responded to one smart-aleck, high-brow, NYC writer, John Gunther, who coronated Knoxville as the “ugliest city I ever saw in America.” In true Volunteer State fashion, these folks bandied together to implement a beautification project known as the Dogwood Trails.
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 of the same name – Highway 61 Revisited. And in 1961, Market Square provided the backdrop for the first Dogwood Arts Festival.
Sixty-one years later, 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. And last weekend, we completed the cycle with a wonderfully received and well-attended festival on Market Square. 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.
Dogwood Arts is and has been “built on the backs” of volunteers. Not in the brow-beating, hod-carrying, sweating-profusely-in-the-unbearable-heat sense. But in the “let’s all rally, respond, and roll up our sleeves and get the work done” sense.
Volunteers are vital in distributing and planting Dogwood trees (Bazillion Blooms), assisting in the organizing, coordinating, and producing of the region’s most attended House and Garden show, helping in the planning and execution of an urban, logistically challenging Americana music festival (Rhythm N’ Blooms), and arranging for, and orchestrating the countless hands-on-deck needed to produce the most recognizable and iconic of all things Dogwood (the Dogwood Arts Festival). These, along with an additional 10 smaller, yet no less impactful programs, and a relatively new addition to our family on the culture side of our business, the Knoxville Film Festival, bring an incredible volunteer energy that is a sight to behold.
Without these treasured volunteers (with smiles on their faces and dirt on their hands) giving of their most valuable commodity, time, Dogwood Arts would most likely be relegated to Dogwood Art, one festival and a scattering of trees and gardens in and around Knoxville. Thankfully though, that is NOT the case. This veritable militia of volunteers are committed to keeping Dogwood Arts and its programs alive, exciting, and sustainable for the next 61 years.
So, from all of us at Dogwood Arts, including 1) our tireless, and dedicated staff, who never, and I mean never, look at the clock, and who wake up and come to work every day thinking “what can we as a team do to ensure that our mission is working, while cultivating and supporting our local and regional art, artists, and natural beauty purveyors” 2) our invested and enthusiastic Board of Directors, led by the indomitable Janet Testerman, who answers the call with generosity of spirit and time, and comes to the table ready to work, and 3) our public, private, media, and corporate sponsors and supporters, particularly ORNL Federal Credit Union, our presenting sponsor, who’ve been loyal and invested in us for years and, candidly, perform the heavy lifting; we 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 spoken and/or written: we could not do it without you. Period. End of story.