What is now known as the Sawtooth School for Visual Art started in 1945 as the Winston-Salem Arts & Crafts Workshop. Originally housed in the old West End School at the corner of Fourth & Broad Streets, the organization was a collaboration between the Junior League, the School System, and the City’s Parks & Recreation Department. The organization later became a funded member of the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County.
Over the years the school operated from several different locations under a variety of names until settling into its current home, the Sawtooth Building, in 1982. Easily recognized by its jagged “sawtooth” shaped roofline with skylights to maximize sunlight before the widespread use of electricity, the building was built in 1911 as a hosiery factory by the Hanes Hosiery empire. The Sawtooth Building was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.
The Sawtooth School for Visual Art traces its history to 1945 when the Junior League, the Winston-Salem School System and the City Parks & Recreation Department joined forces to create the Arts & Crafts Workshop. The organization operated for the first few years out of the old West End School at the corner of Fourth and Broad Streets. Over the years, the organization has been housed in several different locations under a variety of names, but the mission to provide high quality instruction in a variety of arts and crafts to all members of the community has never changed.
From the late 1950’s through the early 1980’s, the school operated out of the James G. Hanes Community Center on Coliseum Drive. This complex was developed to consolidate the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce, and Arts Council and the United Fund (which later became the United Way) along with several of those organizations’ funded members. Some of the original buildings still serve as home to the American Red Cross, Twin City Stage, The Children’s Theatre, and the North Carolina Black Repertory Company.
In 1982, the school relocated to its current location, the iconic Sawtooth Building, and was renamed the Sawtooth Center for Visual Design. Built in 1911 by the Hanes Hosiery empire as Shamrock Mills, the building housed the company’s first hosiery factory. Easily recognized the its jagged, “sawtooth” shaped roofline with skylights that maximized sunlight before the widespread use of electrical lights. From 1951 to 1960 the Sawtooth building was home to Matt Howell Motors as the Dodge-Plymouth dealership for a decade. The building was named to the National Register of Historic places in 1978. In 2008, construction began on the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts, a complex that would renovate and integrate the century old building into a new façade facing Spruce Street. The school reopened in 2010 under its current name, the Sawtooth School for Visual Art.