When: Saturday, December 8th, 10am – 5pm                                           Where: 309 E. Main St., Johnson City, TN (old JC Penney’s building)

Looking for unique gifts for the holidays? Stop by the JCPA Holiday Splash Art Market to find one-of-a-kind fine arts and handcrafted items for everyone on your list! Artisans will offer everything from fiber art and jewelry to paintings and photography (and much more!). Enjoy light refreshments and live music while you shop! View a complete list of artisans at the end of this post.

In an effort to give back to local artists, JCPA is hosting the art market and waiving the vendor fee for participants. In place of the fee, JCPA has asked artists to donate one item for a silent auction to help raise funds for future public art projects. The silent auction will be held during the JCPA Holiday Splash Art Market, and attendees may bid on these items anytime throughout the event!

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Stop by Bee Locke’s booth for a look at her beautiful burned wood and leather items. Locke designs each piece with intricate details and completes each one by hand. You’ll find kitchenware, wooden jewelry, wood boxes, photo frames, original artwork, and more!
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Do you think more abstractly? Kelly Swift’s abstract acrylic and mixed media paintings combine eye catching colors in exciting ways. Swift explains that her paintings “convey the landscape around [her] and [her] inner world.”
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Time to accessorize! Grab some wearable art at Emily Parris’ booth for some extra color and style. Parris will offer boutique style women’s clothing, long sleeve and short sleeve t-shirts, and silk and rayon scarves and shawls, among other items. Her items are made using traditional and non-traditional tie dye and shibori techniques.
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Who can resist gemstones, beads, and pearls? Linda McCulley’s handcrafted sterling silver jewelry would be a wonderful addition to anyone’s collection. McCulley also uses vintage pieces and found objects in her designs.
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Bold and bright colors are sure to greet you at Jason Flack’s booth. His unique, contemporary style shows through in his expressive paintings and drawings.   Flack explains, “My paintings stretch from cartoony landscapes to Haring-esque portraits of iconic figures.”
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One-of-a-kind clothing, aprons, bags, and accessories await you at the market! Lauren Houser collects all types of fabrics and garments and uses them to create her own clothing. She also upcycles already made garments into something new!
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Beautiful photos capture animals, rusting cars, and scenic views in the perfect light. Richie Hayward will have various sizes of his work available.
Tara Elouafi’s drawings create a visual experience using markers or paint. You won’t want to miss an opportunity to view her work!
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The market wouldn’t be complete without ceramics! Visit Emily Johnson at her booth for her glazed vases and other items.

No matter what you’re looking for, you’re sure to find great gifts for yourself and others at the JCPA Holiday Splash Art Market. See below for more examples of what you will find there!

The market will coincide with the unveiling of new art in the breezeway between the King’s Centre and the old Massengill’s building (off S. Roan St.). Some of the new art pieces were completed by local high school students. In addition, JCPA will unveil a community art piece that community members have been contributing to throughout the year.

The market will be held in the old JC Penney’s building (309 E. Main St.) in downtown Johnson City. We hope to see you there!

JCPA Holiday Splash Art Market Artisan List:

Angelique Gibson – fiber arts
Becky Hope Mallory – indigo dyed fiber
Bee Locke – burned wood and leather
Brooke Day & Whitney Parkinson – upcycled objects
Eliza Coral – animal paintings, hand-painted items
Emily Johnson – ceramics
Emily Parris – fiber art, wearable art
Erica Freeman – pottery
Erin Brackett – reclaimed and created jewelry
Harlen Adams – wood
Heather Donovan – various textiles
Jason Flack – paintings, drawings
John Edgell – photography
Karen Hitchcock 
Kelly Jeanette Swift – mixed media, painting
Lauren Houser – sewing, design
Linda McCulley – jewelry
Logan McClelland – fiber art, functional pieces
Mary Nees – paintings
Matthew Hardman – woodworking, spray art
Rachel Slaughter – woven fiber
Richard Dwyer – turned wood
Richie Hayward – photography
Sarah Dorr – ceramics
Stacy Jones – acrylic paintings, jewelry
Tara Elouafi – drawings, paintings
Tommy Schuette – drawings


Photo: JT McSpadden, City of Johnson City Community Relations Department

There were lots of smiling faces as two new traffic wraps were installed on Boone Street in front of Johnson City Transit. These are the second and third traffic wrap installations in downtown Johnson City. The first was placed by the Johnson City Public Library at the corner of Fairview and Roan streets last year. The wraps are made from a durable vinyl material that can last for many years.  Members of the Boys and Girls Club created designs for the wraps under the supervision of JCPA Committee member Sheri Earnhart and alumni and staff from the club.

