Aerialists, acrobats and other circus artists bring amazing feats to Pellissippi State

Two aerialists and two acrobats perform at Pellissippi State in 2016
Performers with Dragonfly Aerial Arts Studio entertain audiences at Pellissippi State during the annual Circus Extravaganza in 2016.

Knoxville’s own Dragonfly Aerial Arts Studio brings its 8th Annual Circus Extravaganza to Pellissippi State Community College next week in a show designed to appeal to all ages.

Titled “Dominion” this year, the Circus Extravaganza will include about 40 performers – a mix of professionals, teachers and students – entertaining audiences through aerial arts, acrobatics, stilt walking and more.

“People love the shows,” said Jake Weinstein, who is directing the Circus Extravaganza and is on the management team of Dragonfly Aerial Arts Studio. “It’s very family-friendly, story-centered and thought-provoking. With spectacles, amazing feats and humor, there is something that appeals to everybody.”

Four shows will be offered this year at Pellissippi State’s Clayton Performing Arts Center on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road:

  • 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 22 and 23; and
  • 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, March 23 and 24.

Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for children and seniors. All proceeds benefit circus classes for at-risk youth.

“From the beginning, the Circus Extravaganza has supported our scholarship fund that helps at-risk youth and underserved groups attend circus classes and summer camps,” Weinstein said. “We also do circus work in the community.”

The Circus Extravaganza is part of The Arts at Pellissippi State. For more information on upcoming visual arts, theatre and music events, as well the Faculty Lecture Series, at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts.

To request accommodations for a disability for this event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

For more information about Dragonfly Aerial Arts Studio, visit www.dragonflyaerialartsstudio.com or contact Weinstein at 203-843-7444 or dfaas11@gmail.com.

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Pellissippi State generates $253 million annual economic impact

Photo of Hardin Valley Campus in Fall 2018
Every single dollar of local revenue that comes into Pellissippi State generates an estimated annual return on investment of at least $5.94, comprised of $2.90 in local business volume, plus at least $3.04 in individual income.

Over the past five years, Pellissippi State Community College has pumped an average of $253 million per year into the local economy, according to a recently released study.

From 2013-2018, that amounts to about $1.3 billion in economic impact – the value of business volume, jobs and individual income in Knox and Blount counties that’s tied to Pellissippi State.

“I’m proud of Pellissippi State’s economic impact in our community, but we at the college place our emphasis on changing the lives of everyone who comes through our doors,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. “Our greatest impact comes from graduates who pursue their dreams and, in turn, give back to our community, too.”

Of the college’s $1.3 billion in total impact, the majority — $998 million — can be attributed to the infusion of new, non-local revenues such as state appropriations, grants, contracts and federal student financial aid revenues.

“This impact would likely not have occurred without the presence of Pellissippi State in the area,” said educational consultant Fred H. Martin, who conducted the study.

Every single dollar of local revenue that comes into Pellissippi State generates an estimated annual return on investment of at least $5.94, comprised of $2.90 in local business volume, plus at least $3.04 in individual income.

The report also studied what a degree from Pellissippi State might mean for a student. According to the American Association of Community Colleges, graduates with an associate degree can expect to earn about $470,800 more over their work lifetime than if they only had a high school diploma.

Four Pellissippi State students walking on the Hardin Valley Campus
According to the American Association of Community Colleges, graduates with an associate degree can expect to earn about $470,800 more over their work lifetime than if they only had a high school diploma.

For Pellissippi State’s 1,458 graduates in academic year 2017-2018, this means an additional $686 million in lifetime earnings and $2.8 million in additional annual tax payments, which benefit the economy.

Meanwhile, Pellissippi State’s business volume impact in the community amounted to about $619 million from 2013-2018. Of that total, $481 million came from non-local revenues.

Over that five-year period, Pellissippi State’s expenditures created and sustained an estimated 42,675 jobs as well. More than 32,700 of those were created by external or new funds. The college itself employed 2,858 full-time employees from 2013-2018.

The total impact of Pellissippi State’s expenditures on personal income in the area amounts to about $648 million over the past five years, including $517 million from new or external funds.

Read the 31st annual analysis of Pellissippi State’s economic impact in Knox and Blount counties here. For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

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Audition-based Honors Recital gives Pellissippi State students chance to shine

Pellissippi State Community College students who complement their studies through private music instruction will have a chance to share their work with the community at the college’s Honors Recital.

