Pulitzer Prize-winning authors. World-renowned artists and musicians. Digital media innovators. East Tennessee has been home to all of them, and Knoxville nurtures a thriving and collaborative creative community. From the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra – which was founded by one the first professional female conductors in America – to the arts and writing programs at the University of Tennessee, from glass sculptors and ironworkers to filmmakers and chefs, the city is full of talent and inspiration.

“This is what Knoxville is to me–a community of folks who embrace each other and elevate the work that we do. I have said it before–I do not think that I could have achieved what I have in any other city in the world. I get to do what I love, and I am grateful to Knoxville for that.”

Preston Farabow Founder, Aespyre Metal Design at Ironwood Studios

On any given night, you can find local bands in all genres at theaters, clubs and bars across town, often playing in different combinations with each other from show to show. You can take in professional repertory productions at Clarence Brown Theatre, or catch some free Shakespeare on the Square with the Tennessee Stage Company. Each First Friday, a stroll downtown will reveal exhibits from local painters, photographers, sculptors and more.

Big enough to support a diverse range of efforts, but connected enough to form a real community, Knoxville’s creative class is vibrant and growing.

“You have to find your way, you have to build relationships within the scene/community, and push yourself to get better at your craft. With Knoxville having no shortage of locals with world-class talent, you’re more than likely to get the respect you earn & give, rather than what you think you deserve.”

Black Atticus Emcee, Poet, Host, Teacher & Recording Artist

In September 2016, Knoxville was designated an official Etsy Maker City at the first annual Knoxville Maker City Summit. Etsy Maker Cities champion a new model for economic prosperity, one that puts people at the center of commerce, promotes sustainable production, and empowers people to build creative businesses on their own terms.

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