Our History

Since 2014, Create Appalachia has worked hand-in-hand with the East Tennessee State University (ETSU), the cities of Johnson City and Kingsport, TN, Sync Space, and others to promote economic development through the arts by service on committees, delivery of arts entrepreneurship workshops, hosting listening sessions, gathering data for the Americans for the Arts “Arts & Economic Prosperity 5” study, and creating arts programming for local festivals.

In October, 2019, ETSU and Create Appalachia (CA) were awarded an Appalachia Regional Commission (ARC) POWER grant of $728,000 and a TN Digital Communities grant of $30,000 to establish the Create Appalachia Arts & Technology Center (the CAAT), a micro-enterprise incubator and professional development center in Johnson City, TN. In 2020, we received an additional $15,000 from South Arts.

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

Studio Space

We have two fully-equipped locations for digital and traditional artists to utilize.

Regional Events

Our list of regional events is constantly growing, check out the full list.

Professional Programs

Get an in-depth course on digital marketing, photography, and more.

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


After attending our Small Business Resources Class:
Honestly, I didn’t know that I needed this class as much as I did.
Thoroughly enjoyed the "Branding Yourself as a Creative" session. Comfortable meeting space also. Very happy to learn this is part of a series and definitely intend to continue.
I got really excited about the resources, the websites, that I can refer to later from the "Branding Yourself as a Creative" workshop!

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, President,

Associate Professor, ETSU Digital Media, Johnson City, TN

Jane Hillhouse, Secretary,

Principal, Hillhouse Creative, Kingsport, TN

James Livingston, Treasurer,

Associate Professor, ETSU Digital Media, Johnson City, TN

Dr. Katie Hoffman, Executive Director,

Sulphur Springs, TN

John Wood,

Wood Patent Law,
Johnson City, TN

Tom Raymond,

Owner, FreshAir Photography,
Johnson City, TN

Heath Guinn,

President of Sync Space,
Kingsport, Tennessee

Samantha Culbertson,

Push the Pixels,
Kingsport, Tennessee

Jacy Richardson,

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

Events & Programs Advisory Committee

Ren Allen,

Faces by Ren,
Jonesborough, TN

Margie Kendall,


Leighton Hart,

Market St. Marketing,
Johnson City, TN

Jocelyn Matthews,

Fine Artist,
Johnson City, TN

Patrick Savage,

Savage Creative,
Bristol, TN

Christy Shivell,

Shy Valley Farm, Studio, and Garden

Jason “Jay” Flack,

Jason Flack Art


Grant Funding Provided By

Subscribe to our newsletter and never miss an update!

Support the region
with us.

You can donate to our cause, or hop in and help out through partnerships.