Dogwood Arts announces the launch of the Maker Exchange, a new place to discover Knoxville artists and makers alongside creative spaces to shop, dine, drink, and gather. Owner and developer Rockbridge created this vibrant independent public space at the connection point of the Knoxville Convention Center, Worlds Fair Park, The Tennessean, and new Marriott Hotel; and has generously gifted it to Knoxville’s maker community. In 2019, Rockbridge acquired The Tennessean Luxury Hotel and later renovated, rebranded, and developed what is now the new Marriott. A new restaurant and coffee shop are included in the Maker Exchange space.  

"Rockbridge’s approach to developing unique, transformative hotel properties, includes creating a strong connection to the local community and culture," states Jim Merkel, Co-Founder and CEO of Rockbridge. "Each community is driven by the creative spirit of its people. We seek out local artists, makers, architects and interior designers—highly regarded in their community and experts in their field—who see their city’s true culture and can shine a light on it for others." Rockbridge engaged Robin Easter Design and Dogwood Arts to assist in bringing this unique independent space to life.  

"Dogwood Arts is proud and excited to have been selected by Rockbridge to curate the dedicated retail space with a diverse selection of work from local makers and to activate the space with regular maker events. This tremendous opportunity will help us expand our growth strategies for our creative community and further our mission of promoting and celebrating the art, culture and natural beauty of our region" states Dogwood Arts Executive Director, Sherry Jenkins.  

Robin Easter Design was hired to develop the brand and logo identity for the unique collection of spaces. They also commissioned local makers and artists to make furniture, furnishings, signage and art for their permanent art collection. "From the furniture to the permanent art, we’ve put our town’s heart and soul into every detail of the  

Maker Exchange. It features some of the most beautiful works from Knoxville’s maker community" exclaims Robin Easter.  

The teams of Dogwood Arts, Robin Easter Design, and Rockbridge are officially launching the new space with an invitation-only event on Thursday, September 15th. The Maker Exchange and all its spaces are now open to the public. Space may be reserved for private events by calling 865-934-2963.  


A collection of creative spaces to shop, dine, drink, and gather:    

  • THE CURIO | A gallery, retail shop and event space all in one. Shop hand-made work from local makers in the surrounding cabinetry and on the gallery walls. Dogwood Arts curates the ever-changing, shoppable display of work within Maker Exchange and activates the space regularly with maker events.   

  • TAVERN | With a wall of windows overlooking World’s Fair Park and the Knoxville Museum of Art, the view is every bit as good as the fare. The restaurant and bar serve up creative pub fare and is open for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner. You may enjoy a drink at the bar or take it to the Hearth Room.  

  • COFFEE SHOP featuring Vienna Coffee | Perk up with fresh, local coffee made fast so you can enjoy it at your leisure. Guests may sip their brew at the shop or in one of the many comfy couches or chairs throughout the Maker Exchange. A walk-up window is just steps away from Clinch Avenue. You can also purchase hand-made mugs by local makers to enjoy your coffee in.  

  • HANGOUT + EVENT SPACES | There are lots of places to meet up with friends or clients. It also offers a quiet setting to take a moment with a book and a beverage. There are billiards, foosball and a custom maker-made shuffleboard table. There will be a vibrant and dynamic schedule of presentations, performances and meet-ups in our events spaces; or you may reserve a space for your special occasion.  

DOGWOOD ARTS is a local non-profit organization with a 67-year history of arts advocacy, environmental stewardship, and economic impact in East Tennessee. With the financial support of corporate sponsors, grant funding, local government investment, and private donors, they produce 20 year-round events and programs that help make Knoxville a great place to live, work and play. Dogwood Arts promotes and celebrates the art, culture and natural beauty of our region.  

ROBIN EASTER DESIGN is a full-service, custom graphic design firm known for creating compelling graphics, effective websites, award-winning printed materials, and memorable identity packages, including Maker Exchange. Robin Easter is the principal and has been in business for over 30 years in Knoxville.   

ROCKBRIDGE, a private investment firm with more than 23-years in business, has been investing in and building brands in the hospitality and commercial real estate industries. The business has made over 290 investments in 38 states with over $10 Billion in total capitalization and $3.5 Billion in assets under management. Rockbridge has built a family of hospitality, development, and management company brands, and its continued success is a result of its core Rocks: Relevance, Relationships, Resilience, and Responsibility. Rockbridge has been honored for a fourth consecutive year as a top, philanthropic community-focused organization in Central Ohio. Learn more at and Instagram.  

AIMBRIDGE HOSPITALITY is a leading global hospitality company offering management, asset management, development, renovation and consulting services to 1,500+ hotels, destination resorts, and convention centers located throughout North America and the Caribbean, including The Tennessean Personal Luxury Hotel, the Downtown Knoxville Marriott, the Tavern and coffee shop. Aimbridge is based in Plano, Texas. Skip Adams is General Manager.  

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