McKinney Center Director
Theresa Hammons is the Director of the McKinney Center and Jonesborough’s Mary B. Martin Program for the Arts. A native of Southwest Virginia, Theresa has lived in East Tennessee since 2006. She has her B.A. and M.A. degrees in Appalachian Studies from Berea College and Appalachian State University. Theresa worked at the prestigious Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian for six years, assisting in researching and curating exhibitions, and has worked in the museum and art fields for more than 20 years.
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Theresa brings her incredible experience as a museum curator and presenter to the McKinney Center, where she curates half a dozen shows per year to include the Juried Art Show, the Women’s Fund Art show, student art exhibitions and more. She believes that arts, history, and culture can not only make a difference in the lives of individuals but the community as a whole. She is often heard saying, “Artists are the keenest observers of society,” and often talks about how they can take societal issues and interpret them into song, dance, or visual art. The ability to do so is an incredible talent that should be shared and taught to all generations. She developed this philosophy early in her career while working at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, where she worked with American Indian artists of all medias, skill levels, and ages from all over the Western Hemisphere. This philosophy is a part of her joy of working with artists and developing exhibitions, and is what drew her to the McKinney Center, where she oversees the eighty different art classes each year that are held for children, teens, and adults at various skill levels.
Each semester, Theresa listens to the community about the kinds of classes they would like to take and the kinds of skills they would like to learn and build upon. Since becoming the McKinney Center Director, Theresa has built an exciting curriculum for youth and adults as well as several intergenerational classes. She has grown the program from a few courses to more than eighty classes and one-day creative session to include music, painting, drawing, ceramics, writing, glass fusion, paper art, sculpture and more. These courses are created to help individuals develop their skillsets in order to take these skills home and create art on their own.
You can find Theresa in her office at the McKinney Center most days during operating hours but she loves to pop in on classes from time to time to meet students and parents. Watching students, no matter what age, grow their skills and talents each semester is one of her greatest delights. She will often ask parents how their child is doing in class and what they are learning or gaining from the experience and she encourages constructive feedback. Through these conversations with students and parents, Theresa continues to keep class offerings relevant, exciting, and rewarding.
Community Program Specialist
Skye McFarland is the Community Program Specialist at the McKinney Center. Skye grew up in Apex, NC and earned her B.A. and M.A. in Appalachian Studies from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. Skye’s focus in her studies was building sustainable communities in the region through art, culture, and other facets, and brings that passion to her role at the McKinney Center.
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Skye’s background has been in examining and applying the cultural assets of a community, which also includes its history, as a way to help communities look backward to move forward. Often this movement includes art and cultural projects that are highly participative. Skye worked at the acclaimed Appalshop, gaining experience in the development of documentary film while with the Documentary Film Services at ASU. She served with the Watauga Arts Council during her graduate studies and gained experience in the non-profit sector, as well as community engagement work through arts and media. Prior to joining the McKinney Center, Skye worked with the Heritage Alliance at the Chester Inn Museum.
Skye came to the McKinney Center with her long-term mission to use her organizational and administrative skills to work in Appalachia facilitating the arts. Her influence can be seen in many programs originating from the McKinney Center. In her work with youth outreach, Skye brings art experiences to youth across the area throughout the year at festivals, special events, and in school field trips. She coordinates Jonesborough’s Story Initiative and Story Brigade members, and organizes the oral history collections from the community.
Volunteerism for the McKinney Center has grown exponentially under her leadership, which allows the McKinney Center’s influence to reach broader into the community. This coordination of volunteers means getting to know the community, asking for help, coordinating tasks, as well as letting the volunteers know they are appreciated. Skye organizes and hosts the Volunteer Appreciation event for all of those with a heart to help our programs. Her focus, as ever, is on the importance of diversity and inclusion, and continues to expand programming into underserved areas.
Skye’s personal mission aligns strongly with the McKinney Center’s Mission Statement, creating, “A devoted community space intended to welcome, and engage, and bring together, all members of its community.” For Skye, this is not just a goal of the job, but a personal passion. Skye sees the center as a safe and inclusive space for every person in the area. It is her goal to ensure that all feel they have a voice that is heard.
Skye believes that artists are not just those who sell pieces and enter art shows, but that everyone is an artist, and that’s why we offer classes to anyone. She believes adamantly that, “Anyone can create art and everyone has a story to be heard.”
