Artists ‘chalk the walks’ Saturday for scholarships for Roane State students

Blue Phantom

A sidewalk chalk painting from the 2014 Street Painting Festival. (Submitted photo)


The 16th annual Oak Ridge Street Painting Festival is drawing near—it will be held from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, October 3 (rain day on Sunday), at the Oak Ridge Campus, Roane State Community College.

Dozens of artists will be brushing up on their skills as they bring colorful faces and scenes to concrete sidewalk squares using free art supplies. Would-be Rembrandts will “paint” with chalk the squares that sponsors “purchase” by writing checks.

You, too, can write a check to the Roane State Foundation to fund scholarships for RSCC students. These students have been out of high school for a few years and are not eligible for Tennessee Promise scholarships.

The public is invited to this free festival organized by the Rotary Club of Oak Ridge in conjunction with Roane State. [Read more…]

Street Painting Festival on Oct. 3 at Roane State in Oak Ridge

Love Reject

In 2014, Ouita Northcutt received the People’s Choice Award and first-place award in the professional artists category for her chalk painting on love and rejection at the Oak Ridge Street Painting Festival. (Submitted photo)


Artists of all ages and abilities, it’s time to “talk the talk, then chalk the walk.”

And you folks who wish to help people in their 20s who otherwise cannot afford to go to college without a scholarship are encouraged to “write checks for chalk art” as sponsors to make our workforce smarter.

Artists are encouraged to invite your artist friends to the Roane State Community College campus in Oak Ridge to showcase your talents for free while helping others get an education.

Artists and sponsors are needed for the 16th annual Oak Ridge Street Painting Festival, which will be held on Saturday, October 3, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the sidewalks of the RSCC Oak Ridge campus on Briarcliff Road. The rain date is October 4. [Read more…]

Children’s Museum Offers Camps during Fall Break

Children will have opportunities to dance, cook, create pottery and explore the natural world during Oak Ridge Schools’ fall break at the Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge. Week-long Imagination Station Intersession Camps for elementary and middle school students will be held Oct. 5-9 and Oct. 12-16.

Exercise guru Leah Chance will lead special Kids in Action activities on Saturday, Oct. 10. For children in the 1st-4th grades, activities include moving feet and working up a sweat, going on a scavenger hunt in the garden for a cool down, and games that teach about nutrition, burning calories and foods to eat before exercise. Each session is limited to 20 children.  Join Chance from 10:30 a.m.-noon or 1-2:30 p.m. for Kids in Action, free with admission to the museum.

“Imagination Station campers learn and grow through play in a fun and safe environment,” said Lorraine Bowen, museum educator. “Through our wide range of themes and activities, as well as our hands-on exhibits, we hope to foster campers’ imaginations and passion for lifelong learning.”

To register for a camp, stop by or call the museum at (865) 482-1074 or see Fees for week-long camps are $125 for members and $135 for non-members. Campers staying all day should bring lunches. To pay in person or by mail, download a PDF of the registration form at the web site. A number of scholarships are available. An application is on the web site. Deadline to apply is Oct. 2.

Camps offered Oct. 5-9 are:

  • Mud Pies, 9 a.m.-noon, ages 5-8. Children will explore ways to build and make unique works of art, using pinch and coil techniques to make wacky creatures from clay. They will create pieces from nature, hand-build a funky mask and make a one-of-a-kind creation, with clay artist Sherrie Carris. Camp limit is 12.
  • Cookin’ in the Kitchen with Kids, 1-4 p.m., kindergarten-3rd Children will make fun, kid-friendly recipes while practicing kitchen safety and learning cooking fundamentals. They will prepare several breakfast dishes and create Mexican, Italian and Asian recipes with culinary specialist and caterer Rachel Reagan. Camp limit is 12.
  • Kids Go Green “Explore the Green World around You,” 9 a.m.-noon, 3rd-4th Youth will explore the natural world as they discover the balance needed to be in harmony with nature. With Bucky Smith, the museum’s garden manager, they will learn about living in a healthy environment through Kids Go Green’s eco-action. Camp limit is 10.
  • International Cooking, 9 a.m.-noon, 4th – 7th Youth will take a culinary journey around the world with Rachel Reagan as they prepare different recipes from Italy, France, India, Greece and China. Class limit is 12.
  • Jazz Pop, 1-4 p.m., 4th-7th Kids will join Danya Spratling to learn basic dance steps and a routine. They will make a hip hop hat, and for Halloween, create a dance to “Thriller” and “I’m a Monster.”
  • Spin Me a Tale, 1-4 p.m., ages 9-12. Youth will learn the basics of throwing on the pottery wheel and discover ways to tell stories using etching and stenciling techniques on clay. Class limit is 5.

 Another camp will be held Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Oct. 5, 7 and 9.

  • Build your own Bear, 3-5 p.m., ages 8-12. Youth will create and design their own hand sewn, stuffed bear, led by Frances Gross. They will cut a pattern, choose fabric, cut out a bear shape, pin it together, then hand sew and stuff the bear. Class limit is 8. Fee for members is $50, and non-members, $60.

