Featured Stories: Creativity in the Appalachian Highlands
These are the people, the organizations, and the projects that make the Appalachian Highlands so unique.
Board Member Profile: Tom Raymond
By Katie Hoffman, Executive Director, Create Appalachia
If you read Tom Raymond’s profile before you meet him in person, you may be in for a surprise when you encounter him face to face. On paper, Tom is downright intimidating. His accomplishments and talents are so numerous that you can’t imagine he’ll be easy to talk to. Tom’s resumé attests to his impressive intellectual ability, which is exemplified by his long career in academic medicine, followed by his award-winning career in commercial and artistic photography. In person, however, Tom is gracious, funny, and easy to talk to. He is generous and warm, and he’s an enthusiastic storyteller. When he begins to talk about the importance of art and art-based business, Tom lights up.
“My parents were collectors of art and antiques,” he says,“so I was always around them. I developed an appreciation early. My parents gave to many museums. I came by my enthusiasm naturally.”
True to his roots, Tom made certain that when the Millennium Center opened in Johnson City in 2001, he made a generous donation to create a gallery space. He also funded the first exhibit held there, which featured all local artists. This lifelong commitment to the arts and to promoting the needs of local artists and is just one of the reasons why Create Appalachia is lucky to have Tom serving on our Board of Directors.
“I’ve known Tom for years,” says Cher Cornett, President of the Board of Create Appalachia. “I first became familiar with his work through the American Advertising Federation chapter here in NE TN. He [and Fresh Air Photo] earned about a billion ADDY Awards over the years, every one well-deserved. Tom’s truly one of the best, most exacting photographers I’ve ever known. He’s got great ideas for both his craft and for the business end of art. The consummate professional, I’d say. It’s a point of pride for East Tennessee to call him our own.”
Tom started out as an undergrad at the University of Tennessee, then made his way through graduate programs at East Carolina University, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, the Universities of Iowa and Oregon, then M.I.T. He then joined the medical school at East Tennessee State University as faculty. Over the course of his time at ETSU, Tom produced numerous publications, spoke at professional conferences and meetings across the U.S. and abroad, and completed numerous major grant-funded research projects. But photography was calling.
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