The club members decided that pollination and safety were two themes they wanted to explore in their designs. The wrap designs are aligned with the local pollination program (known as the “What’s the Buzz” campaign) that provides education and outreach to raise awareness about the importance of pollinators while highlighting the issues associated with their decline. The program also seeks to develop the pollination corridor, or pollinator-friendly habitat, throughout the downtown and East Tennessee State University. So now when you notice bees and flowers and bears with honeycombs on the wrap designs, you’ll know why!


So how do they get these wraps on the control boxes? With trained vinyl wrapping professionals, that’s how! Vinyl wrapping is a delicate process and must be done with precision and care to ensure that the wraps are smooth (creases are not pretty!) and have the proper orientation. It’s like putting a giant sticker on a 3 dimensional object.

Staff from Stafford Custom Graphics carefully place the wrap on one side of the control box. They remove the backing from the top half of the “sticker” first and adhere it to the box, and then they repeat the procedure on the bottom half.

After one side of the wrap is in place, the smoothing begins! Small plastic scrapers are used to work out any ridges that may have formed in the vinyl.


Bet you won’t guess what they use to seal the wrap to the box! But if you’re thinking of heat, you’re correct. They bring out a blow torch and move it quickly over the wrap to seal it to the box. The blow torch can also be used to smooth out creases that might come up.

The blow torch in action!

Boys and Girls Club members got the chance to assist in the installation of their work. Stafford staff handed out several plastic scrapers, and with so many helping hands, the wrap was smoothed out in a flash.

Photo: JT McSpadden, City of Johnson City Community Relations Department
Photo: JT McSpadden, City of Johnson City Community Relations Department

Johnson City Public Works staff even gave a quick lesson on the operating systems within the traffic control boxes! Everyone learned something new.


Johnson City Public Art’s traffic wrap program turns ordinary traffic control boxes into works of art and is intended to beautify our City by adding some color and creativity to the urban landscape. Keep an eye out for more traffic wraps in the near future! You might see some new designs pop up around Buffalo Street *wink wink*. Thanks to everyone who made these two new wraps possible!

View the slideshow below for additional installation photos:

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5 x 5 Event & Fundraiser Proceeds Benefit Boys and Girls Club of Johnson City and Johnson City Public Art

BGC Check Presentation Photo
5 x 5 Exhibit & Fundraiser proceeds delivered! Johnson City Public Art (JCPA) committee member Chasidy Hathorn (middle) and City of Johnson City staff member Cheyenne Kumbhare (left) presented a check to Robin Crumley (right), president and CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Johnson City. JCPA also received a portion of proceeds from the fundraiser.
Over 50 regional artists made this event possible. Each artist on the list above donated one or more unique artworks to the exhibit and fundraiser, and we want to thank them again for all their time and effort!


The 5 x 5 Exhibit & Fundraiser took place in August and was hugely successful. JCPA committee members Sarah Nobles, Chasidy Hathorn, and Elvis Kee headed up the planning committee for the event and pulled everything together within a couple of months. Artists generously donated over 120 artworks for the benefit, and nearly all of the artworks sold! Many lined up outside the Tipton Gallery well before doors opened to be one of the first to view and choose art pieces for purchase.


Artworks included various techniques and styles, with media ranging from watercolors and acrylic to mixed media and photography, among others. All art pieces were 5″ x 5″ and were sold for $25.


Over 100 pieces sold within the first hour! All art remained on the wall for exhibition for an hour and a half, and attendees mingled with one another while enjoying the art on display. There was something to appeal to everyone, and there was excitement in the air as the art pieces were selected.

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A large crowd gathered in Tipton Gallery to view and purchase the art on exhibit. There wasn’t much elbow room during the first hour!

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All proceeds from the event have been distributed to the Boys and Girls Club of Johnson City and JCPA. JCPA plans to hold the 5 x 5 Exhibit & Fundraiser annually, so if you weren’t able to make it out this time, make sure to stop by next year!




