Arts at Work

Providing professional development for artists and makers in the Appalachian Highlands.

Program Outline

Established in 2016, Create Appalachia’s Arts@Work Series is designed to provide opportunities for learning and networking for our region’s entrepreneurs. The series offers workshops and programs led by experts from the Appalachian Highlands and beyond. The content of our presentations is based on feedback from creative entrepreneurs across our region.  From fine art to digital media to industrial design, we seek out speakers and teachers who can help regional creatives become an even more vital sector of the local economy.

Got an idea or request for a program? Send it to our Executive Director, Katie Hoffman, at


The Arts@Work program runs all year, with programs added as they are confirmed. To stay informed of the latest additions, please sign up for our newsletter.


Programs are offered at both of our Centers for Art and Technology (Johnson City and Kingsport). Some are also offered online. Read descriptions below for details.

No Cost:

These programs offer basic information for creatives who want to take their business to the next level. Many thanks to our generous sponsors for helping us offer this series at no cost to attendees!



Register for Arts@Work

Branding Yourself as a Creative – May 2, 2024

Create Appalachia Center for Art & Technology-Kingsport 225 West Center Street, Kingsport, TN, United States

Register Here   In-Person Event, 6 PM to 7:30 PM Create Appalachia's Kingsport Center for Art & Technology, 225 W Center Street Come join us for this evening workshop designed […]

Social Media Setup 101: A Beginner’s Workshop

Johnson City Center for Art & Technology (JCCAT) 714 W Walnut Street, Johnson City, TN, United States

6 to 7:30 PM Create Appalachia's Johnson City Center for Art & Technology714 W Walnut Street, Johnson City REGISTRATION CLOSES ON MAY 11 at 4 PM. Reserve your seat now. […]

Branding Yourself as a Creative

Johnson City Center for Art & Technology (JCCAT) 714 W Walnut Street, Johnson City, TN, United States

Register Here   In-Person Event, 6 PM to 7:30 PM Create Appalachia's Johnson City Center for Art & Technology, 714 W Walnut Street Come join us for this evening workshop […]

What You'll Learn

Branding and Marketing

Negotiation and Public Speaking

Finding Small Business Resources

Legal and Financial Best Practices

Arts@Work Instructors

John Wood

Teaching: “Protect Your Brand with a Trademark”

John has provided intellectual property counsel to companies, from well-established to venture capital funded startups to local businesses, as well as investors, both pre and post investment. In addition to founding and running his law firm law firm, John serves on the Board of Directors of Create Appalachia. He also teaches  intellectual property law as faculty at East Tennessee State University, and serves as an an advisor to various Silicon Valley and Johnson City startups.  His podcast “Let’s See the Patents with John Wood” may be found at  John lives and works in Johnson City, TN but his virtual practice stretches to clients across the country.

Kelly Porter​


Kelly Celeste Porter is an associate professor of graphic design at East Tennessee State University. In addition to her 8 years of teaching, she has also worked for 11 years as a designer and design researcher for Ryobi Power Tools, The B.B. King Museum, Mississippi Blues Trail, and Mississippi Delta Tourism Association.

Professor Porter has presented at UCDA, CAA, SECAC, and Pop Culture Association conferences and she is published in the International Journal of Signage and Wayfinding. She received her MFA from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a BFA in Graphic Communication from the University of Southern Mississippi.

Ruth Livingston

Teaching: “Public Speaking for Creatives”

Ruth Livingston has been a speech communication professor for Northeast State Community College since 2003. She teaches courses in public speaking and interpersonal communication and debate. She also teaches communication skills workshops for businesses, organizations and health care workers. She is the Executive Director for the Tennessee Communication Association. In 2016, she received the Communicator of the Year Award by the Tennessee Communication Association.Ruth received a Bachelor of Science degree in communication from East Tennessee State University. She has two master’s degrees: one in Education from Milligan College and the other in Professional Communication from East Tennessee State University. Her PhD is from Capella University in Profession Studies in Education. She also has Communication Certifications from Toastmasters International and a Professional Listening Certification from the International Listening Association.

Ruth has also published two editions of her textbook, Advanced Public Speaking: Dynamics and Techniques, currently used in college classrooms across the United States.

