2020 Season Message

A message from Eric Botts, our 2020 Board President:

To everything there is a season, a biblical phrase we have all heard at some point. A statement that reigns true at Dogwood Arts. For 65 years, spring has been our season. The season of beauty, the month of April. Through those years we have welcomed our great city to engage in the colors, sights, and sounds of everything this region has to offer. In April we come to life when the dogwood trees BLOOM. But this season was different. No visionaries creating art where we walk. No vendors showcasing their masterpiece on the square. No music and lights echoing through downtown. But most missed were the thousands of people that filled these festivals, the smiles and interaction, the children creating, laughing, and opening their eyes to what great things can be created through mind and action. 

It takes months to plan these events, hard work and dedication from our staff, board, and countless volunteers who give of their time to invest in the success of all Dogwood Arts stands for. While watching the events of the world unfold this year and knowing that all things “normal” would come to a halt, we realized this year would be like no other. No one could have expected or planned for COVID-19 and the loss that would follow. Yet we realize that the loss of our spring events is insignificant in comparison to the lives that have been lost, businesses that have struggled, children missing their classmates, and seniors facing loneliness.

However, while we are not able to operate in our norm, we are embracing our motto of “Bloom where you are planted”. I could not be more proud of the thought, creativity, and passion our staff put behind redefining our mission for 2020. Our new Virtual Art Festival is supporting artists by driving business to their websites. #CHALKYOURWALK encouraged creativity and connection with kids, families, friends, and neighborhoods in our community. And we are most proud of our new Art Kits for Kids program that has already distributed art supplies for the enjoyment of more than 750 children in need throughout our region. 

As we slowly and safely start to set the clocks back to normalcy, let us not forget the lessons this season has taught us. Love those close to you. Cherish time together. Appreciate slowing down our hurried pace. Create art, create song, but most of all create memories. 

There will soon again come a time where we fulfill our mission to celebrate the art, culture and natural beauty of our region. But most importantly we will be able to implement our passion, which is to unite, and to celebrate the people and the magic of this place we call home. We want to wish wellness and safety to all, and we are especially thankful to those serving on the frontlines. 

I encourage all to take advantage of every chance to love others, help your neighbor, and seek opportunities to serve wherever they present themselves. 

Bloom where you are planted, Knoxville!

Eric Botts