Adopt a Farm Animal and Support Sundress Academy of the Arts

The Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA) is writers residency on a 45-acre farm in Knoxville, Tennessee, that hosts workshops, retreats, and residencies for writers in all genres. All are guided by experienced, professional instructors from a variety of creative disciplines who are dedicated to cultivating the arts in Appalachia.

Photo courtesy of Andi Avery.

We are inviting sponsors to name animals at Firefly Farms to help fundraise to cover the cost of upkeep at the farm for 2021. Your tax-deductible donation includes naming rights for the life of the animal, a framed picture of the animal, recognition and support from SAFTA’s social media platforms. 

  • Name a Sheep: $100
  • Name a Duck: $35
  • Name a Chicken: $35
Photo courtesy of Stephanie Phillips.

A subsidiary of Sundress Publications, the Sundress Academy for the Arts is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization focused on literary education and practice.

Find out more at our store.

Sundress Academy for the Arts Introduces “Broodside” Fundraiser

This summer the Sundress Academy for the Arts lost all of their chickens to a predator (Vampire weasel? Angry raccoon? We are still unsure.). Now we need your help to restock the coop!

For a tax-deductible $20 donation, you will receive a free broadside of Ina Cariño’s poem “Feast.” The proceeds from each broadside sold will purchase a chicken or duck for Firefly Farms, where they will lay eggs, entertain residents, eat bugs, and attempt to annoy our sheep, Munchma the goat, and Jayne the donkey.

The Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA), a 501(c)3 non-profit, was founded in 2013 at Firefly Farms in Knoxville, Tennessee. Nestled in an old-fashioned “holler” just twenty minutes from downtown, this picturesque 45-acre farm is home to one photogenic donkey (Jayne), a small herd of sheep, and a flock of backyard chickens & ducks (purchased by you!). Firefly Farms is the perfect artists’ getaway, where visitors can hone their creative crafts as they escape the routine of modern life. Whether you’re hiking, camping, or foraging, you can connect with nature and be inspired by a part of the Appalachian landscape. SAFTA residents and workshop attendees can also expect to learn a host of new skills from the staff in order to enrich their creative work.

Find out more about how you can donate here.


Sundress Academy for the Arts Announces Special Dining Event for Charity

Sundress Academy for the Arts Announces
Special Dining Event for Charity


The Sundress Academy of the Arts, a local 501(c)3 nonprofit, is excited to host a late summer fundraiser on Saturday, September 8th at the Birdhouse Knoxville (800 N 4th Ave) from 6PM to 8PM.  

A three-course dinner and drinks will be served, featuring lamb locally sourced from Firefly Farms, as well as vegetarian and vegan side options. Each dish will be paired with a speciality cocktail crafted by noted spirits writer Sam Slaughter.

Tickets for the event are on sale for $50 in advance, and $60 at the door. All funds raised from the dinner will be allocated for programs on the farm including programs for the LGBTQIA community, workshops for veterans and sexual assault survivors, and more.


To reserve your ticket, please visit:



The Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA) is an artists’ residency that hosts workshops, retreats, and residencies for writers, actors, filmmakers, and visual artists. All are guided by experienced, professional instructors from a variety of creative disciplines who are dedicated to cultivating the arts in East Tennessee.


Help the Sundress Academy for the Arts This Holiday Season!

Sundress Publications and the Sundress Academy for the Arts want to say THANK YOU to the nearly 50 donors who gave to this year’s fundraising campaign!  It is with your help and generosity that we are able to continue to grow!

We’re in the process of building a new barn at Firefly Farms, our forty-five acre instructional, residency, and outreach center. Much of the equipment we have for our visiting artists and staff—including a drafting table, antique letterpress, and specialized tools—must share space with livestock feeds and farm equipment in our basement. This barn will allow us to reclaim the space and transform it from a general-purpose storage area to a workspace for visiting artists and writers as well as a reading space for our quarterly Holler Salons!

indiegogo Jayne for Prez2


While the crowd-funding campaign is over, we are still taking donations for a number of items this holiday season!  We are still selling our 2016 calendars, entitled “Breaking the Binary,” which feature gender-swapped images of work.  We are also selling 2×2″ spaces inside the barn where you can have one of your own poems or one of your favorite poems immortalized in our Poetry Barn, where we will host readings and events on the SAFTA property! (Makes a GREAT holiday gift!)  We are also currently looking for people to sponsor an LGBTQ writer for this year’s OUTSpoken series, which starts up in January!


As a volunteer-run organization, all of the proceeds go directly growing our organization and supporting the arts both in Knoxville and the country at large.  And of course, they also go to help keep warm the farm’s mascot & Hero of Canton, Jayne!

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T.A. Noonan“People who don’t really know Jayne like to say that he’s a big jackass, but that’s because they misunderstand his commitment to the arts. He sings everyday, his beautiful music echoing throughout the holler. Of course, he loves when his fans support his creative efforts—I mean, who doesn’t?—but even if no one was listening, he’d be out there singing. He just does it for the love of the music. What’s more, he really believes in supporting and working with other creators. He makes it a point to spend time with every writer, actor, artist, and musician who visits Firefly Farms. I guess the most amazing thing about Jayne is that he’s such an amazing leader, tough but loyal to everyone around him. He’s no jackass; he’s a badass.”
—T.A. Noonan, close friend of Jayne and former long-term resident at Firefly Farms

Gabe and jayne

“My residency at Firefly Farms was eye-opening in many ways. It’s not often we are afforded uninterrupted silence and given huge spans of time devoted singularly to writing. It is a gift. I hung out with Jayne for the first two steamy weeks in early September, and I turned to him whenever I felt stuck. In workshops, I was given so much encouragement and constructive critique, and cemented my goal of applying to MFA programs in creative nonfiction. All of the applications are now ready to turn in, and two of my essays in the collection were written and revised exclusively at SAFTA. My experience with Jayne made me unafraid of my artistic future and so excited to be a member of the literary community.”
—Gabrielle Montesanti, Writer and Former SAFTA Resident


From left to right: Jayne’s Posse (Winky, Henry Kissinger, Ms. Pac-Man, Chronos), Jayne

To support the Sundress Academy for the Arts and get cool swag, naming rights to one of SAFTA’s chickens, discounted Sundress titles, or get your poem printed on Jayne’s new barn for future fellows to read, visit our store today!

If you are already one of Jayne’s fantastic backers, please spread the word by sharing our campaign.