Art, music and makers are a mainstay in Downtown Knoxville, causing it to become an art destination year-round. The Downtown Knoxville Alliance and local businesses are embracing the community’s creativity by curating complementary music and art experiences alongside the Big Ears Festival, an internationally renowned music festival to be held in Knoxville on March 24-27. 

Starting Thursday, March 24, and throughout the weekend, more than 25 downtown businesses will host free artist exhibits; live music and art classes; and local makers doing live demonstrations to complement the ticketed and free Big Ears events and performances. Big Ears, The Maker City and the Downtown Knoxville Alliance are collaborating to inform the public of these activities. 

“We are eager to spotlight downtown businesses that support the arts, especially amid the Big Ears Festival weekend,” said Michele Hummel, executive director of the Downtown Knoxville Alliance. “Whether you’re visiting from far away or just down the road, this event is an opportunity to explore something new in Downtown Knoxville alongside visitors literally from around the world.” 

The free events include live music performances; art exhibitions and demonstrations; and hands-on classes. In addition, artist Megan Lingerfelt will add a spring theme to the Downtown Knoxville mural in Strong Alley, which is located between Market Square and Gay Street, on Thursday and Friday. 

Participating galleries and merchants will be marked by colorful sidewalk graphics, and the weekend’s activities are available at, which is also accessible via a QR code on “Love Knox” window signage at each location. 

“We like to say that we’re bringing the world to Knoxville and we’re showcasing Knoxville to the world,” said Ashley Capps, executive and artistic director for Big Ears. “Downtown will be hopping with energy and excitement during the Big Ears Festival, and I truly hope our local community will be a part of it.” 

About the Downtown Knoxville Alliance 
Ensuring a vibrant, flourishing downtown is the primary mission of the Downtown Knoxville Alliance (DKA). Formed in 1993 as a Central Business Improvement District (CBID), the district encompasses a 0.67-square-mile area and is supported by a special assessment to property owners that is used to make improvements, enhance services and promote downtown. The DKA continually focuses on attracting and retaining a thriving community of residents, businesses and visitors in Downtown Knoxville. For more information, visit  

About The Maker City  
The Maker City (TMC) is the greater Knoxville-area community of makers, artists, creatives, and small-scale manufacturers and supporting entities. Led by the Mayor’s Maker Council, TMC creates collaborative partnerships, programming, and opportunities in support of Knoxville’s maker community. For more info, visit Many of the Knoxville's makers can be found in The Maker City’s online directory