An Opportunity to Help a Downtown Friend

Rene Hoyos with Step-mother Louise Piper and father Josue Hoyos, Art Carmichael and Kelley Segars in front of an unlikely dunking booth on Gay Street, Knoxville, August 2018
Rene Hoyos with Step-mother Louise Piper and father Josue Hoyos, Art Carmichael and Kelley Segars in front of an unlikely dunking booth on Gay Street, Knoxville, August 2018

Many of you know Art Carmichael. As much as anyone, he is a part of the fabric of downtown. A downtown resident for years, I first met Art, I  believe, at the Just Ripe Half Birthday Party in November 2011 (pictured below). I most recently saw him at Yassin’s while he ate his falafel and I waited on mine. He’s ubiquitous as a downtown resident who seems to be in the middle of just about everything. He’s particularly central to the Market Square Farmers’ Market.

Daylight Building Block Party, Knoxville, September 2013
Farewell Gathering at Just Ripe, Knoxville, December 2014

Never short of an opinion, he’s quick to share a laugh and he makes the best (and sometimes the worst) Facebook posts of all time. He’s always ready for a conversation and likely to make you smile or think a little more deeply about the subject du jour before you part ways.

He’s recently hit some health struggles and is need of help that isn’t likely to be covered by insurance. The story is best told by Charlotte Tolley, one of his friends who is organizing the GoFundMe and the support he’ll need after he leaves the hospital.

Art Carmichael and Courtney Piper, Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, Market Square, April 2013

Here’s Charlotte:

My name is Charlotte Tolley, and I am organizing this fundraiser with Ellie Moore and Mennelle Straight on behalf of Arthur Carmichael in order to pay for medical expenses and after-care associated with a stroke. I met Art in 2003 when he came as the representative from City People to the first brainstorming meetings for what became the Market Square Farmers’ Market. He has volunteered countless hours at the MSFM, donated time and money to many organizations, and been a long time supporter of local food, music, and makers in our community.
I can honestly say that the Market Square Farmers’ Market and its parent nonprofit, Nourish Knoxville, would not be here today if it weren’t for Art. He moved to Knoxville for a job with Scripps (and is still employed with Discovery) with no real intention of staying but became an integral part of the downtown Knoxville community, the unoffical Mayor of Gay St.
After a long series of events starting with him not showing up at his shift at the market on July 2, Art was taken to the emergency room on Friday, July 8 and was admitted the the ICU with a brain bleed (specifically an intracerebral hemorrhage) and was diagnosed with diabetes. This combination led to a lot of brain fog, confusion, and coordination loss. As of July 11, he is stable and hospitalized, but has trouble concentrating and with his mobility, which means he cannot go home without care in place.
If you know Art, you know he is an independent fella, which means he lives alone and has no family in the area. Ellie and Menelle have been taking care of Art over the last week, staying with him in the hospital and talking to doctors to understand next steps and to make sure he is able to come home safely. He is being discharged soon but needs help at home, at least in the short term. He still has some fog and physical challenges which we hope will improve, but he will need at-home assistance for at least a few weeks.
While the doctors agree he cannot be released on his own, he also most likely doesn’t qualify for home health through his insurance. We are committed to getting him home and setting up the first round of home health as he navigates these challenges, but it will be expensive, insurance or not. So we are asking for your help to pay for the care he needs to get back home and start the process to returning to the independent Art we all know and love.
Art has supported and loved Knoxville for more than 20 years, and now he needs Knoxville to show him some love and support. In the short term, all funds raised will go to cover home help to ensure he is safe at home to recover and is taken to his follow-up appointments as we access next steps.
If you cannot help monetarily but would like to sign up for shifts to drive Art to appointments, bring him meals, or hang out with him, we are also setting up a meal train and volunteer schedule, which we will post in the updates.
Help us make sure Art gets the care he needs so he can be around a long time, making dumb puns, posting silly memes, and chatting up the bartenders over a meal at his favorite restaurants.


John Ledbetter, Art, Charlotte Tolley and friend enjoy a laugh at Just Ripe Half Birthday Party, November 2011

Please make a contribution, if you are able, at this link. It is a worthy cause for a good human