Arrowmont gets respite–for now

October 18, 2008

The economic crash of October has saved Arrowmont from being forced to leave Gatlinburg.  Fortunately, the developers with the big plans have bailed, but the die has been cast: The Pi Phi fraternity will sell that property sooner or later.

Arrowmont has seen an outpouring of support from all over, and now, during this respite, is the time to rally those groups and individuals to get the School on a firmer financial footing, assess what it would take to move, or make a good case for staying in Gatlinburg.

The worse thing that Arrowmont could do is go back to business as usual–head in the sand–and then act surprised when Pi Phi finally finds a buyer down the line.  This whole episode should serve as a wake-up call.  It remains to be seen if the School has leadership with savvy to heed it.

Arrowmont still looks backward instead of facing the music

September 25, 2008

Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts has released a statement with the quaint, long and winding title of Frequently Asked Questions regarding the Potential Sale of Property Currently Being Leased to Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts by Pi Beta Phi Fraternity.

They could have saved space by calling it Clueless in Gatlinburg.

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Arrowmont: auctions or actions?

September 18, 2008

Arrowmont’s director, David Willard, is quoted in a Metro Pulse article about the situation facing the school. In any sort of ongoing negotiations, someone in his position always has to be circumspect in what he says in public, but I don’t see a great deal of vision displayed in his remarks. Here are a series of quotes from the article and my thoughts on them.

Arrowmont’s lease extends through 2011, and the school has engaged legal counsel to pursue possible options. But Willard says that process is not far enough along to offer encouragement.

The facts are simple. Pi Beta Phi owns the land and is going to sell the land, while Arrowmont has a lease through 2011. Arrowmont needs to leverage that lease to get Pi Beta Phi to offer more than the $9 million on the table right now. While legal advice is useful, Arrowmont needs to rally its friends, aggressively seek a new home, and push pressure on Pi Beta Phi to share its impending windfall and pay for the move.

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Arrowmont: life after Gatlinburg

September 15, 2008

As mentioned earlier in this blog, the Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts should get out of Gatlinburg. Although the settlement school that grew into Arrowmont remains an important part of the town’s heritage, the people who run Gatlinburg have no place for history–they see the town as one big cash register. Arrowmont no longer fits this gauntlet of hucksterism, and the sooner the school leaves, the sooner developers can throw up more waterparks and T-shirt shops and tattoo parlors on what used to be the Arrowmont campus.

The question, then, is where should Arrowmont go?

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Arrowmont: Escape from Gatlinburg

September 10, 2008

The days of the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg are numbered. The School appears to have a lease through 2011 on land owned by Pi Beta Phi, but the sorority/fraternity seems hellbent on selling the last remaining large chunk of land in the Tennessee equivalent of Myrtle Beach.

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Pi Beta Phi pulls hand-crafted rug out from under Arrowmont

September 9, 2008

The Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, which has brought artisans and their students to Gatlinburg for decades, is in turmoil on learning that its 70-acre downtown campus will soon be sold. Pi Beta Phi, the sorority that owns the property, is close to inking a deal with developers to sell the land for an estimated hundreds of millions of dollars.

Arrowmont, according to an article in the Knoxville News Sentinel will get a pittance of the price of the land. “Pi Phi has pledged to give $1 million to the school, donate $2 million to Arrowmont for new facilities and invest up to $7 million in Arrowmont’s future.”

Photo from Arrowmont website

Photo from Arrowmont website

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