Hummingbird Form
​Artists - this is your blank canvas! What will you create?

​The UT Gardens, Knoxville (UTG) announces a new Art in the Gardens project for 2021. This year's theme is Home Sweet Home: A Birdhouse Exhibit. Building on the success of previous exhibits, this is the fourth year for this project that is designed to promote community participation and artist collaboration with UTG. This fun and whimsical event will serve to raise awareness and support for the UT Gardens. Local artists are asked to decorate and/or embellish, and then donate, functional birdhouses which will be displayed during the summer for all to enjoy. Pieces will then be auctioned in September 2021 with all proceeds benefiting the UT Gardens, Knoxville.


Amateur and professional artists are invited to artistically interpret this year's theme with a fun and creative design. Each artist will be provided a pre-fabricated birdhouse as a canvas. There are two designs available this year: the Roomy Roost (measuring approximately 6.5"w x 8"d x 10.5"h) and the Cozy Cottage (measuring approximately 9.5"w x 9.5"d x 7.5"h). Artists may elect to complete either design or one of each. When completed, works will be returned to UTG where they will be installed throughout the Gardens. The exhibit will open on Friday, June 4.


For those wishing to participate in the 2021 Art in the Gardens project, an on-line registration form and artist guidelines are available at our registration site: Entry fees are $20 per birdhouse. Once registered the artist will schedule a pickup time; payment will be made at the time of pickup. Registration is open now and will continue on a first-come, first-served basis until all forms are reserved. 16. Pick up times will be available beginning March 1, Monday-Friday. Deadline for return of completed works is Monday, May 3.


All art supplies are the responsibility of the artist or their sponsor(s). Jerry's Artarama, Knoxville is providing a $10 gift certificate and other product coupons to all participating artists to help offset supply costs. Once returned, all pieces will be sealed by UTG for weather durability and will become property of the UT Gardens, Knoxville.

You can view previous years' art projects on the following pages. A link to the current year's pieces will be added here after the exhibit opens in June:

2018 - Joyful Flight: A Hummingbird Exhibit

2019 - Wings of Wonder: A Butterfly Exhibit

2020 - Dazzling Dogwoods: A Garden Art Exhibit

2021 - Home Sweet Home: A Birdhouse Exhibit (page not yet available)


4/14/2021 Update: Registration for the Art in the Gardens Project has ended. 




UT Gardens - Art in the Gardens


"Home Sweet Home: A Birdhouse Exhibit"


-Details & Guidelines-

(download as pdf)


Registration, Pickup, and Payment

  • Registration form is available at
  • There are two designs available: the Roomy Roost (approximately 6.5"w x 8"d x 10.5"h) and the Cozy Cottage (approximately 9.5"w x 9.5"d x 7.5"h).
  • Artists may register for either design, or may choose to register for one of each. If registering for both, it will be necessary to go through the registration process twice.
  • The registration fee is $20 per birdhouse.
  • Payment will be made at time of pickup, and can be made by cash, check, or credit card.
  • The number of birdhouses is limited; registration is on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Once all birdhouses are reserved, artists can be added to a waitlist and will be contacted, in order, if any are not picked up.
  • Once registered, the artist will be directed to schedule a pick up time.
  • Pick up times will be available beginning Monday, March 1, Mon-Fri, at the UT Gardens, Knoxville.

Artistic Media and Design

  • All artist supplies are the responsibility of the artist (or their sponsor).
  • Jerry's Artarama will provide a $10 gift certificate to their store for all participating artists. (One per artist)
  • Artistic, colorful, unique, and/or whimsical designs are encouraged.
  • Finished pieces will be seen from a variety of perspectives while on exhibit, so artists are encouraged to paint/embellish all sides.
  • Names of individuals, groups, organizations, slogans, political messages, or businesses cannot be incorporated into the the design or visible on the finished product.
  • Art pieces must be suitable for all audiences and ages as it will be displayed in the UT Gardens for public viewing. UT Gardens reserves the right to exclude any projects considered disrepectful or inappropriate.
  • The birdhouses, made of 1/2" marine-grade plywood, will be distributed unprimed; however the artist may want to consider applying primer depending on their chosen medium.
  • Art pieces will be subject to rain, direct sunlight, and other elements throughout the summer. Artists should work with materials and finishes that provide longevity to the piece and resistance to the elements. UT Gardens is not responsible for wear and tear.
  • Based on previous years' experience, we discourage the use of paper and/or alcohol inks as artistic media for this project. Neither holds up well to sun/weather over the course of the exhibition.
  • Artists may be asked to restore or touch-up works (due to weather or other damage) prior to the auction in September.
  • Please use nontoxic, exterior industrial grade adhesives for securing surface artwork (i.e. additional embellishments, beads, sequins, tile, etc.) or secure mechanically.
  • Avoid the use of any products toxic to birds and their food source including caterpillars.
  • Clear coat sealant will be applied to each piece by the UT Gardens after all works are returned, unless the artist would prefer to seal their own piece. If so, the product used must be clear, non-yellowing, and UV resistant, suitable for exterior applications.

Reception, Exhibition, and Auction

  • Completed projects must be turned in to UT Gardens no later than Monday, May 3.
  • The completed work will become the property of the UT Gardens, Knoxville, and images of the artwork may be used in promotional materials.
  • Specific placement of the individual art pieces within the Gardens will be decided by the UT Gardens staff.
  • Works will be identified in the garden by a label with the following information: title of the piece, artist, sponsor (if applicable), media used (if provided), artist's statement (if provided) and event sponsors.
  • An opening reception honoring the artists will be held on Friday, June 4 (to be held either in the UT Gardens or virtually - more details will be available closer to the event).
  • Works will be on display throughout the summer of 2021.
  • All art pieces will be auctioned as a fundraiser for the UT Gardens in September 2021.
  • The artists will receive no monetary reimbursement for their artwork or materials.
  • Any questions - please contact Beth at 865-974-2712 or James at 865-974-7256.

Thank you to the following sponsors of this event:






Wendell, Kathy, and Matt Thomas




UT Biosystems Engineering & Soil Science Research Machining and Fabrication Shop