UNICOI, TN -- The Tanasi Arts and Heritage Center, a 40,000-square-foot facility to be located at I-26 Exit 32 (Unicoi), has been awarded a $50,000 grant through the Appalachian Resource Conservation and Development Council and the Kresge Foundation, headquartered near Detroit, Michigan.
The Foundation assists projects that promise improvements in the quality of life for future generations through its support of nonprofit organizations in six fields of interest: health, the environment, community development, arts and culture, education and human services.
Tanasi, an environmentally sensitive venue for Tennessee artists and craftspeople, promotes sustainability and a recognition of the value in all of these areas of interest on the local scale.
Tanasi's award was a planning grant awarded under Kresge's Green Building Initiative, a major comprehensive program intended to cultivate solutions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, accelerate renewable energy technologies, and support efforts to help society adapt to the impacts of climate change.
The application included information specific to the Appalachians regarding the effects of climate change on southern forests and communities, and highlighted Tanasi's vernacular response to these challenges. Highly energy-efficient and sporting photovoltaic panels and solar thermal collectors, the proposed facility will be a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building that performs at the Platinum (the highest) level.
The response from the Kresge Foundation: "We were impressed by your plans and commitment to developing an environmentally sustainable facility."
The award money will be used, per grant stipulations, for design, ecological site planning, energy analysis and modeling and other activities related to planning a green building. The facility will certainly suit and complement the setting in the foothills just below the Pinnacle Fire Tower, a restoration project by the Town of Unicoi and Friends of the Cherokee National Forest.
Unicoi Mayor Johnny Lynch says, "This is great news! The Tanasi Project and the Pinnacle Project will both enhance and preserve this beautiful area while providing recreational opportunities, a venue for the arts and heritage of this area, tourism, and probably -- most importantly -- jobs!"
Preliminary design work on the highly energy-efficient building, performed by Reedy and Sykes Architecture and Design, may be viewed as a schematic on a sign on the site near the frontage road.
For more information, visit www.tanasiarts.org.