The Mary B. Martin School of the Arts was implemented in January 2009 with the purpose of providing a focal point and recognition for the arts at ETSU.
The school was established following a generous endowment to name the school for Mary B. Martin, a life-long resident of Johnson City and graduate of ETSU (B.A. Chemistry, 1962).
The university acknowledges the quality of the arts on campus and the value of the arts for the community and the surrounding region. In February 2008, the University Planning Committee approved addition of the following objective to the University's Strategic Plan: "To enhance the scope and quality of ETSU's programming in the fine and performing arts and to expand its contribution to the region's cultural climate." As the arts at ETSU are housed in different colleges, departments, and units, an organizational structure was needed to provide support, foster community and collaborations, coordinate activities, and advocate for the arts. A plan was developed to create the school, and approval for the school was granted by the Tennessee Board of Regents and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.
The College of Arts and Sciences is the home of the Mary B. Martin School of the Arts, and participating programs in the school are part of Arts and Sciences, the Clemmer College, the College of Business and Technology, and the Honors College. Under the broad heading of "the arts" at ETSU are those that are described as fine arts, visual arts, performing arts, literary arts, applied arts, and/or traditional arts. ETSU arts programs include the Department of Art and Design, including the Slocumb Galleries, the Department of Music, the Division of Theatre and Dance, and programs in Digital Media; Interior Architecture; Bluegrass, Old Time and Country Music; Storytelling; Broadcasting; Film Studies; the Reece Museum; and the Fine and Performing Arts Scholars. Individual faculty teaching courses in other areas such as Creative Writing classes are also included.
The Mary B. Martin School of the Arts looks forward to bringing a new level of awareness and appreciation of the visual and performing arts at ETSU and in our surrounding community.