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image1Kingsport, Tennessee, is and always has been an industry town. Eastman, Domtar, an abundance of hospitals–it’s easy to forget that this town has more to offer.

Engage Kingsport, working with the Office of Cultural Arts, sought to change that starting several years back. One project it spearheaded was the Kingsport Carousel, a massive undertaking that took years of work by many artists that now rests, completed, downtown for the public to enjoy.

The Art in the Heart Gallery originally opened as a volunteer-led art gallery to help support the Carousel Project. After the project’s completion, Engage Kingsport had every intention of shutting the gallery down. However, Faye Boushley believed that the gallery still had purpose in the town.

Three years after its initial opening, the Art in the Heart Gallery continues to flourish. The number of artists on display has grown from 20 to 75. Each week, local artists teach a variety of classes for children and adults (the schedule for which can be found on the gallery’s website here).

With its mission to support local artistry, Boushley keeps a 100-mile range on the artists showcased in the gallery. The first Thursday of every month, the gallery spotlights a featured artists during downtown’s Sip and Stroll event.

As a nonprofit, all the proceeds from the gallery now go directly to its overhead. Artists are juried into the gallery do not pay a fee to have their work shown. They receive a percentage of the proceeds from the sales.

“The ultimate goal of the gallery is just to continue on,” Boushley said, “and to grow and to support more of the local artists. Also to let Kingsport and the surrounding areas know we’re here.”

The gallery certainly is here and is worth a visit. Located at 246 Broad St. in the heart of downtown Kingsport, it is open Wednesday-Saturday.