The Greeneville Arts Council (GAC) is the "brain child" of Greeneville Youth Builders. Since its inception it has received the parent organization's blessing and hours of volunteer assistance essential to both organizations.
In 1962, a Spring Art Show ("Masters to Moderns", made up the works gathered from private collections all over East Tennessee) presented under the aegis of Youth Builders was so enthusiastically received that 5 more such shows were brought to the community each spring, through 1967.
In 1967, with a turnout of more than 9,000 viewers for the stunning exhibitions, "The Australian Painters", made possible through and attended by the Australian Ambassador, Sir Keith Waller, Lady Waller and Mr. Harry Lowe of the Smithsonian Institution, it became obvious that an independent arts-service organization was an idea whose time had come. A farsighted member of Youth Builders (Mary Jane Coleman) petitioned that organization to allow the arts movement to go it alone.
In 1968, the State of Tennessee granted a charter to Greeneville Arts Guild, since changed to Greeneville Arts Coucil. The general purpose (mission) of the corporation is for the general welfare of society, not for individual profit, and its objective is the promotion and stimulation of interest in all of the fine arts, with emphasis on the visual arts.
In 1968, GAC launched as its first arts-service project the popular Arts, Crafts & Hobbies Fair held annually on the lovely grounds of the historic Andrew Johnson home.
The Spring Art Shows were continued and given top priority becasue of the ideal opportunity provided (through bussing and the cooperation of the superintendents of both city and county schools) for all students to see, free of charge, museum quality art works they otherwise might never have had the chance to be exposed to. By the late 1970's and GAC's 15th Spring Art Show, the troubles with OPEC and the ensuing gas crunch forced the schools to discontinue bussing which, in turn, made it necessary for GAC to redistribute its emphasis on these annual shows to other more frequently held high quality exhibitions.
GAC takes pride in the great number of other much needed and innovative arts service programs it has developed in the public schools, the local hospitals, Greene Valley (the State Developmental Center), and in the community generally. It also enjoys a mutually beneficial working relationship with the public school art teachers, Tusculum College's ArtsDepartment, the Sinking CreekFilm Celebration, as well as local and nationally known artists making it possible to sponsor or co-sponsor interestingly varied arts-service projects.
Over the years, GAC has been allowed to exhibit in some of the best art display facilities in town such as Doak-Balch Gallery at Tusculum College, Greene County Library, the local banks and most notably Greenville Light & Power where all the Spring Art Shows were graciously hosted. Realizing that it must have a permanent base to carry out a more effective community arts agenda, this space (a portion of the former Brown Furniture building) was leased in November of 1985 and although much renovation has been done, much more must be done.
The GAC is a registered 510(c)(3) non-profit public charity dedicated to supporting the arts.