In a time before email, social media and mainstream television, folks had to find their own unique way to tell stories and spread messages to one another. Often times this came in the form of folklore, songs, paintings and other forms of art.
Today, we have all the technology we need to instantly connect with one another, but there is still a large community tucked away in the Smoky Mountains that is dedicated to keeping the rich history and culture alive. This community is called the Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Community.
What Is the Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Community?
The Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Community is a group of over 120 Smoky Mountain artists and craftsmen. Their talents range anywhere from broom making to detailed oil painting to detailed hand-sculpted items.
To learn more about the Gatlinburg Arts community, feel free to watch the video below!
How Did They Get Their Start?
After years of selling wares on the streets of downtown Gatlinburg, in 1937 a group of artisans decided to move their shops and stands a little closer to home and relocated to what is now considered the Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Community. The original band of merchants that inspired the move included John Cowden (woodcarver), Lee Ogle (broom maker), and Noah McCarter (chair maker).
Now, over 70 years later, the Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Community is a thriving part of the Smoky Mountains’ culture, and is a popular Gatlinburg attraction for all visitors to the area.
Click here to learn more about the history of the Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Community, and to see photos of the community’s original artisans.
Where is the Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Community located?
The Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Community is located just a short 3 miles drive from downtown Gatlinburg. To get there, singly turn at Traffic Light #3 and travel down Highway 321 North.
Free Trolley Rides
During the summer, you and your family can travel to the Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Community for free by riding the Gatlinburg Trolley.
Now through August 14, the Gatlinburg Trolley will offer guests to the area unlimited daily free rides on several of their lines from 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Free route destinations include the Historic Nature Trail, Ski Mountain Road, River Road, Sugarlands Visitor Center, Gatlinburg Community Center, and, of course, the Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Community.
Click here to learn more about the free Gatlinburg Trolley Routes this summer.
2014 Summer Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Fair
Although the Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Community no longer calls the Parkway home, they do return twice a year for a celebration of artisanship with the annual Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Fair. The Gatlinburg Crafts Fair welcomes over 200 artists from around the country to come and display their talents for everyone to see.
This year’s summer Gatlinburg Crafts Fair will be held July 18-27 in the Gatlinburg Convention Center. Hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sundays. Admission is $6 per person.
Along with local and national artists, guests to the summer Gatlinburg Crafts Fair will also enjoy listening to free country, bluegrass and gospel bands throughout the day.
To learn more about the upcoming Gatlinburg event read our blog dedicated to the exciting Gatlinburg Crafts Fair.
Do you have a favorite memory of visiting the Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Community? Let us know in the comments below. We love to hear from you!