Bill May Receives 2015 Tennessee Governor’s Arts Award


Bill May

Bill May

On March 17, Governor Bill Haslam presented Bill May, executive director of Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, with the 2015 Governor’s Arts Leadership Award for his service to the arts in Tennessee.

Four years ago, Bill May was a successful stained glass artist, family man and stable member of the Gatlinburg business community serving on the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts Board of Governors. He had no idea that his life and career were about to change – that he would be called upon to “save” Arrowmont’s very existence.

When news that Arrowmont’s historic campus was to be sold and Arrowmont might have to relocate, May was asked to lead the effort to resolve the issue. Believing in the importance of art to all and Arrowmont’s importance to Tennessee and to Appalachia, May agreed and immediately embarked on stabilization- increased enrollment, improved morale, and strengthened Arrowmont’s role in the community.

On April 2, 2014, Arrowmont realized independence, secured its future, preserved its legacy to provide craft education to new generations, support artists and advance arts and culture for generations to come.

Established in 1971, the Tennessee Governor’s Arts Leadership Award is presented to individuals that have demonstrated significant support or participation in activities on a statewide basis that advances the value of the arts in Tennessee communities. The award is produced by the Tennessee Arts Commission and recognizes individuals and organizations whose contributions to the cultural life of Tennessee are outstanding. Recipients were honored in Nashville at the Tennessee Executive Residence March 17, 2015 by Governor and First Lady Haslam.

Others receiving awards at last night’s ceremony included: Scott Niswonger, BB King, Mary Costas, Dr. Bobby Jones, Loretta Lynn, Cormac McCarthy, Stax Museum of American Soul Music, Bill Henry, and Jack Martin.

Source: Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts