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Our History


Rose Center Council for the Arts was established in 1976 to promote the arts in the Lakeway Area. It’s a volunteer driven organization that is supported by gifts, memberships, program fees, and public contributions. The organization is housed in the historic Rose School, which is maintained to provide gallery, museum, meeting, and operations space to the many Lakeway area arts organizations as well as the public.

Since the building opened as Rose Center, numerous improvements have been made to the facility, including addition of climate control for all rooms, new rest room area, renovation of ceilings and walls in classrooms, and re-finishing of original wood floors in the lobby areas and uncarpeted classrooms.

The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (Listed as the “Rose School,” Jackson and W. 2nd North Sts., Morristown 19761018 76001778) . A major fundraising drive resulted in the complete renovation of the former gym/auditorium area of Rose School. This area has been named Perk Prater Hall in honor of Perk Prater, arts educator and artist. This space is both attractive and functional for community use.

Rose Center is Morristown and Hamblen County’s community cultural center. Located in Morristown’s first coeducational public high school built in 1892, the facility is named after Judge James G. Rose, Civil War Hero and Chairman of the School Board at the time when plans for construction of the school were initiated.

The building operated as a school until 1975, at which time a group of local citizens organized, raised funds to replace the vintage roof, and
re-opened the building as a museum and cultural center. This effort was part of the community’s celebration of the nation’s bicentennial.

Thirty years later, the “castle” – as it is referred to by many of the thousands of school children who visit the Center on field trips and other occasions – is a busy place. The Center offers classes for children and adults, meeting space for community groups including the attractively renovated Jean Keener Community Room, rotating exhibits of artwork in the Edith Davis Gallery, historical displays in the Hal Noe Gallery, a look at early schooling in the Historic Classroom, concerts, summer programs for young people, and produces major annual events such as the Mountain Makins Festival, From Africa To Appalachia Celebration, and the International Festival.

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