about the birdhouse

The Birdhouse rests at the corner of the Historic 4th & Gill Neighborhood in Knoxville, TN. Since the early 1970’s many have known it to be a place where community activists, artists, and neighbors gather together to discuss ideas, share skill, and celebrate each other through artistic expression. Until 2002, the Birdhouse was fondly named “The Neighborhood Center”, a moniker given when the Birdhouse was orginally donated to 4th & Gill in the 1970’s by a realtor who longed to see the neighborhood have a gathering place. As the Birdhouse approaches almost 50 years of community-driven activity, we celebrate how far we’ve come in nurturing a culture that we hope continues to be a safe and welcoming place.

Until the early 2000’s, the house was known simply as the “The Neighborhood Center” where different groups met to organize against social issues that were occuring both within the neighborhood and within the larger Knoxville community.  Notably, The Gazette: A Voice for Poor and Working Class People came out of that era, which was widely distributed for several years, raising awareness and bolstering support for what resulted in positive changes to people’s lives. This included the creation of a park and kids play area within the neighborhood. In addition to organizing efforts, the house once served as a kids daycare space for many years.

In the mid 2000’s, when the Neighborhood Center experiencd a lapse is occupancy, a group of artists and community members came in to breathe new life into the space. This group worked with Fourth & Gill to bring a variety of new activities to the space; including art, music, gardening, and workshops. This mix of new energy and programming birthed a new era of the community center. It even inspired our current name, “The Birdhouse”, and continues to carry on our legacy with gratitude and respect, while standing for values of love, creativity, inclusivity, and equality.