By Shannon Herron, Dogwood Arts Marketing & Creative Director

Spring in Knoxville is synonymous with Dogwood Arts. What began as a neighborhood beautification project in 1955 has blossomed into one of the longest running nonprofit organizations in our area.

The story of Dogwood Arts began in 1947 when a visiting journalist wrote, “Knoxville is the ugliest city I ever saw in America, with the possible exception of some mill town in New England.” Upon reading this disparaging account, the Knoxville Garden Club, led by Betsey Creekmore, Martha Ashe, and Betsy Goodson, decided they would prove him wrong by showcasing the natural beauty of the city they loved so much. Thus, the seeds of the very first Dogwood Trail were planted!

By 1961, so many visitors were flocking to Knoxville to see the spring-blooming Dogwood trees along the designated trails that area businesses and community leaders felt more springtime public entertainment was needed, and the very first Dogwood Arts Festival was born.

From the very beginning, Dogwood Arts has been a community-driven initiative. Today, from their office and gallery space on Jackson Avenue in the Old City, they continue to promote and celebrate the art, culture, and natural beauty of East Tennessee with more than 20 annual events and programs. Keep reading for just a taste of what Dogwood Arts has planned for this spring, and visit for full details about each event.

Trails & Gardens

April 1-30

No matter where you are in Knoxville, you’re probably closer to a Dogwood Trail than you think! Trails are located in all four quadrants of the city, with more than 90 miles of blooming roadways to explore. Visit to locate the “Trailheads,” then follow the pink lines on the pavement from there. While you visit, be on the lookout for homes with “Open Garden” and “Camera Site” yard signs. The Dogwood Trails of West Knoxville – Sequoyah Hills, Deane Hill, Westmoreland, West Hills, and Farragut – are the “featured” trails in 2024.

Don’t miss this year’s “Spring Featured Gardens” the weekend of April 20-21. Ranging from extensive properties and historic sites to quaint cottage and small urban gardens, these self-guided tours offer visitors a peek behind the curtain, inspiring even the most avid gardeners among us. A fun, unexpected excursion in your own county!

Chalk Walk

April 6

Art in Action. Thousands of art lovers head downtown each year to experience this live art competition in Market Square. The Chalk Walk features more than 300 artists and collaborative teams: From kindergartners to professional artists, this event allows the entire community to show off their creative talents!

Dogwood Arts Festival

April 26-28

Established in 1961, the Dogwood Arts Festival is one of the most celebrated cultural events in Knoxville! The festival is now held at World’s Fair Park in downtown Knoxville and features more than 100 fine art vendors, live music, entertainment, food & beverage vendors, and activities for the entire family. Not your average maker market, this juried event includes artists from across the country working in a variety of mediums – painting, photography, ceramics, leather, wood, sculpture, fiber, mixed media, and more – for one spectacular spring celebration!

Southern Skies Music & Whiskey Festival

May 11

Southern Skies is the newest addition to music programming at Dogwood Arts. Curated by hometown favorites The Dirty Guv’nahs, Southern Skies is an authentically-Knoxville celebration of music and community featuring a lineup of local, regional, and national talent. This year’s event will feature Americana legends Old Crow Medicine Show alongside The Dirty Guv’nahs, Maggie Rose, Amythyst Kiah, Grace Bowers & the Hodge Podge, and Wyatt Ellis.

A new collaboration with the Tennessee Distillers Guild will bring the top distilleries from across the state to Southern Skies this year also. The Tennessee Whiskey Experience is an added enhancement available for purchase to music festival ticket holders.

Dogwood Arts has a 69-year history of arts advocacy, environmental stewardship, and economic impact in East Tennessee. They celebrate nature, create opportunities for artists, and make Knoxville a more vibrant city. With the financial support of corporate sponsors, grant funding, local government investment, and private donors, they are able to produce numerous year-round events and programs that help make Knoxville a great place to live, work, and play.

Dogwood Arts Events

• Art in Public Places: Sculpture & Mural Programs

• Art Kits for Kids: Education and Art Supplies

• First Friday Art Walk Exhibitions

• Chalk Walk

• Dogwood Arts Festival

• Regional Art Exhibition at the Emporium

• Youth Art Programs: Synergy, Epiphone Guitar Design Contest, A Very Special Arts Festival

• Bazillion Blooms: Tree Planting Campaign

• Dogwood Trails – 90 miles in 13 neighborhoods

• Spring Featured Gardens

• Wellness Programs: Bikes & Blooms, Hikes & Blooms, Walking Trials

• House & Garden Show

• Southern Skies Music & Whiskey Festival

• Maker Exchange

Your donations help continue these wonderful programs!

Dogwood Arts
123 W. Jackson Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37902