By Darryl Payne
One of the south’s lesser-known treasures is nestled in the hills adjacent to a popular village. What is it? The largest group of independent artists and craftsmen showing their skills. The Glades Arts and Crafts community is comprised of an eight-mile country road loop where over one hundred artists and craftsmen parade their trades. You’ll find a wide variety of art galleries, pottery barns, active workshops, independent artist showrooms, basket-making studios, and many more authentic local artisans.
Originally begun in the 1930’s, a visit to this unique location is still a visit to an earlier era, absent of industrial machines and computers. This was a time when a family community came together to share their talents with one another. Watch a master potter throw and spin clay into one-of-a-kind works on a wheel. Observe artists painting with various forms of art media, and then discover a mother/daughter team making beautiful jewelry they’ve designed together. Here originality and creativity occur daily.
Over the years this has been a place to come and discover the history and heritage that make up the Great Smoky Mountain legacy. What is so interesting about the artists and craftsmen is that they are continually seeking new and innovative ways of capturing their art form for today’s generation. Each year new artists are arriving to share their gifts and talents with the community to make it one of the most unique places to visit in the Smoky Mountains.
To visit the Arts and Crafts Community, simply get on Hwy. 321 in Gatlinburg and turn onto Glades or Buckhorn Road then follow the signs marked for Great Smoky Mountain Arts and Crafts Community. (It’s a very distinctive sign that has MEMBER written at the top.)