Arts and Cultural Alliance and Emporium Center
The Emporium Center is Knoxville’s first true arts center. Built in 1898 as the original home of a prestigious furniture company, the Emporium housed a wholesale goods distributor and later became a textile manufacturing facility that fulfilled military contracts. The two adjacent buildings and the vacant lot were the location of the “Parthenon of Country Music,” which served as the home of the WNOX Mid-day Merry-Go-Round. The 28,000 square feet of flexible use space re-opened following renovations during the summer of 2004 and now houses two art galleries showcasing local and regional artists, the administrative offices of the Arts & Culture Alliance, and nine other arts and cultural organizations. Additionally, the building houses rehearsal, classroom and meeting space, and studios for nine individual artists. The Emporium Center provides affordable space for a critical mass of arts and culture organizations and artists, generates coordination and joint promotion of arts and culture activities, and provides another valuable attraction in a revitalized downtown.