First Tennessee Bank is a staunch believer that art plays a vital role in a healthy community, and helps express the diversity within its shared humanity.
For this reason, First Tennessee Bank continues to give back to its state by financially supporting community togetherness as a sponsor of the Fun Fest in Kingsport, Tennessee.
Established fall of 1980, Fun Fest was started with the aim of healing the community from pressing situations that divided it, “ranging from political issues to extreme and unhealthy rivalries among local high schools,” according to event organizers.
Founders stated that the sole objective of Fun Fest was "to promote unity, harmony, fellowship and cooperation among people in the greater Kingsport area” – essentially fostering a belief that the Kingsport community was a good place to live and work while appealing to interests in culture, athletics, arts and entertainment.
Fun Fest was designed to build a more positive attitude about the local community and a more friendly, neighborly relationship amongst residents, and it appears to have been successful in doing so.
Over the years, the event has grown to attract over 180,000 attendees annually and has activities ranging from art fairs to boat races, parades and car shows that appeal to all age groups and people of varying interest. Nothing promotes community togetherness like live performance - Fun Fest concerts have featured performers such as Billy Ray Cyrus, The Four Tops, The Pointer Sisters, KC & The Sunshine Band, and Lynyrd Skynrd.
In addition to live performance, the event features the Kingsport Art Guild’s Fun Fest Art Show, a community art show inviting both children and adults to hone and share their creative talents.
The spirit of building togetherness continues through the Fun Fest Art Show, as the 80 participants in the 2017 show reveal the diverse array of talent and skill collectively housed and supported within the community.
“The diversity in these entries was most impressive. I can see artists exploring different paths. The skills and wit evident in a great many of the works made it difficult to narrow down the award winners,” according to Tim Tate, a retired teaching artist from the Sullivan County School System who served as judge.
Fun Fest continues into the present with the help of its local supporters and constituents, such as First Tennessee Bank.
For over 100 years, First Tennessee has been a strong supporter of the arts. It believes the arts elevate the human spirit and strengthen the fabric of the community.
When the Memphis-based bank expanded its operations statewide nearly 40 years ago, it started the First Tennessee Heritage Collection, an art collection about Tennessee by Tennesseans. The collection celebrates and acknowledges the heritage and history of the region.
First Tennessee, a 2008 BCA 10 awardee, is proud of its commitment to share the arts with employees, customers, and the communities it serves.
Photo: Anne Bucher, participant in the 2017 Fun Fest Art Show, receives a Best in Show award for her painting ‘Polly.’ Image sourced from Times News.