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Sheri Earnhart, art instructor and Johnson City Public Art Committee (JCPAC) member, assists with the coordination of JCPA’s traffic wrap program. This program turns ordinary traffic control boxes into works of art and relies on the talents of local youth to get the job done. Earnhart teaches private art lessons and is part of the team of artists at MOMAC studio in Johnson City. In her post below, she describes her experience with the traffic wrap program and the Boys & Girls Club members who have helped make the program possible.

To begin, here is a small blurb courtesy of Robin Crumley, president & CEO of Boys & Girls Club of Johnson City:

“Boys & Girls Club (BGC) had so much fun working with Sheri Earnhart and her team to create two designs for the light boxes in downtown Johnson City.  The community helped to donate supplies and paper. BGC members, staff, intern and board members all came together throughout several months to make this happen. Activities included a review of light box layouts; to creative ideas in focus groups with the kids; to design work and artistry from club members, alumni and staff; to final City photography for wrap.” 

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Boys & Girls Club member and intern measure a traffic box.

As the committee member overseeing this ongoing project that beautifies the traffic control boxes in town with art, I’ve had a really wonderful time getting to know the people making the art happen and helping foster the creativity of our local youth.  It is truly inspiring to see them all at work.  

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Board member helps club member with paint.

The BGC members really landed on a great concept promoting both our great pollinators and safety.  I think their art will make a great addition to the Johnson City pollination corridor.

-Sheri Earnhart, JCPA member

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Boys & Girls Club members work on traffic wrap art.


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Johnson City Public Art Committee member, Chasidy Hathorn, donates art supplies.


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City of Johnson City staff member prepares to photograph the art.



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Mary Nees, retired adjunct from the East Tennessee State University Art Department, is a current member of the Johnson City Public Art Committee. She is also a professional artist; her work embodies the idea of the conceptual landscape and is created through a variety of methods, from mixed media and drawings to paintings and printmaking. In her post below, Nees discusses the origins and evolution of public art. She explains the importance of making art accessible to the public as it can help build communities, beautify surroundings, and impact individuals in a positive way.

Question from a Johnson City-ite: What is this thing called “Public Art” I’m hearing about?

Answer from a JC Public Art Committee member: The idea of “public art” is not new and in fact is older than our hills. Any assumption that ‘real art’ is found only in high-end galleries or on the walls of museums for the price of your admission is actually a modern prejudice.

Consider, for example, the lyrical drawings on cave walls by primitives. There were no wine and cheese fetes set up for the viewing of that work. The images were scratched out and presented for view by locals in their common life.

Or think about the medieval altarpieces and storied frescoes. These were made for simple churches in small towns all over Europe to teach those who could not read about big biblical themes.

In both these historical periods, art served a very public purpose. It’s presence exemplified, and left us a legacy of what each culture considered the root of reality. And all this work was free and accessible.

In the last several centuries (and for a host of political, philosophical and cultural reasons) artwork has been closeted inside expensive buildings under lock and key. Art has become “nice but not necessary” to most, or confusing and elitist to many.

Yet, even in current times aesthetic expression still strives for a public viewing. The amazing mural program in the city of Philadelphia began as an effort to encourage and train spray-can graffiti artists to move from defacing public spaces to enhancing them. When an organized effort is made to put quality artwork “out there” we all win.

Mary Nees Blog Pic

As a committee, we have an expectation therefore that art can move people, that it can improve our common spaces, that it represents common realities and that it can lift our vision as a city. And so, we are investing in work that enhances our public spaces. Look around Johnson City; you’ll see some exciting examples.





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Michelle Treece, Johnson City Public Art Committee (JCPAC) member and retired teacher, has served on JCPAC since last fall. Treece taught for nearly 33 years in the Johnson City School system, and is greatly interested  in ensuring that the youth in our community have opportunities to become involved in public art. “I have a special interest in seeing our local youth make positive contributions to our community,”  Treece explains. In her post below, she reveals one of the exciting new mural installations that will be placed in one of the main breezeways downtown. Treece assisted with coordination of the mural project along with local school teachers. 

A walk around downtown Johnson City, TN will reveal splashes of art…. art in various forms of color, a variety of art mediums, and various levels to the viewing eye.  Johnson City has spectacular art above the eye level as in the new Johnson City sign. One can find beautiful artistic bridge rails all along the waterway right below eye level at King Commons. At the downtown entrance to Founders Park, below eye level, one can see some amazing artwork on the ground right under your feet! Standing in that spot, looking forward into the park all along the horizon, you will find a plethora of sculptures close up and off in the distance, as far into the park as you can see.