Camps offered Oct. 12-16 are:

  • Expressions, for kindergarten-3rd graders, 9 a.m.-noon. Children will engage in art in a new way each day as they experiment, play, and create connections between their own creative explorations and the ideas and techniques of great artists. Camp limit is 15.
  • Creepy Cooking,for kindergarten-3rd graders, 9 a.m.-noon. Children will whip up some spooky veggies and dip, Freaky Fingers and Ghouls Brew, snake bites, Hootwiches, Zombie toast and more, with Rachel Reagan. Camp limit is 12.
  • Fall Clay, for ages 5-8, 1-4 p.m. Young clay artists will hand-build a pumpkin, spooky bat wind-chimes, ghost foot, mask, candy dish, and monster pot sculpture, and then glaze the pieces. Museum resident clay artist Sherrie Carris leads the camp. Camp limit is 12.
  • Spooktacular Clay, ages 9-13, 9 a.m.-noon. With Sherrie Carris, young potters will hand-build spooky pumpkins, ghosts, cats, masks, monster sculpture, candy dish, and more, and then glaze the pieces and have them fired in time for Halloween. Camp limit is 12.
  • Jazz Pop,4th-7th grades, 1-4 p.m. Young dancers will join Danya Spratling to learn basic dance steps and learn a routine, make a hip hop hat, and for Halloween, create a dance to “Thriller” and “I’m a Monster.”
  • Haunted by Cooking!4th – 7th grades, 1-4 p.m. Young chefs will create scary treats for fall: yummy lungs, finger food, and intestines to drink bloody hand punch with, led by Rachel Reagan. Camp limit is 12.

The Children’s Museum is open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, and 1-4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $8 for adults, $7for seniors ages 62 and older, and $6 for children ages 3-18. Admission is free for children under 3 and museum members. For more information, call (865) 482-1074 or see the web site at



Council doesn’t change Secret City Festival date, leaves it up to new nonprofit board

City Council Chuck Hope, Warren Gooch, and Ellen Smith on Sept. 14, 2015

Pictured above at the Oak Ridge City Council meeting on Monday, Sept. 14, 2015, when changes to the annual Secret City Festival were made, are Council members Chuck Hope, left, Mayor Warren Gooch, and Mayor Pro Tem Ellen Smith. (Photo by John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today)


Note: This story was updated at 10:36 a.m.

They’ve heard concerns about moving it to the fall, and the Oak Ridge City Council on Monday did not change the date of the annual Secret City Festival. Instead, Council left any potential date change up to a new nonprofit board that could be appointed in October.

It was one of a series of steps meant to make the Secret City Festival less costly for the city and less labor-intensive for the municipal staff, to rethink how it’s organized, and to make it self-sustaining. The festival could be incorporated into a new, expanded Secret City Celebration that could include other events.

A Special Events Advisory Task Force appointed by City Council in February had recommended moving the festival to the fall as part of a celebration that would last at least a week, start in October, and continue through Veterans Day, November 11.

But Council members and a few residents laid out some objections to the proposed date change, including “dicey weather” in the fall; the potentially cold temperatures, especially for nighttime concerts; conflicts with football and other fall events; and concerns over the possibility that the festival could again become saturated with political candidates in election years, now that municipal elections have been moved to November. There were also concerns about whether some organizations that now participate in the June festival, including artists and World War II re-enactors, could take part in the fall. [Read more…]

Council could consider changes to Secret City Festival tonight, including move to fall

Secret City Festival World War II Re-enactment 2015

A Flak 88 firing during a Battle of Normandy re-enactment at the 2015 Secret City Festival in Oak Ridge. (Photo by Rob Welton)


The Oak Ridge City Council could consider changes to the Secret City Festival tonight, including an expansion and a possible move to the fall.

The annual festival could be expanded into a celebration that could start in October and run through Veterans Day (November 11), last at least a week, and include the Secret City Festival. The expanded festival—which now includes music, children’s activities, a World War II re-enactment, and vendors and exhibitors—could be called the Secret City Celebration.

The changes have been recommended by the Special Events Advisory Task Force, which was set up by City Council in February and chaired by Council member Trina Baughn. The task force was expected to meet for six months and then provide a report to Council.

“The idea is not to limit the celebration to a single event, but to incorporate other activities over an expanded period of time that allow for greater participation by both patrons and various organizations within the community,” Baughn said in an August 5 memo to City Council. [Read more…]

Two artists featured in Children’s Museum exhibit

Artists Marta Goebel-Pietrasz and Pat Clapsaddle will exhibit their art works in a show titled “Five Corners” Sept. 5 through Oct. 1 at the Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge. The opening reception will be from 2-4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 5, in Imagination Gallery at the museum, 461 W. Outer Dr., Oak Ridge.

The “Five Corners” refer to five groups of works the artists will be exhibiting. In four corners of the gallery, Goebel-Pietrasz will exhibit mixed media works on paper as one group and three groups of photographs of cats, flora and mountains.

