Today yoga teacher, blogger and vlogger Leslie Ellingburg, first featured on this blog just about a year ago, brings us up-to-date with Central Collective, the incredible space I’ve written about here (when they purchased the run-down building) and here (when they opened Central Collective in their stunning newly renovated space). If you like what you read here, you can read more of what Leslie is up to on her blog Aum in the Arts, which covers, “the exploration of yoga through various forms of artistic mediums.”
I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for fun and interesting things to do in Knoxville. I am always searching for new experiences, new people, or exploring new parts of town. Most of the time we don’t want to leave our respected area of Knoxville because the traffic struggle is real! We feel our own respective area of town has all we need. But is it? Can we really live all the experiences of Knoxville in just one part of town? Don’t we want to meet cool people and the movers and shakers who are making Knoxville the fun city it is?
One place in Knoxville is trying to bring everyone together by hosting fun and creative, unique events. That place is The Central Collective, here in the heart of Central Street. The Central Collective is quickly winning the hearts of many in North Knoxville.
Alan first wrote about The Central Collective when they had their grand opening in November 2015 during the first Open Streets. And when owners Dale Mackey and Shawn Poynter first started the transformation of 923 Central St. During the past few months, The Central Collective has grown and offers a variety of fun experiences for people to enjoy. Each month more and more people are reaching out to host events, showcase their artwork and offer classes and fun activities.
The co-founders are becoming just as creative with their own event ideas. Dale Mackey, fried pie queen of Dale’s Fried Pies and Co-Founder, says they “try to program events unlike anything else happening in Knoxville.” The majority of the events scheduled are not ideas of Dale and Shawn, but mostly from the people who use the space. For example, I teach yoga out of The Central Collective and each month I approach Dale with an idea for a yoga class.
When I reached about teaching a special sunrise class on the summer solstice which also offered a breakfast component, she suggested I include, The Juicery, who uses their kitchen. They could provide Raw Lattes after the class. One of their friends, Jody Collins, approached them with the idea to screen movies and he is the driving force behind the NoKno Cinematheque, which shows a movie each month. Last month’s movie was every 90’s kid favorite, The Sandlot, and this month they are screening Stranger than Fiction. NoKno Cinematheque will be taking their movie screenings to the next level by doing outdoor screenings this summer.
Two events that really showcase the uniqueness of The Central Collective and represent the creative force of Dale and Shawn are their monthly Good Sport Nights and this month’s Collective Corpse exhibit. Good Sport Night has been a monthly staple of The Central Collective since late Winter/early Spring. I can tell you from experience, they are lots of fun! There is absolutely nothing like it in Knoxville or the surrounding area, which is just part of the appeal.
Good Sport Night is probably their favorite event because it is the brainchild of the husband and wife duo. They came up with the idea while The Central Collective was first under construction. They thought “how fun it would be to organize mystery events where folks buy a ticket and show up to the Central Collective at the designated time, but have no idea what they’re going to be doing.” The first event was a game show, the second one took participants back to grade school. Remember when you had to drop an egg of the roof and it not break?
May’s Good Sport Night, the one I went to, was a blast. I signed myself and my husband up as a way to celebrate his birthday. We had no idea what we were in store for! All I knew was to dress up in lawn party attire and my friends at Knoxville Cocktails were part of the event. Dale and Shawn rented a school bus which took us to a castle! Did you know South Knoxville had a castle? No one else in the sea of thirty people did either.
We spent the evening having classic daiquiris and cocktails provided by Knoxville Cocktails, played games with the other couples, and got to pretend we were royalty. I kept making Game of Thrones references. Winter is coming right? This month Good Sport Night is centered around Father’s Day. If you need a gift for your father, why not reserve a space or two, or three? If you are a current Good Sport Night card holder, don’t forget to reserve your spot so you can get one punch closer to the mystery gift.
If you are a control freak and don’t like not knowing what your activity is, maybe this month’s art exhibit, Collective Corpse (June 17), is more up your alley. Collective Corpse is a riff on the Dada/Surrealist game, “Exquisite Corpse.” Collective Corpse is a collaboration of fifteen different local artists. Each artist was given a specific body part for them to draw (i.e., head, shoulders, feet, hands, etc.). The end result is going to be a body made out of each artist’s interpretation of their respective body part.
In addition to these “bodies” of art, the attendees can get in on the fun by making their own Collective Corpse. Flash card inspired card decks have been made with all the body parts, so anyone who comes in can make their own “body of art.” Dale believes this event really sums what The Central Collective is about because it is a way for Shawn and herself to collaborate with all the creative individuals they’ve met in Knoxville along with highlighting their talent.
Since Dale is the fried pie queen, food events play a big part of their programming. The Central Collective houses a commercial kitchen and many local chefs love using the space. They recently had an Appalachian heritage/food ways dinner, and a few other fun dining events. In June and July, there will be more fun food events such as a four course Thai dinner, an authentic New Orleans dinner, cocktail events, and Snackfest!, which will bring people together over the art of snack foods. I bet we won’t find your average potato chip at this event! You’ll find all these activities and more on their event page.
Each month continues to grow brighter for The Central Collective and their idea of making this a “creative factory” becomes more reinforced as more events are planned. Dale and Shawn are always up for suggestions, ideas, and people who want to host an event. They love input and love giving the community something different and unexpected. To stay up to date on The Central Collective happenings, follow them on Facebook or better yet stop by to say hello and sign up for their mailing list. The next time you want something different to do on a Friday or Saturday, see what The Central Collective is up to. They won’t disappoint. *For more on The Central Collective and what makes them who they are, click on over to my blog, AUM in the Arts, and find out that The Central Collective and yoga have a lot in common.