WiseJAMS is an after-school music education program developed in partnership with Junior Appalachian Musicians. The primary goal of WiseJAMS to provide instruction in string instruments in the traditional old-time style to students throughout the region, many of whom are economically disadvantaged and underserved with regards to the arts.

WiseJAMS also strives to encourage the preservation of the artistic heritage of the region by providing experience with traditional Appalachian music and culture.

WiseJAMS is funded and supported by Pro-Art, the Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park, Wise County, the Town of Big Stone Gap, Wise County Schools, the Wayne C. Henderson Grant, Junior Appalachian Musicians, Inc., The Crooked Road, and the Thomas C. Estep Scholarship Program.


WiseJAMS provides traditional mountain music instruction and cultural enrichment opportunities for

3rd through 8th grade students in Wise, Pound, Big Stone Gap, and Appalachia in an after-school setting.

Since learning to play an instrument involves close contact between teachers and students, our staff feels that hosting the program in person at this time may jeopardize the health of our students, instructors, and their families.


As a result, WiseJAMS will be offered virtually for the Spring 2022 semester. We will offer 10 lessons on Tuesdays from 4:30pm - 5:30pm beginning March 8, 2022 and ending with an outdoor in-person Graduation Ceremony & Concert on May 10, 2022 at the SWVA Museum. Lessons will combine students from the Big Stone Gap/Appalachia and Wise/Pound programs. Program cost is $25 for the semester. Scholarships are available for those in need.

To register a student, please fill and submit the registration form below by March 4th, 2022. If your student needs to borrow an instrument, please fill and submit the instrument loan agreement below by March 2nd, 2022.

If you have questions, you can reach the Pro-Art Association via email at pro-art@uvawise.edu or at (276) 376-4520.  


All lessons will take place on Zoom from 4:30pm-5:30pm, except for the final day. On Tuesday May 10th, 2022 we will hold an outdoor in-person Graduation Ceremony & Concert from 5:30pm-7:00pm at the SWVA Museum in Big Stone Gap.

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Thomas C. Estep Scholarship Program

The Thomas C. Estep Scholarship for WiseJAMS students was established in 2019 by his family in remembrance of the young musician.  Thomas was a gifted guitar player with a big heart and his family hopes to carry on Thomas’ love of teaching and acoustic guitar by establishing this scholarship.  Each semester, funds in the scholarship will be to pay the tuition for students who would otherwise not be able to participate in the after-school program.

Thomas was the lead guitar player for the contemporary Christian Band “This is the Day” with youth minister Kelly Fleming.  The band won the VA-KY District Fair band competition in 2015.

Thomas was just 21 years old when he was killed in a head-on collision in Russell County, Virginia, in the early morning hours of New Year's Day, 2017. 

Several have described Thomas as a selfless gentleman.  His good friend and up-and-coming country singer Kaitlyn Baker said in a written statement, "My heart is broken….  Last night, my guitar player, my best friend — was killed in a car wreck. Tom was one of the best people I’ve ever known. He would give the shirt off of his back to anyone . I’ve witnessed many times where he gave money to people in need, helped young children by encouraging them to reach their dreams, and bringing such positivity into people’s lives."

Pro-Art and WiseJAMS are proud to help honor Thomas’ memory.  If you would like to contribute to the Scholarship, we will gladly put your donation to work. 

Please send checks Pro-Art, PO Box 179, Wise, VA 24279 and note in the memo area that the donation is for the Thomas Estep Scholarship.