2017 Progress Edition
These local businesses support the local arts, theater, and entertainment in our region.
Mary B. Martin School of the Arts
Martin School at ETSU keeps it exciting, eclectic, affordable
The Mary B. Martin School of the Arts brings to the region a program of high caliber public performances, exhibitions, and other activities for students and the greater community. Since its beginning, the Mary B. Martin School of the Arts has offered eight seasons of music concerts, theater, dance and storytelling performances, film screenings, lectures, exhibitions, visual artists, public art projects, comedy, and illusion.
"Our seasons are always eclectic," says Anita DeAngelis, director of Mary B. Martin School of the Arts at ETSU. "We have a lot to offer many different audiences in our community. To me, that is part of the reason why I think every season is exciting.
“Together with our guest artists we’ve danced, laughed and sometimes cried. We've learned more about history, about cultures and ourselves."
The Mary B. Martin School of the Arts’ spring 2017 season includes viol music of the 17th century, classical guitar, the beloved Mountain Stage with Larry Groce – featuring the Claire Lynch Band – two stunning one-man theatre performances, several exhibitions and talks by visual artists, as well as the unique South Arts series of independent films with Q&As with the filmmakers.
Previous seasons have brought music, dance and visual art by Tibetan monks; the vocal tradition of Negro spirituals; stories from Turkey, Israel and Asia; Cherokee, Mexican, American and regional art and artists; classical, Appalachian, jazz, old-time and contemporary music; and dance spanning genres and continents.
All of this is made possible because of a generous gift by James C. Martin. The Mary B. Martin School of the Arts was established in 2009 following this generous gift to East Tennessee State University from “Jim” Martin in memory of his late wife. A lifelong resident of Johnson City, Mary B. Martin graduated from Boones Creek High School, and while working full-time at Eastman Chemical Co. in Kingsport, she took classes and graduated from ETSU with a bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1962. Jim Martin, who also had worked as a chemist at Eastman, passed away in December 2015.
“Jim Martin said his goal in financially supporting the School of the Arts, the local symphony orchestras, the International Storytelling Center and other regional arts programs, was to ‘weave a tapestry’ of arts organizations and events our area,” DeAngelis says.
The Martins’ influence on the arts has indeed been felt regionwide, and DeAngelis and Mary B. Martin School of the Arts have worked to strengthen the network of the area's arts groups and programs, connect with students and community with artists and bring a yearly collection of varied arts experience to audiences of all ages and incomes. Because of the Martins' support, most of the School of the Arts' events are free, and ticket prices are much lower than other venues.
"The funding that this endowment provides is exciting for all of the arts areas, on campus and off," DeAngelis says. "ETSU arts facility, students, and programs have provided the broader community with significant arts events over the years, and we often struggled to fund such activities. Mr. Martin has made it possible for us to bring additional high caliber artists and performers to our community that we wouldn’t have here otherwise.”
For more information about Mary B. Martin School of the Arts, call 423-439-TKTS (8587) or visit www.etsu.edu/martin.