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Art exhibition opens at Gatlinburg's Anna Porter Public Library to promote healing nearly 6 years after wildfires

The "Wildfire Recovery Through Art and Public Memory" opened to the public on August 1, featuring art that captures the impact of the fires.

GATLINBURG, Tenn. — A collaborative art project opened in Gatlinburg on Monday in hopes of helping the continued recovery of the community nearly six years after wildfires devastated Sevier County.

The Anna Porter Public Library in Gatlinburg partnered with the University of Tennessee Libraries and the city of Gatlinburg to host an art exhibition that hopes to heal scars after the deadly November 2016 Chimney Tops 2 wildfires.

The exhibition "Wildfire Recovery Through Art and Public Memory" opened on August 1 at the Anna Porter Public Library. It features part of more than 40 drawings that show the impact of the fires and the response by the community in and around the Great Smoky Mountains. 

"It's a very unique way of commemorating a tragic event, a once-in-a-century, maybe even more, event, and I think the various ways the libraries have approached this with the interviews and the art and all the different ways they are archiving this information so it's not lost... I think that's, I think it's an historic event," artist Danny Wilson said.

If you aren't able to see it in person, UT Libraries is also hosting the art exhibition online at this link.

"Drawing on those personal stories, illustrators and editorial cartoonists with deep ties to the mountains and the region—Paige Braddock (’85), Marshall Ramsey (’91), and Danny Wilson (’84)—created more than 40 drawings that capture both the heartbreaking destruction of the wildfires and the heroic and compassionate acts of community members. Former Knoxville News Sentinel editorial cartoonist Charlie Daniel contributed two illustrations he created and published at the time of the wildfires," UT said.

The project was conceived by the three organizations and funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

UT said the artworks will also be available in a catalog of the exhibition that will be published later this fall.

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