Pellissippi State Community College’s Blount County Campus will celebrate Shakespeare — and the 400th anniversary of his death on April 23 — with a two-day festival that is open to the community.
“The Bard at Blount: A Celebration of Shakespeare” will explore how Shakespeare went from being a playwright to being the playwright, and how Shakespeare remains relevant in today’s modern culture. The free event will feature Pellissippi State faculty members Jennifer Horn, Kelly Rivers and Amanda Carr-Wilcoxson delivering lively lectures about Shakespeare’s life and works, as well as performances of iconic Shakespearean scenes by Pellissippi State acting students.
Beginning at 2 p.m., April 19, Carr-Wilcoxson and Rivers will present “Accidental Icon: Shakespeare in History and Culture.” Beginning at 3 p.m., April 20, Horn will present “Renew, Reuse, Recycle: Shakespeare Today.” Horn’s lecture will include a performance by fellow faculty member Grechen Wingerter’s Acting I class.
Each day’s events will be held in the West Chevrolet Auditorium, and Shakespeare birthday cake will be served following both. The Blount County Campus is located at 2731 W. Lamar Alexander Parkway.
To request accommodations for a disability at this event, contact the executive director of Equity and Compliance at 865-539-7401 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit www.pstcc.edu or call the Blount County Campus at 865-981-5300.
These are some of the themes — still relevant today — that will be addressed during the world premiere of the original play, “Which Side Are You On: The Florence Reece Story,” April 15-17 and 22-24 at Pellissippi State Community College.
The play is written by Pellissippi State’s Writer-in-Residence Edward Francisco and is directed by Grechen Wingerter, assistant professor in Liberal Arts. It is a fictional retelling of the life of Florence Reece, an American social activist, poet and folksong writer.
The daughter and wife of coal miners, she penned the song “Which Side Are You On?” during the Harlan County War, a decade-long battle in the 1930s between coal miners and union organizers on one side and the coal companies, gun thugs and law enforcement officials on the other. The war included a series of strikes, skirmishes, bombings, executions and the occupation of Harlan County by both state and federal troops. Reece’s song became a social justice anthem after Pete Seeger recorded it in 1940.
Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for seniors and students and are available at www.pstcc.edu/tickets. Show times are 7:30 p.m. April 15, 16, 22 and 23 and 2 p.m. April 17 and 24.
“This will be a very different play than what people are used to because of the scope of it,” said Wingerter. “The play has a huge, epic scope over decades and follows multiple characters. Plus the content of the play itself is all about social change and workers’ rights. We’re pushing the play to the max.”
Wingerter sees parallels between the social activism of the Harlan County War’s battle between coal miners and coal companies as reflective of similar confrontations still happening today.
“Florence Reece and her husband, Sam, wanted life to be fairer and more equitable for everyone, not just coal miners. Her song has been used in social justice movements since it was written in the 1930s,” Wingerter said.
The ensemble cast of 27 includes a number of Pellissippi State students as well as local children, high school students and other community and professional actors. The style of directing, based upon Bertolt Brecht’s concept of “epic theatre,” will include unusual features for plays, such as image projections and actors in the audience.
“Which Side Are You On: The Florence Reece Story” is one of the events that make up The Arts at Pellissippi State, a series of cultural activities including music, theatre, international celebrations, lectures and the fine arts. The play also is part of this year’s Common Academic Experience, a shared reading experience that includes class curriculum and extracurricular activities and events. This year’s Common Book is “The United States of Appalachia” by Jeff Biggers.
Additionally, “Which Side Are You On” is sponsored by an Arts Builds Communities grant administered by the Tennessee Arts Commission.
For more information, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts or call 865-694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability at this event, contact the executive director of Equity and Compliance at 865-539-7401 or email@example.com.
Pellissippi State Community College will hold its final musical performance of the year April 28. The Spring Choral Concert will feature musical performances by the college’s students in Concert Chorale and Variations Ensemble. The free concert will begin at 7 p.m. in the Clayton Performing Arts Center, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. The concert is part of The Arts at Pellissippi State, which brings to the community cultural activities ranging from music and theatre to international celebrations, lectures and the fine arts. For more information, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts or call 865-694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability at this event, contact the executive director of Equity and Compliance at 865-539-7401 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The work of Pellissippi State Community College students in the Communication Graphics Technology program will be on display at the CGT Student Design Showcase April 18-May 1. A reception will be held from 4-8 p.m. April 21, giving community members the opportunity to meet students and discuss their design work. The free exhibit and reception will be held in the Bagwell Center for Media and Art, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The exhibit is part of The Arts at Pellissippi State, which brings to the community cultural activities ranging from music and theatre to international celebrations, lectures and the fine arts. For more information, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts or call 865-694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability at this event, contact the executive director of Equity and Compliance at 865-539-7401 or email@example.com.
Pellissippi State Community College will hold a non-credit course on dueling banjos through May. “Dueling Banjos for the Adult Beginner” is open to anyone over age 13 and will be held 6-7:30 p.m., Tuesdays, April 12-May 17 at the college’s Strawberry Plains Campus, 7201 Strawberry Plains Pike. Class participants must provide their own banjo. Cost is $99 plus additional materials fee. For more information or to register, call Pellissippi State Business and Community Services at 865-539-7167. To request accommodations for a disability at this event, contact the executive director of Equity and Compliance at 865-539-7401 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Knoxville’s Tennessee Small Business Development Center and Pellissippi State Community College have been recognized for their excellence in facilitating working capital loans to small businesses.
The TSBDC and Pellissippi State recently received the Eagle Award from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Tennessee District, in recognition of the TSBDC having the highest number of clients assisted with small business loans among all 14 regions within the TSBDC network. The Eagle Award launched in 2013; Pellissippi State’s TSBDC has won the award two of the past three years.
In 2015, TSBDC Knoxville directly assisted seven clients who obtained a cumulative total of more than $4 million in Small Business Administration loans. As reported by the small businesses receiving funding, a cumulative total of 13 jobs were created and 32 jobs retained as a result of the firms receiving SBA loans to finance their capital needs. Four businesses were started with the loans.
“Pellissippi State’s leadership is evident to identify sources of capital for small business owners” said Walter Perry, District Director of SBA’s Tennessee District Office. “And it is through their relationships with East Tennessee lenders that dollars are available to start or expand a small business.”
“Pellissippi State’s Small Business Development Center has always been committed to helping businesses in our community find the resources they need in order to be successful” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., president of Pellissippi State Community College. “This recognition by the Small Business Administration is an affirmation of that good work.”
The SBA guarantees small business loans and through a cooperative agreement with Pellissippi State and the TSBDC, provides counseling and training to small business owners. A key component of this assistance is helping small business owners acquire capital through SBA-guaranteed loans made by area lenders.
A number of small businesses benefited from this funding, including a veterinarian, winery, restaurant, retail store, transportation services firm, research and development firm and a temporary services agency. Participating East Tennessee lenders assisting Pellissippi State clients included Commercial Bank, Pathway Lending, Peoples Bank, Renaissance Bank and UT Federal Credit Union.
Pellissippi State’s Small Business Development Center serves Blount, Claiborne, Cocke, Jefferson, Knox, Sevier and Union counties. In 2015, it served 466 clients for a total of 2,135 counseling hours. The TSBDC helped 30 new businesses start up, create 183 new jobs and retain 1,280 jobs. The firms TSBDC aided went on to create more than $11 million in new capital investment into the local economy.
For more information about Pellissippi State’s Small Business Development Center, visit www.tsbdc.org or call 865-246-2663. For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.