The concert, which is free and open to the public, will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 5, in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

“The Honors Recital highlights students who are (receiving) private instruction in voice or an instrument,” explained Associate Professor Peggy Hinkle, who serves as music program coordinator for Pellissippi State.

Students had to audition for the Honors Recital, she noted. Four music professionals from the community served as judges and selected 16 performers for the Honors Recital – vocalists, pianists, and musicians playing trumpet, guitar, marimba, bass clarinet and trombone.

The Honors Recital is part of The Arts at Pellissippi State. For more information on upcoming visual arts, theatre and music events, as well as the Faculty Lecture Series, at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts.

To request accommodations for a disability for this event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

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Pellissippi State offers free lifelong learning classes on Second Saturdays

What do opening a restaurant, playing the mandolin and using a 3-D printer have in common?

These are among the skills you can learn in just one day at Pellissippi State Community College’s Second Saturday Lifelong Learning at Magnolia.

On second Saturdays this spring, Pellissippi State Business and Community Services will offer a selection of popular lifelong learning classes at the college’s Magnolia Avenue Campus, 1610 E. Magnolia Ave., as part of Pellissippi State’s Weekend College.

All of the March classes offered are free, but you must register in advance to secure your space.

“These noncredit classes provide a mix of small business seminars, hobby classes and professional development courses,” said Teri Brahams, executive director of Business and Community Services. “We’re excited to offer these classes on weekends for those who can’t attend during the week.”

Second Saturday classes scheduled for March 9 include:

  • Thinking of Opening a Restaurant?: Learn the proper steps for setting up the business entity, working through regulations, comparing and selecting vendors, conducting a grand opening and hiring the right staff. 9-11 a.m. Free.
  • Introduction to 3-D Printing: Gain knowledge of the basics of 3-D printing and how you can start using this process to make your own custom creations. 9-11 a.m. Free.
  • Managing Change: Understand how to build the need for change, overcome concerns of those resistant to change, recognize why some organizations resist change and take actions during change to ensure a positive outcome. 9-11 a.m. Free.
  • Quick Pickin’ Mandolin for the Beginner: Watch as WDVX Blue Plate Special musician Anna Uptain showcases an easy beginner method for mandolin that requires no musical experience or note-reading. 10:30-11:30 a.m. Free.

Lifelong learning classes are noncredit continuing education courses. Course registration is required either online at www.pstcc.edu/bcs or by calling 865-539-7167.

To request accommodations for this event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

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Pellissippi State’s Winter Choral Concert welcomes Clinton High School Advanced Choir as special guests

Choral Director Meagan L. Humphreys conducts Pellissippi State choral students during the Fall Choral Concert on Oct. 18, 2018.
Choral Director Meagan L. Humphreys conducts Pellissippi State choral students during the Fall Choral Concert on Oct. 18, 2018.

More than 115 college and high school students will have an opportunity to show off their vocal talent this week in Pellissippi State Community College’s Winter Choral Concert.

The performance, which is free and open to the public, will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28, in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

This year’s Winter Choral Concert will feature three choirs: Pellissippi State’s Variations and Concert Chorale as well as special guests, the Clinton High School Advanced Choir.

“This concert is a wonderful opportunity to share our stage with a local high school choir,” said Pellissippi State Choral Director Meagan L. Humphreys, noting the college has a couple of Clinton High School alumni in its music program. “This is a great way for high school students to get know about our music program here, and it also provides a really great performance venue for them.”

The Winter Choral Concert will feature music from a wide variety of genres, Humphreys noted – from classical to contemporary, from sacred to secular. Pellissippi State students will sing selections in English, Italian and Latin, Humphreys added, while Clinton High School students, led by Choral Director McCall Bohanan, will perform a piece based off a traditional Sioux Indian chant.

The Winter Choral Concert is part of The Arts at Pellissippi State. For more information on upcoming visual arts, theatre and music events, as well the Faculty Lecture Series, at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts.

To request accommodations for a disability for this event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

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Annual exhibition gives Pellissippi State photography students a chance to shine

Photo of a student in a black hoodie on a city street
This photo, taken by Pellissippi State student Nathanial Dault, is one of the images that will be on display Feb. 25-March 15 in the Annual Photography Student Exhibition on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus.

Photography students at Pellissippi State Community College will have an opportunity to show some of their best images in an exhibition Feb. 25-March 15.

The Annual Photography Student Exhibition, part of The Arts at Pellissippi State, will be on display in the Bagwell Center for Media and Art Gallery on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

The gallery is open 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday, and the exhibition is free and open to the public.