Jocelyn Mathewes


Jocelyn Mathewes (@jocelynmathewes on Instagram and Facebook) is a mixed-media interdisciplinary artist, living with her family in rural Appalachia in East Tennessee. After receiving her B.A. in Studio Art from Messiah College, she pursued a career in writing, graphic design, and photography. After a decade of work under her belt, several life events led her to change her path, choosing one that led into fine art. She participated in the Artist Residency in Motherhood from 2016 – 2019. Her work has been exhibited in galleries, museums, and community spaces all over the United States. She pours her passion for the arts into her local community, serving on the advisory board for Create Appalachia and coordinating artist meet-ups to foster growth and collaboration. In 2020, she created Eat/Art Space, a private pop-up gallery from her dining room in Appalachia (@eatartspace). Eat/Art Space showcases regional artists and regional food purveyors.

Aundrea Wilcox


Aundrea’s biography on reveals that she is a superstar when it comes to boosting small business! It reports that she “has provided technical assistance to over 1,600 individuals or businesses. As a business coach she has contributed to creating 692 new jobs, raising $11.4 million for local companies, and assisting several clients with applying for minority, veteran, and woman-owned business certifications resulting in these companies achieving certifications and securing new contracts totaling more than $10 million. [She] is also the author of two books: Startup Savvy: Strategies for Optimizing Small Business Survival & Success and Superwoman Smarts: Activating Leadership & Substance.” Aundrea teaches in our Arts@Work series on behalf of the area Small Business Association. She is the Executive Director of the Kingsport Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, which is part of the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce.

Hannah Harvey

Teaching: “The Story that Gets You Noticed”

Hannah Harvey’s work has been featured on a variety of platforms, from the National Storytelling Festival to Yale University’s Grand Psychiatric Rounds, and in two courses on storytelling with The Great Courses. She has given workshops for Veterans Administration healthcare providers nationwide on storytelling and rural healthcare; for lawyers on storytelling and representation; for psychiatrists at Yale on storytelling and mental health; and for pastors and rabbis on storytelling in ministry. Specializing in Appalachian oral history and performance ethnography, she has performed as a featured teller at the National Storytelling Festival in Tennessee; received accolades for her performances at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland; and led intercultural workshops in Casablanca, Morocco. She has produced two video courses with The Great Courses on The Art of Storytelling: From Parents to Professionals (2013) and The Children’s Guide to Folklore and Wonder Tales (2017), and recently published a third Audible Original course on The Hidden History of Holidays (2019) in conjunction with The Great Courses.

Katie Hoffman


Along with serving as Executive Director of Create Appalachia since 2016, Katie is the owner and founder of, an arts and cultural heritage consulting business established in 2012. She is a scholar and performer of traditional Appalachian music with a special fondness for traditional ballads. Katie is also a singer-songwriter. Her 2004 CD, Beautiful Day, was produced by Raymond W. McLain and features the East Tennessee State University Bluegrass Pride Band. She was the traditional music producer for a 4-part PBS series entitled Appalachia: A History of Mountains and People. Katie also co-chaired the Appalachian section of the 2003 Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the Mall in Washington, DC. A few years ago, Katie co-curated a fine art exhibit entitled Changing Appalachia: From Custom to Cutting Edge, including work from the vanguard of fine artists from across Appalachia. Her work also includes several oral history projects: Windows on the Past: A History of the Vardy Community, Hidden Heroines of Northeast Tennessee: The First Stories, and an oral history project on the McLain Family Band of Eastern Kentucky. Since 2008, Katie has worked on local food initiatives across the region, serving such organizations as the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Collaborative for a 21st Century Appalachia. Katie holds an undergraduate degree in English from The College of William and Mary, an MA in English from East Tennessee University and a Ph.D in English from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Her specialty is Appalachian Studies, and she has over two decades of experience teaching writing and literature.

Ginger Keller-Ferguson


Ginger is the owner and founder of Keller-Ferguson & Associates and its nonprofit services division, KFA Nonprofit Management Solutions, a grant writing and fundraising consulting firm established in 2010 and located in Johnson City, Tennessee. Ginger holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in technical writing and a Master’s degree in business administration from East Tennessee State University. Over the past two decades, Ginger has helped secure over 30 million dollars in private, corporate, state, and federal funding for her employers and her consulting clients. Her employers and clients have included East Tennessee State University, Kingsport City Schools, Northeast State Community College, the Niswonger Foundation, Langston Education and Arts Development, and many others. Ginger has written five ebooks covering nonprofit management topics and developed the online grant writing course, Grant Funding: Making Grant Writing Work for Your Organization, to share her knowledge and insights to help do-gooders “Do More, Better.”

Let's Get Started

Check out the full list of classes for this program and register today.


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”)


Any Questions?

If you want to learn more about this or any of our programs give us a shout.