Jackie Holloway is #MadeForKnoxville.

For Jackie, art has served as a portal through which she sparks community impact. Inspiring the next generation to journey with her, she equips Opportunity Youth with the tools to add their own beauty to the world. 

As a painter and found-object artist, Jackie founded Art by Jackie in 2004. She incorporates natural elements to share her positive perspective and help others encounter God through her art. Jackie has faced challenges and prejudice, but has sought peace through creating than absorbing hate. Instead, she has made a name for herself as a community leader, being acknowledged as one of YWCA’s Art & Cultural Women of the Year in 2021 and by the MLK Commission Art Awards in 2023. Jackie shares her passion for art as therapy by having an open door policy, teaching all who seek to learn to find their voice through art, as she did. 

She gained experience as a grant writer and nonprofit leader as she built her career, and created Canvas Can Do Miracles, which became a nonprofit in 2019. As an impassioned educator and advocate for Opportunity Youth, Jackie offers art classes, as well as entrepreneurship training, art critique, and exhibition opportunities to build up young people in her local community. 

“Canvas Can Do Miracles focuses on visual art as a journey into spiritual growth for the individual, family members, and the community.”

In Their Own Words…

Multimedia artist since childhood, Jackie has expertise in realistic portrait drawings and found-object art, compared to that of Folk Artist Bessie Harvey. Having a connection with nature, especially trees, Holloway grew up in rural Tennessee in the 60’s using driftwood, roots, dried flowers, tree bark, seeds and even moss to create art and re-define an object’s character. This botanical relationship guided her away from racism and prejudice. One series entitled “God’s Voice” uses unique parts of trees like moss, bark, and driftwoods, allowing each piece to tell its own story. The purpose of each work is that God will be looked upon and felt. The natural details influenced her to express encouragement using various mediums like pencil, crayons, ink, paint, and pastels with the found gems. Techniques learned at Pellissippi State Community College for Graphic Arts enhanced the work. 

In addition to being a community leader, Jackie is a wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother. In 2021, Holloway’s accomplishments were recognized and she was the YWCA’s Art & Cultural Women of the Year Honorees. 2023 brought the MLK Commission Art Awards also.

What led to entrepreneurship:

The demand for natural handmade items created an opportunity for her to create a unique product line. Encouraged by several business leaders, Art by Jackie opened in 2004. After earning $150 from selling soy candles, the business became self-sustaining and she continued with creating and selling original art: including hand poured soy candles, air fresheners, customized gift baskets, gift items like white chocolate jewelry boxes and suckers, as well as commissioned artwork. Sales continued to grow and she added hosting soy candle/art parties, which increased customer base and the public’s awareness of Art by Jackie’s unique products and services. In 2007, she began vending at local festivals, conferences, flea markets, and other special events. With the purchase of a 10 x 20 shed, which she moved into her backyard and renovated into an art studio, she gained the ability to work on larger projects and produce more items to sell.

In 2008, Jackie became the Visionary/Facilitator of Canvas Can Do Miracles (CCDM), the first art program under The Literacy Imperative Inc (TLI) umbrella in Knoxville, TN. TLI is a national, faith-based nonprofit with a literacy and social enterprise initiative. Holloway was Art Department Director from 2008 – 2013, gaining valuable knowledge and experience operating, teaching, fundraising, grant writing and coordinating the program until closure, after the building was sold. The TLI program offered adults who were struggling with substance abuse and children at-risk, free art classes. Holloway incorporated community involvement and art awareness by planning events at local museums, art exhibits, nursing homes, and other organizations in the area. Field trips to skating rinks, amusement parks, nursing homes and other attractions also made the classes unique. She was also Grant Writer for the program, receiving grants from Target and Knox County in 2010.

The Canvas Can Do Miracles program offers free art classes to children and adult artists, including individuals with violence or substance abuse issues or experiencing homelessness. Artists are encouraged to use their God given talents as therapy to regain self-control and sufficiency. As of March 2023, CCDM has classes throughout the community, including Wesley House, Cokesbury United Methodist Church’s Fig Tree Knoxville & Walter P. Taylor Boys & Girls Club. Everyone is welcome. 

CCDM became an official nonprofit in October 2019, determined to make an impact focusing on using artistic talents and techniques to build self esteem and to increase knowledge of careers using the skills learned. Art exhibits and showings are held at local art galleries and at local & regional special event venues. Programming offers supporting services and mentoring relating to substance abuse treatment, and violence through instruction using local Opportunity Youth artists. Focusing on visual art as a journey into spiritual growth for the individual, family members, and the community. The art classes provide a motivating atmosphere to create artwork free of charge, but always accept donations. Youth Opportunity Art Teachers are paid a stipend weekly and are trained in various classes like, artistic design, entrepreneurship, ethics and CPR.


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