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Rising from the Ashes: The Chimney Tops 2 Wildfires in Memory and Art

 Collection
Identifier: MS-4030

  • Staff Only

This collection consists of forty-one works of art created by three graphic artists with ties to East Tennessee. The artwork was intended to give artistic visual interpretation to the oral histories collected as part of the three-year initiative Rising from the Ashes: The Chimney Tops 2 Wildfires Oral History Project, completed in partnership with the City of Gatlinburg and the Anna Porter Public Library. It was created as part of a two-year project funded by the Our Town grant program, part of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Included are twelve 11x14 giclée prints and a small spiralbound notebook with notes and sketches by Danny Wilson, eleven 9x12 pen-and-ink color drawings by Paige Braddock, and eighteen 11x14 pen-and-ink color drawings by Marshall Ramsey.

Two drawings by Charlie Daniel, a longtime Knoxville editorial cartoonist, were included in the printed catalog that documented the artwork and in the digital collection as examples of similar work done around the time of the wildfires in the park.

Dates

  • 2020-2022

Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite and must be requested in advance through a registered Special Collections research account. See www.lib.utk.edu/special for detailed information.

Conditions Governing Use

The UT Libraries claims only physical ownership of most material in the collections. Persons wishing to broadcast or publish this material must assume all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any claimants. Collections must be requested through a registered Special Collections research account. Please see www.lib.utk.edu/special for detailed information.

Extent

1.5 Linear Feet (One 18" x 13" x 3" box)

Overview

This collection consists of forty-one works of art created by three graphic artists with ties to East Tennessee. The artwork was intended to give artistic visual interpretation to the oral histories collected as part of the three-year initiative Rising from the Ashes: The Chimney Tops 2 Wildfires Oral History Project, completed in partnership with the City of Gatlinburg and the Anna Porter Public Library. It was created as part of a two-year project funded by the Our Town grant program, part of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Biographical / Historical

On November 23, 2016, an uncontained wilderness fire on the summit of Chimney Tops in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, aided by winds approaching ninety miles-per-hour, jumped the park boundary and descended upon the tourist town of Gatlinburg, wreaking a level of destruction that was later identified as the deadliest wildfire in the eastern US since the 1940s and one of the largest natural disasters in Tennessee history. Fourteen people perished, more than 200 were injured, and thousands were forced to evacuate. Over 17,000 acres were burned and nearly 2,600 buildings and homes were damaged or destroyed. The social, cultural, economic, political, and natural impacts of this event are still being calculated.

Recording the experiences of those who lived through the tragic events of that day and commemorating the heroism and compassion of the community was the objective of Rising from the Ashes, an oral history project of the University of Tennessee Libraries, with support from the city of Gatlinburg and partnership from the Anna Porter Public Library. Drawing inspiration from the interviews recorded by this project, illustrators Danny Wilson, Paige Braddock, and Marshall Ramsey used their skills as graphic artists to further document the experiences of those who were impacted by these events. This work was generously supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, specifically the Our Town program, which funds projects that strengthen communities through artistic and creative engagement.

Danny Wilson is a freelance illustrator based in Knoxville Tennessee. For almost 40 years he has built a reputation for versatility, illustrating in many different styles and genres. Primarily working as a digital concept artist for event and experiential marketing, Wilson has created work for Disney, Warner Bros., Netflix, Amazon, Coca Cola, HGTV, Taylor Swift and many more. As a poster artist he was selected to create posters for the 2017 and 2018 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Games, The Battle at Bristol (Tennessee vs Virginia Tech, reportedly the world's largest college football game) and the Official University of Tennessee 1998 National Championship poster, among others. Through the years he has also worked as a magazine and newspaper illustrator and recently has done athletics branding work for the University of Tennessee Volunteers and the University of Tennessee-Southern Firehawks. Wilson graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1984 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.

Paige Braddock is an Eisner-nominated artist and writer and the Chief Creative Officer at Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates. Baddock earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville in 1985. She is best known for her Eisner-nominated comic strip, Jane’s World, the first gay-themed comic work to receive online distribution by a national media syndicate in the US. Braddock concluded the comic strip after completing its 20-year run in 2018. She has illustrated several Peanuts children’s books. Her other graphic novels for children include the Stinky Cecil series and Peanut, Butter, & Crackers. She lives with her wife, Evelyn, and their two dogs and a cat in Sebastopol, California.

Marshall Ramsey is a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist whose cartoons are syndicated nationally, and whose artwork, stories, and posts are frequently shared on social media. As an undergraduate, he created editorial cartoons for the University of Tennessee's The Daily Beacon before earning a Bachelor of Science in Marketing in 1991, and in 2019 he returned to UT to accept the Alumni Professional Achievement Award. Ramsey is editor-at-large for Mississippi Today, a nonpartisan, nonprofit news and media company. He also hosts a weekly radio program and the television program Conversations on Mississippi Public Broadcasting. Ramsey lives with his wife Amy and their three sons in Mississippi.

Arrangement

This collection consists of one flat box with items divided into three series based on artist:

Series I: Danny Wilson

Series II: Paige Braddock

Series III: Marshall Ramsey

Related Materials

This artwork has been digitized and is available at https://rfta-artists.lib.utk.edu/

Interested researchers may also wish to view collection MS-3925: Rising From the Ashes Oral History Collection, which inspired this art, available as a digital collection at https://rfta.lib.utk.edu/

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

Contact:
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA
865-974-4480