Work of arts: Bonnie Macdonald retiring after 14 years of bringing the arts into Kingsport

Matthew Lane • Jan 16, 2019 at 11:17 AM

KINGSPORT — Bonnie Macdonald worked hard for more than a decade to showcase the arts throughout the Model City.

And she did it in a variety of ways. From advocating for public art, bringing sculptures and murals across town, to helping create a traditional carousel in the heart of downtown. Bonnie worked with artists, volunteers and others every day to bring the wonder and beauty of art to Kingsport and its residents.

Now, after 14 years with the city of Kingsport, Macdonald has announced her retirement.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to make a difference in promoting, producing and advocating for the arts in this community and in our state,” Macdonald said. “I have been so blessed by my fellow city employees, both in my department and throughout the city as well as our elected leadership, who have been willing to help, advise and encourage.”

For the past 14 years, Macdonald has spearheaded the Kingsport Office of Cultural Arts, where she and her colleagues have worked to invigorate and connect the local creative community. In 2007, she and the newly established Public Art Committee had their first major success when they established the city’s first Sculpture Walk.

This program has continued to grow in the years since, and many of the pieces have become part of Kingsport’s permanent public art collection. Any drive through downtown will show firsthand the impact Macdonald has had on this city.

Another project that Macdonald’s team led could easily be considered public art: the Kingsport Carousel. Though it took years to create, the story of Kingsport artists coming together to learn new skills and craft a carousel essentially from the ground up is one that won’t be forgotten.

During her tenure at the city, Macdonald oversaw the Engage Kingsport Performing Arts series and the annual Christmas Connection craft show, along with managing the city’s event spaces like the Renaissance Arts Center and the Kingsport Farmers Market.

Macdonald also has a long resume of serving on various boards and committees, from being a founding board member of the Kingsport Ballet to president of the Board of Directors of Tennesseans for the Arts. Bonnie has been married to Dr. Scott Macdonald for 35 years, and together they have two grown daughters.

Though Macdonald’s time with the city is at an end, her involvement in the Kingsport arts scene isn’t.

Bonnie said she’ll continue to work with Engage Kingsport, the Office of Cultural Arts’ nonprofit arm, on forging more creative connections and innovations that Kingsport residents will benefit from for years to come.

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