Jack London once said, "You can't wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club."
What if you could lay down the weapon in favor of car keys and drive a mere 20 minutes to find it buried in the hills?
That's what the Sundress Academy for the Arts, or SAFTA for short, aims to help artists do.
The artist colony is located on the 29-acre Firefly Farms in Karns, Tenn., owned by founder and UT English lecturer Erin Smith.
The idea for Sundress came two years ago, when Smith was looking for a job that would allow her to stay in Knoxville.
"My significant other and I both really wanted to do something with the artistic community, so we ended up buying our farm," Smith said. "We really wanted to have a space where all the arts could come together."
Smith said she believes most of Knoxville's art community is divided by medium. The film people stay with the film people, the writers with writers and dancers with dancers. One of the main goals of SAFTA is to provide a place where all the arts work together to better the community instead of remaining divided.
In order to achieve this goal, workshops are held once a month in order to broaden artists' horizons in writing, filmmaking, theater and visual art, according to their website. Each workshop has an extra element incorporated to further the experience, one example being the recent yoga and writing workshop.
"Next month we have 'Fiction and Firearms,'" Smith said. "It's an opportunity to shoot guns and then write about it."
Some future workshops will include digital photography and OUTspoken, a session about being LGBTQ in the South.
Lyric Dunagan, alumna of the University of Tennessee, has helped teach two workshops.
"I think it's a great resource for the area," Dunagan said. "We also do creative writing once a week. We meet downtown and discuss poems, or fiction and nonfiction as well."
The group also holds monthly readings at the Birdhouse. This month's reading features UT's own Creative Writing Director, Marilyn Kallet, and Darren C. Demaree.
However, this property is not only intended for two-day workshops or short readings. It also functions as an artist residency, meaning artists stay for free on the grounds in order to work on projects of artistic merit.
"At some point we're going to build tiny houses, about the size of a small room, with all the amenities you need," Smith said. "We'll bring people in, regionally and nationally, so they will be able to work on their art."
According to Marilyn Kallet, this is quite unique.
"I believe the closest artist residency to us is in Virginia," Kallet said. "This would be the only one in Tennessee that I know of."
Smith confirmed the residency's individual traits by pointing out that, while there are many artist residencies across the country, very few are in the mountains. Even less are conveniently located near a city.
Alexis Hamilton, marketing intern and sophomore in nutrition, identified the importance of SAFTA's artist residency.
"When people are yelling at you from all sides to hurry and rush, sloppiness is usually a side effect," Hamilton said. "SAFTA found a way to help artists get their best work on in their own time.
"That's where good art comes from, somebody working for themselves and not for somebody else."
Those involved are at a consensus that the residency will attract artists from all over the country to Knoxville. In fact, two artists already live in residence: Rhonda Lott and T.A. Noonan.
However, the artists aren't the only ones who can benefit from SAFTA.
"We offer student discounts off of all of our workshops," Smith said. "It's about 35 percent off the total cost. We also hire interns, who get real world experience working within a startup non-profit. We are constantly growing."
Hamilton can attest to this.
"I can do anything from writing blogs to creating digital media, or even baking for an event," she said. "My job description is 'marketing intern,' but I get the chance to do a lot in the organization, which is exciting."
She went on to explain that those guiding her were genuinely interested in her progress and help out in whatever way they can. Also, the experience has helped her grow as a writer and taught her many skills she can use once she enters the job market.
As for the future success of SAFTA, Hamilton said she has no doubt of the outcome.
"I have absolute and total faith that SAFTA will take off," she said. "It's going to change Knoxville and the artistic community, and I'm very excited to be a part of it."
For more on the Sundress Academy for the Arts, including information on internships and workshops, visit their website or Facebook page.