Outreach Programming Director
Jules Corriere is a playwright, director, and community organizer and is the Outreach Programming Director for Jonesborough’s Mary B. Martin Program for the Arts at the McKinney Center. She writes and directs the monthly storytelling radio show, “A Night with the Yarn Exchange,” now in its seventh season, which is performed at the International Storytelling Center and is broadcast on local NPR station 89.5 FM and streams worldwide. Corriere came to Jonesborough as a playwright and theater director with Community Performance International where she had been for more than 20 years. This theatrical work is steeped in local culture and developed with oral stories and histories.
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She wrote her first play, Story Lines, in 2000, based in Newport News, Virginia, and recently completed writing her fiftieth play, Not All That I Carry, which premiered in Jonesborough, Tennessee, the “Storytelling Capital of the World” in November 2017. Her work Let my People Go! A Spiritual Journey, written with composer Donald McCullough and Denny Clarke, performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. She received the Presidential Points of Light Award for The Whole World Gets Well in Chicago. Her work has toured internationally in England, Scotland, and Brazil.Corriere has edited several books of oral stories, and recently co-authored Story Bridge: From Alienation to Community Action about her work in utilizing community stories for change. She has appeared in Who’s Who for her work in theater arts and social activism for the past decade.
Jules is involved with the Jonesborough Story Initiative as both a writer, director, and instructor. She currently teaches community members how to gather and collect community stories. She writes the annual Senior Center play held each November, and based on stories from the members of the Jonesborough Senior Center, and also writes the annual large scale play for the Town of Jonesborough, based on true oral stories from the region.
In addition, she teaches the student film course “Let’s Make a TV Show”, leads the Creative Circle Writers Group, and holds a summer film camp each year. She loves working with students from various backgrounds and abilities, and helps them work toward their strengths in safe and fun environments. Her film classes focus on historical people and places in the Washington County region, and teaching children how to effectively tell Jonesborough’s important historical stories through the narrative form. The Creative Writers Circle meets once a month at the McKinney Center and encourages creativity and sharing of ideas in an appreciative environment.
Hannah Justis has been stationed at the McKinney Center full time as the AmeriCorps Vista since November 2017. Hannah was raised in Kingsport, TN and received her fine arts degree from the Honors College at East Tennessee State University. During her studies, Hannah’s exit show and undergraduate thesis focused on the physical progression of creating artwork as a meditative process of managing anxiety and obsessive-compulsive tendencies.
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During her degree, Hannah studied abroad twice, once in London and again in Nottingham England. It was through theses travels that she developed an interest in curatorial studies and the development of organizing the artwork that she was exposed to. In the process of earning her undergraduate, Hannah has worked various jobs including four years of custom framing, as well as involvement with both the Kingsport and Johnson City Art Guilds.
Here at the McKinney Center, Hannah’s AmeriCorps service responsibilities comprise of working with all Town program staff to help ensure the effective use and programming of the McKinney Center and Jonesborough’s Mary B. Martin Program for the Arts. The main goals of her position are to offer administrative support, assist in providing educational opportunities, and deliver capacity building activities to help the McKinney Center gain greater visibility and sustainability, as well as serving education needs of local k-12 students and the community. On a typical day, Hannah can be seen working at the front desk, providing customer care to visitors, hosting tours of the building, assisting with art exhibitions, teaching art classes, keeping record books, assisting other faculty members, and overall providing support to the McKinney Center Director.
With her background in the arts, Hannah provides an artist’s touch to her position. She often finds herself creating various marketing material promoting the many activities the McKinney Center provides, as well as serving as an instructor. Hannah has designed original McKinney Center artwork in the form of promotional stickers and t-shirts.
Hannah’s mission as an AmeriCorps Vista through the Appalachia CARES program is to create strong, sustainable communities by investing in people, housing, ecotourism, and conservation of natural resources. It is the goal of the Appalachia CARES program for the stationed AmeriCorps’s member at the McKinney Center to engage youth and community members in community-based service-learning activities that address genuine community needs. The McKinney Center stands devoted to welcome and bring together all members of its community and in her service, Hannah stands to provide an artistic edge to encourage the friends of the McKinney Center to promote active creative citizenship within the community through the resources the center offers.
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ABOUT THE MCKINNEY CENTER
The McKinney Center at Booker T. Washington School is a multi-use facility providing arts education through Jonesborough's Mary B. Martin Program.