Genesis – Marc Moulton & Duke Oursler

Downtown Johnson City is covered with art on all levels!! If you love metal works, we have it! If you love mixed media art, we have it! If you love nature coupled with the engineering “art” of storm water mitigation and conservation, we have it! If you love the art of music and the live outdoor music at Founders Park or the JC Drum Circle at the pavilion, we have it!! Anyone who loves art should have something to love in downtown Johnson City.

This blog is about the art that one can see at eye level, right in front of you! Murals! Murals have been adding a palate of color to the once monotonous, brick walls of the downtown area.


Train Mural
Untitled – Don Bledsoe

Downtown murals are located along the walkways by some of the downtown shops, restaurants, coffee shops and music venues, and in King Commons – the latest addition to the collection. This mural is a colorful representation of several themes from Johnson City. This mural, entitled Wildabout displays an artistic reflection of our concern for flood water control, our strong desire for bee pollination and conservation, local plant and animal life, and local architectural landmarks. The artist, Ian Brownlee, was selected from more than 30 applicants to complete this mural.

Wildabout – Ian Brownlee

Many of our locals may have noticed that some downtown framed canvas murals have been removed. These murals, the winning projects from a mural competition during a Blue Plum event several years ago, were on display for a limited time and will be replaced soon.  I am very excited to say that the new murals have been completed by high school students and a high school graduate of local schools in the Johnson City area. An invitation was extended to Topper Academy of Science Hill High School, Providence Academy, and an individual resident of Johnson City. All artists eagerly accepted the challenge!  (An invitation was also extended to University High; however, they were not able to participate.) Groups were provided a simple idea – create a mural that reflects the heart of downtown Johnson City. On-going communication occurred with all groups and several pictures of progress were shared. The resulting murals are amazing! These teachers and students involved were able to complete their projects before the last day of school!

Watch for an upcoming unveiling of the next eye-level installment of several downtown murals – artwork by our own local residents! I think you will be very pleased! Enjoy!

“Art does not reproduce what we see; rather is makes us see.” – Paul Klee

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One of the murals created by local high school students captures a sunset above our mountain landscape.




Join the Johnson City Public Art (JCPA) Committee at Tipton Gallery (126 Spring Street) on August 3rd at 5:55 p.m. for the inaugural 5 x 5 Exhibition and Fundraiser. Artists from across the region are invited to show their work for a fundraising effort to benefit the Boys and Girls Club and JCPA.

All 5 x 5 artworks will be sold for $25 and will be generously donated by the artist to the 5 x 5 fundraising cause.

We appreciate every artist and the generosity and time that comes with donating a piece of art. Many of us on the JCPA committee are working artists and understand that asking for a donated piece of art is a request often made by organizations in their fundraising effort. We understand the magnitude of this request. Aside from fundraising for the Boys and Girls Club and JCPA, an additional goal of 5 x 5 is to introduce potential art collectors to a broad group of artists and hopefully through this event, create a dialog around art in Johnson City.


  • Any working artist is welcome to participate.
  • No more than 5 entries per artist.
  • Art must be original.
  • Art must meet the 5 x 5 dimension and be securely mounted to the board provided by JCPA.
  • Please avoid the use of profanity or nudity. Although we value your freedom of expression, this is a family-friendly event; and we, the JCPA committee, reserve the right to reject art that may be deemed inappropriate.
  • Buyers agree to leave their purchased artwork for the duration of the event.
  • Any unsold artwork will be returned to the artist, or, if agreed upon, will be offered for sale at the next 5 x 5 exhibition and becomes the property of JCPA
  • All art must be submitted by July 20th to the following location:
    Nancy Campbell (423-434-6080): Johnson City Public Works 601 E. Main St., Johnson City, TN, 37601 (you may submit your art by mailing to this address or dropping it off in person)

Sign up to donate your work for the 5 x 5 Exhibition and Fundraiser on the JCPA website at×5-event-at-tipton-gallery/

5 x 5 panels are provided to every participating artist. Please indicate how you would prefer to receive your panel(s) when you sign up to participate on the 5 x 5 submission form.


  • Artwork submission deadline, July 20th
  • Opening reception, August 3rd

All artists are encouraged to attend the opening reception on August 3rd at Tipton Gallery. We want to celebrate you and express gratitude for your participation. Without you it would not be possible.

For details please contact Sarah Nobles at