Arts thriving in Elizabethton community

Published 1:31 pm Friday, April 19, 2024

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Elizabethton is fast becoming known for its arts.

The city will now be home to a couple of beautiful art murals in the downtown – one on  Sycamore Street near East Elk Avenue, which was just completed this week.

The community mural project, known as History in the Making, is in partnership with the Main Street Elizabethton organization and was funded from a Tennessee Arts Commission Arts Building Communities Grant and the City of Elizabethton. The second mural will be located on Hattie Avenue.

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The murals will add to the town’s beauty and history.

Also, the Bonnie Kate Theater will get a make-over this year. The theater has quite the comeback history. The historic auditorium located in downtown Elizabethton opened as a movie theater in 1926. Throughout the years, the Bonnie Kate has hosted talent shows, bond drives for the war, and church services.

However, the theater eventually closed its doors.

Now, the theater is getting a make-over, including both outside and inside. During the past couple of years, the Bonnie Kate has hosted plays, musicians and events. 

The project with the Bonnie Kate fits so well with the goals of the city council’s efforts to revitalize the downtown, demonstrated by the reinstitution of the main street program.

More than $800,000 has been awarded to the theater restoration project with some of those funds coming from the city.

Almost weekly during the spring, summer, and fall seasons, the Elizabethton Parks and Rec Department has programs scheduled at the Covered Bridge Park, which have become quite popular and are well-attended. Among the events are the weekly concerts in the park each Saturday evening in the summer.

Many of our downtown businesses as well as the Carter County-Elizabethton Public Library have a focus on the arts. There are paint classes as well as arts and crafts.

Music, especially festivals, draw  people to the downtown. Music, the most social of the arts, is closely linked to cities, towns, and placemaking. Music thrives where people congregate, especially in walkable locations such as downtowns and parks. Music culture tends to thrive where people are. Communities benefit from a music scene, and vice-versa. Strong culture is as important as walkability, good street frontage, and good food.

Yes, good food is also an asset to the community, especially downtown.

Elizabethton is on the right track to developing a downtown that is inviting and people-friendly. All events, including the summer car show, draw people to the downtown. It’s a favorite place to meet up with people and to have a good time, not to mention that it is a good, safe place to walk on a summer evening.

Take time to explore our downtown and see what is new, and what is old. All are inviting and offer both something new and old, but most of all, a fun time.

We like what is happening downtown.