The Founding of Arrowmont: Page 2
The decision having thus been made, all that remained was for Pi Beta Phi to appoint a governing body on behalf of the new school, give it a suitable name, and establish the rules by which it would operate. The first task was completed in 1968 when Pi Beta Phi disbanded the Settlement School Committee and replaced it with a Board of Governors. The board immediately appointed Summer Crafts Workshop director Marian Heard to head up the new school, and put Pi Phi alumna Lucille Woodworth in charge of Arrowcraft. Shortly thereafter, in 1969, the Board of Governors settled on a name for the new school -- “Arrowmont” -- which was considered “euphonious” to the ear, and which could “be known by the single word to match the name Arrowcraft.” Finally, the board decided on a set of guiding principles for the school, which were articulated by Heard in the January 1968 edition of The Arrow of Pi Beta Phi. They were: “to sustain and preserve the native American crafts which originated in the Gatlinburg, Tennessee area of the United States”; “to pioneer in a program of teaching the arts and crafts to the greatest number of interested persons”; “to provide University accreditation for courses in the arts and crafts”; “to train teachers in the field of art and crafts, preparing them to work either professionally or as volunteers in school and community programs”; “to serve as an additional source of economic stability in the Gatlinburg area”; and “to provide local craftsmen with an outlet for the merchandise they produce.”
The matter of housing Arrowmont was somewhat more complicated, for although existing settlement school structures such as the Teachers’ Cottage, the Red Barn, and the Ruth Barrett Smith Staff House could be used as dormitory space for teachers and students, there was simply too little space available to meet the new school’s needs. With this in mind, the fraternity hired architect Hubert Bebb of Community Tectonics to design a central building for the Arrowmont campus -- one that would be as aesthetically pleasing as it was practically functional. By all accounts, Bebb more than fulfilled this commission. The 38,200 square foot “ Emma Harper Turner Building,” which Bebb designed to undulate gently across Gatlinburg’s hilly landscape, and which housed an ample amount of classroom, office, and studio space, earned him an Award of Merit from the American Institute of Architects. Pi Beta Phi representatives formally dedicated the building on June 23, 1970, an event which Heard considered the single greatest “highlight” of her involvement with Pi Beta Phi.
Thus the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts was born, ushering in a new era of service for Pi Beta Phi in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. For more on the growth and development of the school, please see the essays entitled “Arrowmont Curriculum,” and “Arrowmont Student Life.”
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