There’s more to Blount County than just good business, a beautiful environment, and great people. The area is an arts hub, as well, thanks in part to one major institution that plays host to a variety of culture and entertainment: The Clayton Center for the Arts.
People and Performers
The Clayton Center has a unique history, and one that represents a coming-together of many different facets of Blount County. Leaders from Maryville College and the Blount County Chamber joined forces to create a civic arts center, rallying public, private, federal, and local support to eventually create the Clayton Center. The building is home to the Maryville College Fine and Performing Arts Program, and the facilities they use are shared with the Clayton Center’s resident companies, The Appalachian Ballet Company, The Foothills Community Players and The Primary Players.
All Kinds of Artists
The Clayton Center features a small “black box” theater, a 252-seat recital hall, and a spacious proscenium theater that seats 1,196, as well as a number of visual artists. Work on the walls and in sculpture is showcased in 4 different art galleries, including the La Dolce Vita Gallery, William “Ed” Harmon Gallery, Blackberry Farm Gallery, and DENSO Art Gallery. Visitors can expect to see the latest works from traveling collections, local and regional artists, as well as art students from Maryville College and the Dogwood Arts students and exhibitors.
A Massively Entertaining Season Awaits
The Clayton Center offers a little something different every week, whether it be new artists on the walls, a touring performer in town, or a unique event, but the 2018-2019 season is especially packed with great entertainment.
Highlights include an evening with acclaimed bluegrass musicians the Del McCoury Band & Friends in October, and a November concert from the British vocal ensemble Voces8. Christmas will be rung in with the Annie Moses Band in December, then there is the musical Kinky Boots in January, two dance performances in February, and Spring 2019 performances from the L.A. Theater Works, The Illusionists, and the California and Montreal Guitar Trios – and all this is just on the main stage!
The building’s other venues feature everything from a play based on poetry, to a presentation from Dancing with the Stars, to an appearance by Peyton Manning. Make plans to attend A Hillbilly Homecoming this October if you appreciate nostalgia and a good laugh, and make sure to stop by the Alan Shuptrine exhibit in the DENSO Gallery to see his paintings of rural life while you’re there.
Home is Where the Art is
The Clayton Center generates quite a bit of revenue from ticket sales, but since it is still a non-profit organization, some support is required. If you’d like to become a patron of the Clayton Center, have your business sponsor an event, or purchase advertising in their programs, head on over to The Clayton Center for the Arts website and take a look at the options available to you. Whatever you decide, don’t forget to add a night out at the arts to your calendar!