Clapsaddle’s painted clay creations will include platters, bowls, vases, cups, mugs and servers, all telling a story in visual form with themes related to people, places, animals and fish. They will represent the fifth corner, in five showcases in the gallery’s center. Many of her designs are from her own photographs, and she uses reference materials to paint animals and birds on her clay pieces. [Read more…]

Knoxville has First Friday, now Oak Ridge has Third Friday

The Locally Grown Gallery, home to 39 regional artists, will be hosting events from 5:30-9 p.m. in their gallery and studio as part of a new Third Friday.

The Locally Grown Gallery is located ​behind the Soup Kitchen in Greenwich Village Mall in historic Jackson Square.

The ​inaugural Locally Grown Gallery Third Friday event will be August 21. Weaver Andy Lyle and author B.J. Gillum will be the featured artists.

Lyle is an Oak Ridge native and member of the Foo​thills Craft Guild. She will be demonstrating on her large loom as well as teaching easy beginner projects. She will have small loom kits and fiber available for purchase. [Read more…]

Oak Ridge Library art exhibit in July features Ray Smith photos

Ray Smith Wall of Photos

Ray Smith Wall of Photos (Submitted photo)



The art exhibit at Oak Ridge Public Library for the month of July is a collection of 40 photographs by D. Ray Smith. Titled “Some of My Favorites,” this exhibit is a wonderful selection of images from Ray Smith’s archive of nature photographs. His images depict wildflowers, trees, rivers, and streams from various East Tennessee locations including the University of Tennessee Arboretum and Frozen Head State Park.

Smith is well-known to most Oak Ridgers. He is the historian at the Y-12 National Security Complex and a journalist for The Oak Ridger newspaper, and he serves on a number of boards of directors for local nonprofit organizations. A resident of Oak Ridge for 44 years, he and his wife Fanny have two sons and five grandchildren. He is often found at community events taking photographs that he generously shares with the public. [Read more…]

Golden Dragon Acrobat Show to benefit ORHS Masquers

Color Wheels

Color Wheels (Photo courtesy Masskus Productions)


The Golden Dragon Acrobats will perform on Saturday, July 25, in a show that will benefit the Oak Ridge High School Masquers, the school’s drama program. It’s the group’s first visit to East Tennessee in more than a decade.

“The Golden Dragons are recognized throughout the United States and abroad as the premiere Chinese acrobatic touring company of today,” a press release said.

It said the Golden Dragon Acrobats represent the very best of a time-honored circus tradition that began more than 25 centuries ago. The group has more than two dozen highly trained acrobats and technicians.

The family entertainment event starts at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 25, at the Oak Ridge High School Performing Arts Center. All seats are reserved. Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under, and they are available through [Read more…]

Area lawmakers announce $72,190 in Anderson County arts grants

Tennessee legislators announced Friday that seven arts grants worth $72,190 have been awarded to six organizations in Anderson County.

The recipients include the Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge, Oak Ridge Community Playhouse, Oak Ridge Civic Music Association, Oak Ridge Community Art Center, Tennessee Mountain Writers, and Appalachian Arts Craft Center.

The grants include two grants with a combined total of $20,800 for the Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge in the categories of Arts Education-Community Learning and Partnership Support.

The other grants include: [Read more…]

Record crowds: Secret City Festival was ‘tremendous success’

Secret City Festival Concert 2015

A concert crowd at the 2015 Secret City Festival in Oak Ridge. (Photo by Robert Welton)


The 2015 Oak Ridge Secret City Festival drew record attendance, despite the heat, organizers said. Concerts by the Marshall Tucker Band and Three Dog Night attracted the highest number of spectators in festival history.

“We were ecstatic with the turnout for both concerts,” says, Marc DeRose, executive director of the Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We knew the bands would be popular but didn’t expect to see quite so many people. It was outstanding!”

Attendances for The Marshall Tucker Band and Three Dog Night were more than 2,200 and more than 3,500, respectively. The previous record was 2,300 for the Rick Springfield concert in 2013.

“After seeing how many tickets were sold at the gate for Friday’s Marshall Tucker concert, we decided to move the concert fences back to accommodate the expected additional 1,000-plus spectators for Three Dog Night,” DeRose said. [Read more…]

Lavender Festival celebrates herbal products on Saturday

Lavender Festival Crowd

The Lavender Festival will celebrate “all things herbal” in Jackson Square on Saturday.

The 17th annual festival is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 20. There is no cost to attend.

“Jackson Square has been under renovations since January, but they are expected to be finished in time for the festival, which will go on as planned,” organizers said.

They said free parking is available in surrounding city and business lots, and on side streets.

The Lavender Festival focuses on herbs, health, gardening, and cooking, and it features more than 100 vendors, a dozen herb and health presentations, children’s activities, and many musicians. Vendors will line the covered walkways of Jackson Square, the parking lot, and both sides of Broadway Avenue, which will be closed to traffic. [Read more…]