Pellissippi State campuses host free Black History Month events

Pellissippi State Community College is celebrating Black History Month with numerous events at its five campuses throughout February. Activities are free and the community is invited.

The Magnolia Avenue Campus starts the month-long activities with “Healthy Pelli: Campus Health Fair,” Wednesday, Feb. 5. Each Friday in February, the site hosts an African Jazz Cafe in the Lobby.

The Division Street Campus offers two films in February: Disney’s “Ruby Bridges” on the 11th and “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” on the 20th. Both are at 12:15 p.m. in the Student Lounge.

The Magnolia Avenue Campus hosts a “History of African-American Music: Freedom Songs, Blues and Jazz” 10:45 a.m.-Noon Wednesday, Feb. 12, in the Community Room. The presentation features local jazz artist Kelle Jolly.

The Blount County Campus presents the documentary “The Underground Railroad” Tuesday, Feb. 18, in the Educational Resources Center.

At the Hardin Valley Campus, Feb. 21 brings “A Celebration of African-American Art, Music and Literature.” The event is in the Goins Building College Center, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. It features an art display, performance by the Vine Middle School African Dancers and Drummers, poetry reading by Oak Ridge poet Rose Weaver, and “Taste of Soul Food.”

Also at the Hardin Valley site, Feb. 27 the community is invited to a Faculty Lecture Series presentation: “John Brown: Maniacal Egotist or Moral Crusader?” by Joy Ingram, an associate professor. The talk is at 2 p.m. in the Goins Building Auditorium.

Throughout the month, African-American history exhibits will be on display in the Community Room of the Magnolia Avenue Campus, the Lobby of the Strawberry Plains Campus, the Student Lounge of the Division Street Campus, and the Educational Resources centers of the Blount County and Hardin Valley campuses.

The theme of the display at the Magnolia Avenue Campus is “All About That Jazz”; Division Street, “Embrace African-American Heritage Board of Fame”; and Strawberry Plains, “African-Americans of Influence.”

Other ongoing events include African tea and coffee tastings:

  • Hardin Valley, Goins Building Rotunda, 8:30-10 a.m. Wednesdays
  • Division Street, Student Lounge, 9-10:30 a.m. Wednesdays
  • Strawberry Plains, Lobby, 9-10:30 a.m. Mondays

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit or call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or

Pellissippi State: Poet Dunbar topic of Feb. 6 Faculty Lecture Series talk

portrait of a male in black hat and gray sweatshirtThe enduring poetry of African-American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar will be the topic of two Faculty Lecture Series presentations at Pellissippi State Community College in February.

Robert Boyd presents “A Salute to Dunbar,” reading selections from “The Complete Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar,” on Thursday, Feb. 6, and Thursday, Feb. 20.

“Dunbar was a ‘griot’ [an African tribal storyteller] who told his tales in verse,” said Boyd, an associate professor of English. “Words, rhythms, rhymes and voices became verse, verse that flowed from his imagination and his life on to those of us who read.”

The Feb. 6 presentation is at 12:30 p.m. in the Goins Building Auditorium of the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. The Feb. 20 presentation takes place at 6:30 p.m. in the Community Room of the Magnolia Avenue Campus, 1610 E. Magnolia Ave.

Both events are free. The community is invited.

Boyd’s presentations will include a discussion of Dunbar’s life and selected readings from his works.

Dunbar was an African-American poet, novelist and playwright of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Born in Ohio to parents who had been slaves in Kentucky, he was one of the first black writers to establish a national reputation.

“He wanted to be known for his more traditional poetry, but most of his better-known works are written in dialect,” Boyd said.

The Faculty Lecture Series 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.

To learn more about “A Salute to Dunbar” or The Arts at Pellissippi State, call (865) 694-6400 or visit To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or

The Arts at Pellissippi State: Spring events range from art exhibits to theatre productions

More chances to enjoy dance, song, culture, art and theatre abound this spring as the 2013-2014 Arts at Pellissippi State, a series of events celebrating arts and culture, continues. Many of the presentations are free, and all are open to the public.

Participation in the arts does not mean just creation or performance by the artists. It can mean something a bit different to each individual who studies an exhibit, listens to a vocalist or discusses a film with friends.

Pellissippi State Community College invites members of the community to find their own ways to participate in The Arts at Pellissippi State’s array of activities.

Kicking off the new year is the “Art Histories” exhibit, featuring the works of S. L. Dickey and Tom Wegrzynowski. The exhibit runs Jan. 16-Feb. 6 at the gallery in the Bagwell Center on Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m., Monday-Friday.

Other visual arts events include an exhibit of the art of Raymond Padrón in February, the Pellissippi State Frame-by-Frame Student Media Competition in March and the annual Student Art Show in April.

In recognition of Black History Month, Pellissippi State presents the Celebration of African-American Art, Music and Literature, Feb. 28, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. The event takes place in the Goins Building College Center on the Hardin Valley Campus.

The college hosts the Seventh Annual Festival of Cultures 4:30-8:30 p.m., April 11, also in the Goins Building. This multicultural celebration allows attendees to sample foods and dance to music from a diverse selection of nations.

Theatre productions, both in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the Hardin Valley Campus, include “Freedom Circus” Feb. 21-23 and “Unnecessary Farce” April 4-6 and 11-13. Admission to “Freedom Circus” is free. Tickets to “Unnecessary Farce” are available at

Musical performances include the Winter Choral Concert on Feb. 25, the Student Honors Recital on March 6, the popular Jazz and Bluegrass Concert on March 27, the Instrumental Concert on April 24, and the Spring Choral Concert on May 1.

Rounding out the spring Arts at Pellissippi State calendar are three Faculty Lecture Series events—two in February and one in March—presented by Pellissippi State faculty members Robert Boyd, Joy Ingram and John May. Lecture topics include poet Laurence Dunbar, abolitionist John Brown and indie wrestling.

For more information about a particular event in The Arts at Pellissippi State, or for a full listing of the spring events, dates and times, visit

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