“For a lot of our students, they’ve never been in a show in a gallery, so this gives them that experience,” said Professor Kurt Eslick, who will be curating the images for the exhibition with Associate Professor Ronald Goodrich, the program coordinator for Photography at Pellissippi State. “It’s a chance for them and their families to see their work on the wall. I love seeing families being very proud of their kids for having a picture in a gallery. It reminds you of what a big deal it is to have your work shown.”

The exhibition is open to any Pellissippi State student who has taken or is currently enrolled in Photography 2.

“There is no theme, but the exhibition is comprised of images that the students are really proud of,” Eslick explained, noting the show is not a competition. “This show lets us tell our students in a different way how proud we are of them, and it also lets the community know we’re proud of these photographs and of the people who took them.”

For more information on upcoming visual arts, theatre and music events, as well the Faculty Lecture Series, at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts.

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Explore your genealogy at free workshop at Pellissippi State’s Magnolia Avenue Campus

Members of the community who want to learn how to pursue their genealogy have a unique opportunity this week, as Pellissippi State Community College offers a free workshop on its Magnolia Avenue Campus.

The event, led by community members Alice Greene and Harold Hicks, will be held noon-2 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21, in Magnolia Avenue Campus Room 123, 1610 E. Magnolia Ave.

Greene, who was born in Washington, D.C., learned about her maternal family from her mother and at family reunions beginning in 1962. She completed her first family pedigree chart in 1987 and disseminated it to family members. Since then she has researched her family history in Washington, D.C., Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and in the largest genealogy library in the world, which is located in Salt Lake City, Utah. She plans to write a book on her family research.

Hicks has researched his family since the early 1980s. He became interested in researching his family’s past after listening to his second cousin share family history as relayed to her from her grandmother. Hicks discovered that his family’s roots date to 1824, starting with his great-grandfather on a Lynchburg, Va., plantation. The Hicks family later traveled through Baltimore, Md., and Newport, Rhode Island. Hicks’ research has uncovered more than 3,800 relatives.

While the genealogy workshop is free, space is limited. Call the Magnolia Avenue Campus at 865-329-3100 to reserve a space. To request accommodations for a disability for this event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

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Pellissippi State welcomes Knoxville Jazz Youth Orchestra, guest artist Jamie Simmons

The 20-member Knoxville Jazz Youth Orchestra returns to Pellissippi State Community College next week in a free concert that is open to the public.

The performance at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21, is part of the The Arts at Pellissippi State and will be held in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

The Knoxville Jazz Youth Orchestra is part of the educational arm of the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra and has been directed by Tom Lundberg, Pellissippi State’s brass instructor, for the past eight years. Open to high school-aged musicians, the auditioned ensemble rehearses once a week and performs eight to 10 concerts during the school year throughout the area.

“This year the Knoxville Jazz Youth Orchestra is excited to appear with guest artist Jamie Simmons,” said Lundberg. “Mr. Simmons is a trumpeter, composer and arranger who will join the band on several selections. The program will consist of jazz standards, music from the Great American Songbook, contemporary popular and original compositions.”

Simmons, who serves as director of jazz studies at Middle Tennessee State University, is appearing with the Knoxville Jazz Youth Orchestra through the generous support of an anonymous Knoxville Jazz Youth Orchestra donor, Lundberg added.

For more information on upcoming visual arts, theatre and music events, as well the Faculty Lecture Series, at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts.

To request accommodations for a disability for this event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

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Folk singers trace path to freedom from slavery through civil rights movement

Rhonda and Sparky Rucker performing on banjo and guitar
Folk musicians Rhonda and Sparky Rucker will perform at Pellissippi State on Thursday, Feb. 21.

Pellissippi State Community College will celebrate World Day of Social Justice through music and song with internationally known musicians, storytellers and authors Sparky and Rhonda Rucker.

Sparky and Rhonda’s “Let Freedom Ring” performance will be held 10:45 a.m.-12:05 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21, in the Goins Building Auditorium on the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

The event is free and open to the public.

Sparky and Rhonda’s program at Pellissippi State will demonstrate how movements for justice have produced some of our country’s most inspiring songs and stories. They will trace the nation’s struggles from slavery and the Underground Railroad through the battles for women’s suffrage and workers’ rights and into the civil rights movement.

