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3D technician Erin Tucker demonstrates welding steel to high school students during the metal sculpture workshop.

For nearly two decades, UT’s School of Art has provided high school students from across Tennessee the opportunity to spend a full day working hands-on with artists in a university environment.

“The positive outcomes of the academy are numerous,” said David Wilson, director of the School of Art, “but high on the list is the opportunity for the school and UT to give back to the community by offering art-making experiences in a university setting.”

On March 2, the 18th annual UT High School Arts Academy featured 10 workshops for more than 100 students from 29 high schools. The workshops includedwatercolor painting, ceramics, printmaking, photography, life drawing, sound art and design, and metal sculpture. UT faculty, staff, and MFA alumni taught the workshops, assisted by high school art teachers and National Art Honor Society volunteers.

“All of the instructors there were really passionate about showing us new techniques while also allowing us to explore our own ideas,” said Emily Anderson, a senior at Farragut High School who participated in the academy on a scholarship for her work in the Knoxville Museum of Art’s East Tennessee Regional Student Art Exhibition.

Faculty members leading workshops included Frank Martin, associate professor of ceramics; John Kelley, assistant professor of 4D and time-based art; and Mary Laube, assistant professor of painting and drawing.

This year, for the first time, students from Memphis were able to participate in the academy. Their participation was organized by Felicia Dixon, visual arts instructor and National Art Honor Society sponsor at Cordova High School.

“Seeing my students excited about being challenged and watching their faces light up in victory at the merit of artwork accomplished there has etched one more notch in my heart for art education,” said Dixon.

In addition to learning new skills and techniques, students toured the Art and Architecture facilities, including the Ewing Gallery, which is currently displaying submissions for the 72nd annual Student Art Exhibition.

The UT High School Arts Academy is a collaborative effort of the School of Art and Knox County Art Educators. The program is supported by Jerry’s Artarama and UT’s College of Arts and Sciences, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, and the Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Engagement. The School of Art’s MFA program is ranked 15th among public universities across the United States. Its printmaking program is ranked second nationwide.

Knoxville and Knox County schools that participated were: Bearden High School, Carter High School, Central High School, Farragut High School, Fulton High School, Gibbs High School, Halls High School, Hardin Valley Academy, Knoxville Catholic High School, L&N STEM Academy, Powell High School, Webb High School, and West High School.

Other participating schools were: Alcoa High School, Anderson County High School, Berean High School, Bradley Central High School (Cleveland), Cocke County High School, Cordova High School (Memphis), Cumberland County High School, Elizabethton High School, Gatlinburg-Pittman High School, North Greene High School (Greeneville), Oak Ridge High School, Rhea County High School, Seymour High School, South Greene High School (Greeneville), and Walker Valley High School (Cleveland).


Brian Canever (865-974-0937,

Courtney Cox (865-974-2225,