As part of the 2014 Dogwood Arts Festival, Gatlinburg's Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts presents a free screening of LEGACY, a documentary detailing the school’s colorful history, at 6:30 on Friday, April 25 in the East Tennessee History Center.
The film begins with the 1912 founding of the Pi Beta Phi settlement school. Area residents who attended the school share their memories of a highly unusual public education. “I had a prep school education right here in the mountains,” says interviewee Frances Fox Shambaugh. “I never realized it until I left.”
The school’s first teachers incorporated traditional regional crafts into the curriculum, creating the atmosphere of appreciation and high standards that allowed the school to evolve to become the internationally esteemed Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts.
In 2013, a dozen forgotten 16mm reels of Pi Beta Phi settlement school promotional films were discovered in Arrowmont’s archives. The films have been cleaned, restored and digitized by Motion Picture Conservator Eric Dawson and Media Archivist Bradley Reeves, both of Knox County Public Library's Tennessee Archive of Moving Image and Sound (TAMIS). Spanning five decades—from the 1920s to the 1960s—those films capture a magical isolated campus. They also capture a rapidly changing Gatlinburg, and viewers can see the town blossom from a sleepy mountain hamlet to a bustling tourist destination.