“As a social worker by training, I’ve been involved is social justice work for over 30 years, and I’ve always been amazed at how artists can utilize their works to reflect the time,” said Drema Bowers, director of Service-Learning and Civic Engagement for Pellissippi State. “That is especially true of musicians. Although I’ve only heard the Ruckers perform once, it made a lasting impression and I want others to share this experience.”

Sparky Rucker grew up in Knoxville and has been involved with the civil rights movement since the 1950s. He got his start in folk music during the movement, marching shoulder-to-shoulder with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Freedom Singers Matthew and Marshall Jones and playing freedom songs at rallies alongside such luminaries as Guy and Candie Carawan, Pete Seeger and Bernice Reagon. In addition, he worked for the Poor People’s Campaign and helped to gain benefits for coal miners in Southern Appalachia. Sparky accompanies himself on guitar, banjo and spoons.

Rhonda Hicks Rucker practiced medicine for five years in Maryville, Tenn., before becoming a full-time musician, author and storyteller. She is a versatile singer and performer, playing blues harmonica, piano, clawhammer banjo and rhythmic bones. Rhonda has become a passionate voice in social and environmental advocacy through her songwriting, creating moving songs about topics such as global warming, the broken health care system and post-traumatic stress disorder.

“Sparky and Rhonda are world-renowned performers, and we are fortunate to have them here in our area,” Bowers said. “It would be a shame not to take advantage of this opportunity to journey through time with them.”

To request accommodations for a disability for this event, call 865-539-7401 or email  accommodations@pstcc.eduFor more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

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Benefit performances of “The Vagina Monologues” to help victims of violence

Oil panting by Jennifer Brickey
“Private Places,” an oil on canvas painting by Jennifer Brickey, an associate professor of studio art and art history at Pellissippi State, is being used to help advertise the upcoming benefit performances of “The Vagina Monologues” at the college.

Pellissippi State Community College is using art to bring awareness of violence against women with two theatre performances that benefit the Sexual Assault Center of East Tennessee.

Women faculty and students will perform a staged reading of Eve Ensler’s play, “The Vagina Monologues,” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19, in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road, and at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20, in the West Chevrolet Auditorium on the college’s Blount County Campus, 2731 W. Lamar Alexander Parkway, Friendsville.

A $10 donation is suggested at the door, as the performances are part of V-Day, a global activist moment to end violence against all women and girls. However, Associate Professor Grechen Wingerter said Pellissippi State will turn no one away because the messages in the play are powerful.

“Women in all walks of life have been affected by violence,” said Wingerter, who is directing both performances at Pellissippi State. “If we haven’t experienced violence personally, we know someone who has.”

“The Vagina Monologues,” which debuted in 1996, broke new ground. Based on dozens of interviews Ensler conducted with women, the play addresses women’s sexuality and the social stigma surrounding rape and abuse. After every performance, Ensler found women waiting to share their own stories of survival, leading Ensler and a group of women to establish in 1998 the nonprofit V-Day, which stages benefit performances of “The Vagina Monologues” and “A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant and a Prayer: Writings to Stop Violence Against Women and Girls,” also by Ensler, every February.

To date, the V-Day movement has raised more than $100 million and funded more than 13,000 community-based anti-violence programs and safe houses in Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Indian Country and Iraq, according to the V-Day website.

“All our readers are women or identify as women because these are all real stories from real women,” Wingerter noted. “These are stories of women who have not had power. In some situations, women are considered second-class citizens. Race, gender, sexuality, religion – all of that plays a part. And we will keep telling these stories until the violence stops.”

Wingerter warns that “The Vagina Monologues” is an adult-oriented show that tries to break the taboo of talking about women’s bodies. Parental discretion is advised.

“Some of these stories have tough language, and some have tough subject matter,” she said. “We say the word ‘vagina’ a lot, as well as its many euphemisms. You may be uncomfortable. Our readers may be uncomfortable. But we have to learn not to be afraid to say the word ‘vagina.’”

While the issues are serious, some stories have taken a comedic or light-hearted approach, leading to moments of laughter that allows audiences to let some of that tension go, Wingerter added.

“I hope both our students who are participating and those who come to see the play will take away that their voices matter, that their experiences matter,” she said. “Let’s look at how often those in the minority are told that their voices are not important. ‘The Vagina Monologues’ empowers women to speak out, that there are people who will listen.”

A talk-back session will be held after each performance, allowing those in the audience and the readers to discuss what they’ve seen and heard, as well as their own experiences.

To request accommodations for a disability for this event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.eduFor more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

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