Smoky Mountain Pottery Festival

Where can you see an artist whose work is displayed in galleries across America and is known in artistic circles as one of the best in his craft? This year, it’s basically right in your backyard at the Smoky Mountain Pottery Festival in Townsend as Jim Reinert is the featured artist at the 2012 version of the festival.

Around 30 potters and masters of clay from around the region are expected to be in attendance at the Townsend Visitors Center June 2. Hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on June 2. Artists will show off their skills of hand building, Raku and horsehair firing demonstrations. Children will be able to take part in hands-on activities with Carol Ware.

Reinert received an MFA in ceramics from Michigan State University in 1976. He currently works in Owosso, MI as an active studio potter. Reinert has been involved for many years with the Lansing Community College ceramics and art programs in addition to serving as an instructor at the Potters’ Guild since 1974. He was a founding member of the MI Guild of Artists and Artisans and maintains an active profile in its operation. The guild produces one of the three Ann Arbor summer art fairs.

Hugh Bailey, a 50-year potter whose creatures and various animals are renowned, and Joe Frank McKee of Treehouse Pottery in Dillsboro, N.C., will also be at the festival presenting their wares. The children’s tent, where young people and families can learn how to work with clay, will be overseen by Maryville native Carol Ware.

A grant from Arts Build Communities, a program funded by the Tennessee General Assembly and administered in cooperation with the Tennessee Arts Commission and the Arts and Culture Alliance of Greater Knoxville, is what makes this festival possible every year.

The festival also includes food booths and music, and is located at 7906 East Lamar Alexander Parkway in Townsend.