The arts are alive and well in Kingsport! Whether you want to get hands-on or prefer to take in the talents of others, there are plenty of opportunities for art lovers of all ages.
At Impressions, a nonprofit artist cooperative, visitors can buy artwork, meet the artists, and take classes. Member artists represent a variety of artistic styles, from classical to abstract and everything in-between. Available artwork includes paintings, sculptures, collages, photography, pottery, basketry, jewelry, woodworking, and more, all created by local artists. The featured artist for this month is Patti Lawrence, who creates assemblage, three-dimensional art that’s made by assembling disparate elements, often everyday objects.
246 Broad St.
Inspired by nature, Suzanne Barrett Justis says she has always been enraptured by the natural world. Many of her paintings focus on animals, and several of her works hang as part of permanent collections in zoos, including the Dallas Zoo in Texas and the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. Suzanne is also a lead animal artist for the Kingsport Carousel Project, having taught all the volunteers how to paint the hand-carved carousel animals. At her downtown Kingsport studio, you can view many of her paintings, take a class, or participate in a workshop.
110 E. Market St.
Gallery owner Cindy Saadeh is a classically trained oil painter whose work is featured in public and private collections across the world. Her downtown Kingsport gallery is a great place to shop for gifts, including paintings, drawings, framed wall art, pottery, jewelry, sculptures, candles, and much more, all made by local artists. Cindy and woodworker Michael Ripper also designed the Wine Nook, an attractive alternative to cardboard boxes for serving wine at home or at upscale events.
128 E. Market St.
In addition to the galleries listed above, there are plenty of public spaces in Kingsport where you can see fine art displayed. The Renaissance Center, 1200 E. Center St., features an art gallery on its second floor; City Hall, 415 Broad St., exhibits local art on its first floor; and Create Appalachia features local art on the first floor of its Kingsport location at 225 W. Center St., Suite 115.
Quilt patterns adorn barns throughout Sullivan County, but the artistry of the traditional quilt can also be seen on the façades of several downtown businesses. Strolling through downtown is always a treat – following the quilt trail adds a layer of culture to an already enjoyable pastime. Area artists volunteered to honor the craft of quilting by painting quilt patterns on these buildings, including the Bagel Exchange, Carriage House, and Frank Gibson Law, just to name a few. Download the Quilt Trail map and start walking!
For some light exercise, fresh air, and a dose of culture, Kingsport’s Sculpture Walk is ideal. Located downtown, most pieces can be seen on New Street. A convenient place to begin the walk is near the Kingsport Library at 400 Broad St. To learn about each sculpture, call 423-200-3205 and enter the item number of the piece you want know more about.
One block up from Main Street, where Shelby and Cherokee meet, is an alleyway made more fun and attractive with the addition of murals painted by local artists. Underneath the Clinchfield Street Bridge and the Eastman Road Bridge on the Kingsport Greenbelt is another pair of murals, and several more decorate businesses throughout the city.
Organized by the Inventor Center and the Kingsport Office of Cultural Arts, Made in Kingsport is an event for creators of every kind to interact with the public at the Inventor Center and surrounding buildings. Formerly known as the Maker Faire, this event will be held on the first Saturday of Fun Fest, July 16th, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Art demos will include woodturning, metalsmithing, weaving, gem polishing, pottery, and more. There will also be interactive, kid-friendly activities. Register soon to participate as a vendor – the deadline is April 1.
Leaf & Root & Berry is presented by Create Appalachia. The Appalachian mountains are home to one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the country, and many local artists draw their inspiration from it. This exhibit, on view April 8 through June 3, will feature a variety of visual arts, including film/video, photography, textiles, painting, graphic design, ceramics, sculpture, jewelry, and more. An artist reception will be held June 3.
225 W. Center St., Suite 115
Join International Master Wildlife Artist Suzanne Barrett Justis for a fun and informative three-day wildlife painting workshop May 27-29 in the Carousel Carvers Studio above the Kingsport Carousel at 350 Clinchfield St. Each participant will complete two wildlife paintings of different species. This class will be limited to the first 15 people to sign up. Call 423-967-4040 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
On the 2nd Saturday of every month from 6-8 p.m., Impressions Fine Art, 245 Broad St., hosts “Paint a Masterpiece” classes. The March project is “Starry Night” by Vincent Van Gogh. For more information or to make a reservation, call 423-765-9100 or email email@example.com.
For kids in kindergarten through 5th grade, the Kingsport Public Library is hosting craft classes every Tuesday in March at 4 p.m. to celebrate Craft Month. Upcoming classes include Sun Catchers on March 22 and Popsicle Stick Treasure Chests on March 29.
400 Broad St.
These are just a few of the many ways to enjoy the arts in Kingsport. With new artistic events and exhibits being added every day, the best way to keep up is by visiting thisiskingsport.com/events.