About Create Appalachia

Artwork: “Chef Dinner”  by Billy Wheeler

Our Mission

Integrating art and business for the benefit of the region.

Our History

We drive economic development by supporting creative entrepreneurs, especially those who combine art and technology to generate new businesses. To do this, we serve on local and regional committees, deliver creative entrepreneurship workshops, host listening sessions, gather data for the Americans for the Arts “Arts & Economic Prosperity” study, and create programming and events that strengthen both the visibility and the viability of creative entrepreneurships in our service area. Our goal is a robust, energetic community of creatives working together to increase both quality of life and economic opportunity in the region.

We have some wonderful partners! Since 2014, Create Appalachia (CA) has worked hand-in-hand with the East Tennessee State University (ETSU), the cities of Johnson City and Kingsport, TN, Sync Space, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), the Tennessee Arts Commission, and many others to provide support for creative entrepreneurs. We define this term broadly, including those who work in digital media, fine arts, culinary arts, film, photography, design and more. Makers in our region can benefit not only from our programs and events, but though the use of spaces carefully curated to meet their needs with special software and equipment.

Our two Centers for Art and Technology are located in Kingsport, TN (KCAAT) and Johnson City, TN (JCAAT). These spaces, designed as micro-enterprise incubators and professional development centers, offer affordable access to commercially licensed software relevant to those who work in digital media, film, photography, and design. Coworking and private office memberships are also available.

Want to know more about our Centers for Art and Technology? Click here for details.


  • Appalachian Regional Commission
  • Tennessee Digital Communities Grant
  • SouthArts
  • TVA Marketing Grant
  • Tennessee Arts Commission “Arts Build Communities” Grant
  • USDA Rural Business Development Grant 

By providing access to affordable co-working and business incubation space, professional development and entrepreneurship training, mentoring, and technical resources, we hope to mitigate the “brain drain” caused by the large number of skilled graduates that are currently leaving the region upon graduation due to the lack of highly-paid, skilled jobs.

We plan to incubate not only businesses,
but a thriving digital arts industry.

What We Offer

Coworking & Private Offices

We have 2 fully-equipped centers for digital and traditional artists to utilize in Johnson City and Kingsport.

Regional Partnerships

We are all about collaboration and are proud to work with other non-profits and economic development partners.

Professional Programs

Get an in-depth course on digital marketing, photography, and more. Click here for more information and our upcoming classes.

Our Footprint

The Create Appalachia Center for Arts & Technology serves the following counties in Northeast Tennessee, and in the adjacent states of North Carolina, Virginia and Kentucky:

Cocke, Hancock, Carter, Claiborne, Grainger, Greene, Hamblin, Jefferson, Johnson, Unicoi, Hawkins, Sullivan, Washington

North Carolina
Ashe, Mitchell, Watauga, Yancy, Avery, Madison.

Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Wise, Grayson, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, Alleghany, Smyth, Washington.

Bell, Harlan, Letcher


This was so, so helpful to me. I’m starting to get a direction/image of what I want my business to be, but this gave me so much of a framework to help develop it!
Thank you so much! This is such a special place and we have so many creatives. We’re so thankful that you’re investing in us!
Hannah was great! Looking forward to more. (Attended “The Story That Gets You Noticed”)

Get Involved

Help us make the Appalachian Highlands a better place to live and work through innovation and entrepreneurship centered around the arts.

Board of Directors

Cher Cornett, Found and Past President,

Associate Professor, ETSU Digital Media, Johnson City, TN

Jane Hillhouse, President,

Community Volunteer, Kingsport, TN

Dr. Katie Hoffman, Executive Director,

Appalworks, Sulphur Springs, TN

Jacy Richardson, Secretary

Assistant Professor of Digital Media at ETSU,
Johnson City, TN

Tom Raymond, Treasurer

Owner, FreshAir Photography,
Johnson City, TN

John Wood, Vice President

Wood Patent Law,
Johnson City, TN

Heath Guinn,

President of Sync Space,
Kingsport, Tennessee

Davin Brown,

Untethered Media,
Kingsport, Tennessee

Crystal Phillips,

JWP Rentals,
Kingsport, Tennessee

Katie Westbrooks,

Creative Director & Lead Graphic Designer, The High Road Agency
Kingsport, Tennessee

Anne Darden,

Northeast State, Assistant Professor of English

Johnson City, Tennessee


Grant Funding Provided By


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More Information

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